Banks and clients in Serbia are waiting to see the consequences of the pandemic

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The Serbian government provided 5.1 billion euros in time to ease the crisis period for businessmen and citizens due to the pandemic. However, in the previous three months, the credit activity of natural persons was reduced, and more than 90 percent of citizens decided for a three-month break in repayment. Although loans have never been more favorable, it seems that banks and clients are waiting to see what consequences the pandemic has left.
After a slight break in the three-month loan repayment, the citizens seem to have realized that the debt will not disappear. Although only 4.1 percent of old loans are in arrears, it is still about 120,000 parties.
That is why banks can hardly wait for the moratorium to end, because non-performing loans are a nightmare and they would not want it to remain a habit.
– We had about 80 percent of clients and citizens, but also the economy itself, which used the moratorium in a rush when it happened at the end of March. However, what is encouraging is that a large part of these clients decide to return to some normal repayment flows – says Ivan Smiljkovic, a member of the Executive Board of ProCredit Bank.
The interruption in repayment is welcome to many citizens, but it is not completely free.
On the example of a loan of 500,000 for seven years, with an interest rate of 9.8 percent, the installment was 70 euros until March. If you have repaid 24 installments, and due to the pandemic you have decided not to pay the principal and interest for three months, the remaining debt will be extended from 60 to 63 months.
However, the monthly installment will be higher by 2.5 euros, ie for the remaining repayment period it will be 72.5 euros. There is a possibility to return all three installments in the break at once at the end of the repayment period, but even that is not a negligible amount.
If something is good in the crisis, then it is low interest rates and the expansion of online loans, so citizens should take advantage of that.
– I think that the loans are very favorable at the moment. Will it be more favorable – I’m not sure, because if we take housing loans in Croatia, the average rate there is 3.5 percent, and in our country the official statistics of the National Bank for last month are 2.71 percent – UBS Secretary Vladimir Vasic points out.
Bankers are cautious, but with the continuation of repayment, they wish that the volume of previous loans does not decrease.
– For now, there are no indications that loans will become more expensive. On the other hand, we cannot predict in which direction Belibor will go, specifically in that sense we have made an offer with a fixed interest rate – states Nenad Bungin from Vojvodjanska banka.
Mirjana Djordjevic from Sberbank points out that the reference interest rate of the NBS is at a record low level and amounts to only 1.5 percent, so that will be reflected in loans that have a variable interest rate.
The total credit level of bank loans is around 22 billion. Only the citizens are individually indebted with 1,300 euros, so everyone is eagerly waiting for the end of the pandemic in order to continue the positive trend in the past few years, Srbija Danas reports.