Maribor, 12 March (STA) - Aleš Hauc, the new chief executive of NKBM bank, said Monday that the bank and the group would have to be slimmed down and consolidated, including with layoffs and the mergers of subsidiaries. But he does not deem it necessary to recapitalise the bank at this point.
"Group and core bank businesses will have to be redefined...Non-performing businesses have to be offloaded," Hauc said in his first statement for the media following his appointment last week.
Hauc argued that NKBM needed a special unit for the ongoing monitoring of customers, arguing that the majority of banks with a high share of soured loans had not been prepared for the crisis and for the wave of defaults by clients.
Credit risk cannot be lowered without active engagement with the clients, he said. Moreover, he said, "the times when companies came to the bank are over, now the bank needs to actively market its services."
Relations with investors and shareholders will be more intensive in future, according to Hauc, who sees this as one of the ways to improve the bank's reputation and shareholder value.
However, he stressed that NKBM was still a "reputable, safe and stable bank". "It's got a good international reputation which I'm sure it will improve further."
Hauc, the boss of postal operator Pošta Slovenije, was named CEO on Friday, three weeks after Andrej Plos stepped down as chairman after just a month and a half on the job.
His main task will be to return the bank to profitability after it posted a group net loss of EUR 53.66m for 2011 due to high provisions and impairments.