Additional measures to reduce external borrowing

Published: 9/2/2005

At its meeting today, chaired by the Governor Dr Željko Rohatinski, the Council of the Croatian National Bank reviewed the most recent economic and monetary developments, gave its approval to the Hungarian OTP Bank Rt. for the acquisition of a majority ownership in Nova banka d.d. and adopted a decision on the change in the marginal reserve requirement rate.

The CNB Council decided to increase the marginal reserve requirement by requiring banks to allocate 30 percent of their foreign liabilities' net increase, without remuneration, to a foreign exchange account held with the central bank. The previous rate, introduced in July 2004, was 24 percent. The decision to increase the rate was motivated by a significant growth in banks' external borrowing recorded at the end of 2004.

In order to stimulate government financing from domestic sources and to reduce the external borrowing, the minimum cover requirement of foreign exchange claims by foreign exchange liabilities has been reduced, by a Governor's decision, from 35 percent to 32 percent. This will release approximately 4 billion kuna to ensure a satisfactory banking system liquidity level necessary to satisfy the government needs (which would otherwise be covered by a 500 million Eurobond issue), without squeezing other sectors, particularly the economic sector, out of the financial market.

The CNB Council also approved the application of the Hungarian OTP Bank Rt, with a seat in Budapest, to acquire a 93.63% equity stake in Nova banka d.d. Zadar. The OTP Bank Rt. is the largest bank in Hungary, whose total consolidated assets stood at about 105 billion kuna in mid-2004. The bank has 430 branches in Hungary and almost as many in Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania, where it also acquired some banks during the last few years.