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The global crisis has taken its toll on Slovenia’s financial sector in general and on the thinly capitalised Slovenian banks in particular. In addition to rising impairments, stringent EU-wide regulatory requirements will require more capital to be provided by private investors and hopefully not by taxpayers.
Attractive financing conditions before the crisis has left Slovenia with an over-indebted corporate sector unable to honour its obligations in the wake of the sharp fall in external demand going hand –in-hand with fiscal deficits, soaring unemployment, and deteriorated competitiveness. As opposed to weak lending to the over-indebted corporate sector, household borrowing was strong, mainly thanks to mortgage loans, which allowed shifting some credit risk from overextended construction companies to less-indebted households. In spite of the previously announced phasing-out of liquidity assistance by the ECB and the government, and tighter foreign funding conditions, banks did not suffer immediate liquidity pressures.
Slovenia’s insurance sector remains stable thanks largely to health insurance premiums with the state-controlled insurer Triglav still the national champion. Households do not see life insurance as an important channel for their savings judging by the low level of life premiums. Unit-linked insurance products may give a boost to the life segment in 2012.