STA, 1 March 2022 - Slovenia's largest bank, NLB, has acquired the Slovenian subsidiary of Russia's Sberbank in a move that the central bank said would preserve the financial stability in the country after Russian-owned banks suffered a loss of trust due to sanctions against Russia.
"There were two options for the resolution of the Slovenian Sberbank: either it ceases operations and savers are compensated in accordance with guarantee scheme rules, or it gets a new owner," the central bank said Tuesday evening.
The sale means that Sberbank branches will reopen tomorrow after two days of closure and limited transactions for clients. "All Sberbank clients will conduct banking services without disturbances from tomorrow." [ed. Wednesday]
NLB has acquired Sberbank's equity as well as all assets, liabilities and clients. "This is a fast and effective solution for all clients who suddenly found themselves in a difficult situation," NLB chairman Blaž Brodnjak said in a press release.
"At the close of the transaction, Sberbank Slovenija will get a strong and committed owner who will ensure smooth operation with its capital and know-how," he was quoted as saying.
The decision was reached in agreement with the EU's Single Resolution Board, which determined that Sberbank's subsidiaries in Slovenia and Croatia were "failing or likely to fail due to a rapid deterioration in their liquidity situation," even as it decided no resolution was necessary for their Austrian parent, which will be liquidated.
SRB chair Elke König said the three decisions "protect financial stability and the depositors up to an amount of EUR 100,000 in Austria and with no limits in both Slovenia and Croatia."
"Today, we acted to protect the public interest and ensure financial stability. All of this has been done without having to use public funds, so not only are Sberbank's customers protected, the taxpayer is too."
The price of the NLB transaction has not been revealed. Central bank governor Boštjan Vasle told the TV show Odmevi that there had been significant interest by the largest and most important banking institutions. The Single Resolution Board picked the solution that satisfied the largest number of criteria.
Slovenian Sberbank is the only Russian-owned bank in Slovenia.