Bank lending loses steam in Romania

Bank lending loses steam in Romania
/ bne IntelliNews
By Iulian Ernst in Bucharest March 27, 2024

The annual increase of the stock of bank loans in Romania has eased gradually from 6.4% y/y in December to 5.7% y/y in January and 4.9% y/y in February, when it stood at RON384bn (€77.3bn), according to data published by the National Bank of Romania (BNR).

The annual growth of the stock of bank loans is thus still below the headline inflation, which was 7.2% y/y in February.

From an annual perspective, corporate lending kept the leading role in the overall nominal advance of the stock of bank loans with a total contribution of 3.7 percentage points (pp) to the general 4.9% y/y advance (chart).

This largely reflects the government-backed guarantees schemes, which have not been active in January-February when corporate lending lost steam and banks turned their attention to retail customers.

Local currency corporate loans increased by 5.7% y/y to 28.6% of the total at the end of February (making a 1.6pp contribution to the overall 4.9% advance of the stock of loans) while the forex corporate loans advanced by 8.4% y/y to 25.9% of the total (+2.1pp contribution).

However, both stocks of corporate loans, expressed in local and foreign currency, decreased in each of the two months of 2024.

The stock of retail loans expressed in local currency increased by 5.4% y/y to 4.1% of the total bank loans at the end of February, contributing 2.2pp to the 4.9% overall rise of corporate loans. The stock of loans in this market segment increased in each of the first two months of 2024.

However, households tend to avoid forex borrowing, with the stock of such loans decreasing by 14.2% y/y to a slim slice of 5.4% of the total bank loans.

Romania Bank Loans share share m/m y/y pp contr.
  Feb-23 Feb-24 Feb-24 Feb-24 Feb-24
Total bank loans 100.0% 100.0% -0.2% 4.9% 4.90
Local currency 68.3% 68.7% 0.1% 5.5% 3.76
Local currency retail 39.9% 40.1% 0.7% 5.4% 2.16
Local currency corporate 28.4% 28.6% -0.8% 5.7% 1.62
Forex currency 31.7% 31.3% -0.9% 3.7% 1.17
Forex currency retail 6.6% 5.4% -1.9% -14.2% -0.93
Forex currency corporate 25.1% 25.9% -0.7% 8.4% 2.11
source: bne IntelliNews