LJUBLJANA, May 23 (Reuters) - Slovenian banks reduced bad loans to 2.3 billion euros ($2.69 billion), or 5.4 percent of all loans, by the end of March from 5.6 percent a month before, the Bank of Slovenia said on Wednesday.
It said banks had a joint net profit of 128.8 million euros in the first quarter of the year compared with 128.2 million a year ago, with net interest rate income down by 3.3 percent.
“At the end of March total balance sheet assets (of Slovenian banks) reached some 38 billion euros and were 1.3 percent higher than a year ago,” the bank said.
It added that the total number of loans to the non-banking sector increased by 5.1 percent on the year, although it eased by 0.3 percent compared with February.
Slovenia, which avoided an international bailout for its banks in 2013, returned to economic growth a year later which helped banks to reduce bad loans. The government expects the economy to expand by 5.1 percent this year, boosted by exports and investments.
Some of the biggest banks are still state-owned and the government controls about 40 percent of the banking sector.
The rest are mostly owned by foreign banks and investors, including US investment firm Apollo Global Management, France’s bank Societe Generale, Italy’s Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, Russia’s Sberbank and Austria’s Sparkasse and Addiko Bank. ($1 = 0.8543 euros) (Reporting by Marja Novak, editing by Louise Heavens)