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UPDATE 1-Slovak central bank says could raise hard-times capital buffer on banks soon
May 30, 2017 / 12:47 PM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Slovak central bank says could raise hard-times capital buffer on banks soon

(Adds lending data, background)

BRATISLAVA, May 30 (Reuters) - The Slovak central bank warned again on Tuesday it may soon raise the capital buffer that banks must maintain for tough times from the currently planned 0.5 percent level as several indicators call for measures to tame lending.

The bank first hinted at a raise in the so-called countercyclical capital buffer in April when it released data showing economic growth and low interest rates led to the fastest growth among European Union states in loans to households, including mortgages and consumer loans.

Slovakia is part of the euro zone, whose central bank is keeping monetary policy ultra-loose. With banks facing low interest rates, they have sought to boost lending to compensate.

In 2016, loans to households in Slovakia grew by 14 percent year on year.

The central bank opted in 2016 to become the first in the euro zone to introduce the countercyclical capital buffer to rein in lending. Banks must meet the 0.5 percent requirement from August this year.

Slovakia’s banks, including CSOB, Postova Banka, Slovenska Sporitelna, Tatra Banka and VUB are largely foreign-owned and have held up well in recent years.

In its annual Financial Stability report on Tuesday, the central bank said the financial sector was resilient and all banks meet capital adequacy standards.

The sector capital adequacy average has increased from 17.8 percent in 2015 to 18.0 percent in 2016, the bank said. (Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova Editing by Michael Kahn/Jeremy Gaunt.)

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