Last year the assets of the Ukrainian banking system grew 60-62%. This year, the growth is expected at up to 50%, informed NBU Deputy Governor Oleksandr Savchenko at a meeting with representatives of the European Business Association on issues of the investment climate in Ukraine. He also said that Ukraine is the leader in Europe in terms of dynamics of the banking sector (by growth of assets). However, he stressed that such quick growth has its risks as well. Savchenko said growth rates of the number of deposits being lower than the growth in the number of issued loans is the phenomenon of the year. He said that the NBU is planning to end the year with increased gold and currency reserves. In the beginning of the year, they amounted to US $19 bn, which will grow to US $20 bn by the end of the year according to plan.
In the first eight months of 2006, the loan portfolios of banks grew by slightly over 30%. At the same time, the increase in the money supply is not as dynamic and is dropping. Savchenko explained that this was precisely the reason that the NBU resorted to reducing the reserves of commercial banks. He further added that the goal of the NBU is to bring these reserves to the level of the EU (2%-2.5% of total capital).
Savchenko named the following problems in the countryвЂ™s banking sector:
вЂў existence of several so-called вЂњbad banksвЂќ with criminal management (in Ukraine, 5-6 banks go bankrupt every year);
вЂў lack of correspondence of assets and liabilities of banks by terms. This means that Ukrainian banks do not have long-term funds. Savchenko explained that this is primarily due to the traditional lack of trust of the people towards banks and because the law permits withdrawal of deposits at any time (the law stands above an agreement with a bank);
вЂў currency risks;
вЂў low level of capitalization of Ukrainian banks.
As for the acquisition of Ukrainian banks by foreign financial institutions, the NBU deputy governor said that there have been no cases of rejection to a foreign bank with a good reputation. In this case, the procedure of agreement on acquisition with the NBU lasts up to one month. There have been cases, however, when the NBU has refused to agree to the acquisition of Ukrainian banks by foreign individuals or legal entities with a dubious reputation.