Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has virtually eliminated the demand for foreign currency loans, contributing to a reorientation to lending in the national currency, which is a good indicator for the economy, according to Pervin Dadashova, director of the NBU’s Financial Stability Department.
“Hryvnia lending prevails, and in general, in principle, the hryvnia is more attractive for lending than foreign currency. This is very important, and I think that this love for lending in hryvnia should continue,” she said at a discussion held by the Center for Economic Strategies (CES).
Dadashova noted that earlier the main motivation for foreign currency lending was lower interest rates on such loans, which led to problems in the absence of real needs and revenues in foreign currency. According to her, the risks of foreign currency lending, which increased during the war, have sharply reduced business interest in the dumb
The Director of the NBU’s Financial Stability Department noted that the loan portfolio has recently stabilized and returned to a slight increase, and now banks are faced with the task of compensating for its loss during the war, which, according to various metrics, amounted to about 15%.
“Now the quality of the loan portfolio is absolutely normal, it is even better than before the war. That is, banks are not losing as much credit risk as they did a few months ago,” the expert emphasized.
She clarified that the small growth in the loan portfolio so far is largely due to the growth under government support programs.
“However, a greater openness to new lending is already noticeable, including in our surveys,” Dadashova noted.
Among other trends, she noted an increase in the share of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the loan portfolio to more than 50%.
“A significant part of them belongs to business groups, so it is not a pure small business, it is still a big business, but it is structured in a certain way. But in the total portfolio, 15% of loans are granted to debtors who do not belong to business groups,” the expert said, emphasizing that they are a “good engine” for market lending.