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2007, vol. 4, iss. 2, pp. 141-161
Banking in Serbia: The long road to the European Union
Megatrend University, Faculty of Business Studies, Belgrade
Keywords: financial system; banking sector; banks; credit; crediting the population; interest rates; foreign debt
Abstract
Serbia’s financial system has traditionally relied on a dominant banking sector. After 2001, foreign banks began to enter the Serbian financial market, initially forming new banks (affiliates) and then buying domestic socially (state) or privately owned banks. As a result, out of a total of 37 banks operating in Serbia at the end of 2006, 22 were foreign-owned, with a 78.7% participation in the total sum balance of the Serbian banking sector. The arrival of foreign banks in Serbia, helped along by newly brought regulations harmonized with international practice and standards, has to a large extent returned confidence to the banking system, along with professionalizing the industry, improving the array of banking ser vices and easing capital access to those economic actors able to fulfill the newly set standards of creditworthiness. However, this development of the banking sector was not accompanied by appropriate changes in other segments of the financial system, and even less so in the real economic sector. The great expansion of credit in Serbia over the last three years, to a great degree founded in the foreign-owned banks’ borrowing from their parent banks abroad but al so in direct foreign borrowing on the part of Serbian economic actors in addition to contributing to the country’s overall foreign debt balance, is generating substantial inflationary pressure and contributing to both the foreign trade and current accounts deficits. At the same time, the linking of the credit obligations of domestic end users to foreign currencies and inter national market interest rates brings additional risks to the domestic financial system. The Serbian National Bank’s occasional restrictive credit-monetary measures produce limited effects but it is an open question as to how much and how long the Serbian National Bank will be able to successfully control such a financial system, in which the key role is played by the Serbian banking sector, with its dominant foreign component.
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article language: Serbian, English
document type: Original Scientific Paper
published in SCIndeks: 29/02/2008

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