Most of the financial sector recorded growth last year, and experts estimate that this market is far more prepared for a possible recession than it was in the previous financial crisis.
These are some of the results in the new edition of “Finance Top” published by the professional economic monthly “Business and Finance”.
According to the ranking list in the new edition, Banka Intesa is the leader in Serbia in terms of market share and realized profit in 2021, and the first on the list of insurers according to the realized premium is Dunav osiguranje.
Raiffeisen Bank is in second place in terms of success in the banking sector, while AIK Bank is in third place with domestic capital. Unicredit Bank and OTP Bank are among the top five banks in terms of profit on the “Finance Top” ranking list.
In 2021, the banking sector in Serbia increased its total salary by a fifth, to 49.3 billion dinars, but the return on capital of less than seven percent can hardly be measured with operations in the pre-crisis period.
Last year, banks recorded net interest income in the amount of RSD 129.1 billion, which is less than the same indicator achieved in 2015 (RSD 129.8 billion) and indicates the limitations that banks had in their core business during a long period of low interest rates. Therefore, the banks used their dominant position on the Serbian market to increase the net income on the basis of fees and commissions to a record 55.7 billion dinars last year and thus improve the overall result, the edition concludes.
In 2021, insurance companies in Serbia finally achieved the long-term goal of making the total premium on the domestic market exceed one billion euros. The total premium increased by 8.6 percent, to 119.41 billion dinars and exceeded the growth of premiums in the world, which, according to the Allianz Global Insurance Report, amounted to 5.1 percent last year, according to the annual edition of the magazine “Business and finance”.
Last year, both life and non-life insurance grew. Life insurance earned a premium of 27.1 billion dinars, which is about a billion dinars or 3.7 percent more than in 2020. Non-life insurance premiums increased by 8.5 billion dinars, or 10.2 percent, reaching the amount of 92.3 billion dinars.
Among the insurances with the highest growth is voluntary health insurance, which collected 1.5 billion dinars more in premiums for a year, and it now amounts to 6.9 billion dinars, which is a growth of 27.5 percent.
Voluntary health insurance is now, however, facing problems due to the negative impact of inflation on services in the health sector.
Namely, while earlier insurers could calculate that the prices of health services will not change in a period of one year, as long as the policy lasts, now the prices in private health institutions change quarterly, the edition “Finance Top” points out.
The value of newly concluded financial leasing contracts in Serbia in 2021 amounted to 550.4 million euros, which is a growth of 35 percent compared to 2020 and 7.4 percent more than in the pre-crisis 2019. According to the data in the edition, the growth continued in the first quarter of this year, as well as the trend that the total financing is dominated by passenger vehicles, followed by commercial and cargo vehicles, machinery and equipment.
According to estimates made in the annual edition of Business and Finance magazine by representatives of the financial sector, government officials and independent economic analysts, the financial sector in Serbia is stable despite the disturbances caused by the pandemic and war in Ukraine. Unlike the previous financial crisis, when the state spent as much as 900 million euros on repairing the consequences on the financial market, the financial sector currently does not pose a greater threat to public finances, analysts agree.
Experts point out that Serbia is in a very unenviable position in the current geopolitical and military conflict. If our country maintains that it will not impose sanctions on Russia, and as a result its relations with Western countries will significantly deteriorate, that would cause a decline in foreign investments and exports, and make it more difficult for the state and the economy to borrow abroad.
On the other hand, worsening relations with Russia would also have a negative impact on the Serbian economy, primarily through high growth in gas prices and possible shortages, which would spill over into rising costs for the economy and the population, according to the “Finance Top” edition, 021 reports.