CBK, EIB, OeNB Conference on “Access to Finance, Bank Lending and the Banking Sectors in the CESEE Countries”


On 14 November 2017, the Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo (CBK) together with the Oestereichische Nationalbank (OeNB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) organized in Prishtina a conference on ‘Access to Finance, Bank Lending and the Banking Sectors in the CESEE countries’. The conference provided an opportunity for far-reaching policy dialogue, attracting a distinguished pool of speakers from regional central banks, international financial institutions and commercial banks.

The conference was opened by Mr. Fehmi Mehmeti, Acting Governor of the CBK, who was followed by a welcoming speech of Mr. Bedri Hamza, Minister of Finance in the Government of Kosovo. The conference continued with discussions and presentations, grouped in the following five discussion panels:

Panel discussion: “Turning the corner? Discussion on macro-financial stability in the Western Balkans”
- Fehmi Mehmeti, Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo, Acting Governor
- Elizabeta Gjoni, Bank of Albania, Deputy Governor
- Mirjana Mitrovic Mijatovic, Central Bank of MontenegroHead of Financial Stability, Research and Statistics Department
- Anita Angelovska Bezhoska, National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia, Deputy Governor
- Michaela Erbenova, IMF, Executive Director, CEE Constituency
- Chair: Helene Schuberth, OeNB, Head of the Foreign Research Department

Panel discussion: “The new normal for CESEE: reflection on the post-crisis adjustment and new economic model in the region”
- Bas Bakker, IMF, Senior Regional Resident Representative for CEE
- Bojan Markovic, EBRD, Deputy Director for Sector Economics and Policy
- Anita Szekely, EBA, Supervisory Convergence Unit
- Miquel Dijkman, Coordinator in FinSac – World Bank Group
Chair: Tomas Richardson, Director of Joint Vienna Institute

Presentation on Investment and lending landscape in CESEE, Luca Gattini and Miroslav Kollar, EIB

Panel discussion: “Supporting the region”
- Konstantinos Mastrogiannopoulos, EIB
- Stine Andresen, DG NEAR, European Commission, Head of the WBIF Secretariat
- Merita Gjyshinca Peja, CEO, Banka Ekonomike, Kosovo
- Robert Wright, CEO, Raiffeisen Bank, Kosovo
- Chair: Jan-Axel Voss, Deputy Head of Mission, German Embassy Pristina

Snap-shot presentations: “Banking sector and capital flows in CESEE countries”
- “Cross border banking pull-push effects of parent banks on subsidiaries’ credit extensions”, Luca Gattini, EIB
- “Determinants of household loan arrears in CESEE”, Elisabeth Beckmann, OeNB
- “Banking Sector Competition, Risk-Taking and Interest Margins in CESEE countries”, Arben Mustafa, Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo
- “Banking sector concentration, competition and financial stability: the case of the Baltic countries”, Juan Carlos Cuestas, Eesti Pank
- Chair: Tomas Slacik, OeNB, Senior Economist, Foreign Research Division

Snap-shot presentations: “Selected topics in banking and access to finance”
- “Evolution and heterogeneity of credit procyclicality in Central and Eastern Europe”, Yannick Lucotte, University of Orléans
- “Access to Finance in the Western Balkans”, Isabella Moder, ECB
- “Bank financing to SMEs in the Republic of Macedonia: Evidence from Survey Data”, Tanja Jakimova, National bank of the Republic of Macedonia
- “Macroeconomic and bank-specific determinants of non-performing loans in Macedonian banking system- panel data analysis”, Mihajlo Vaskov, National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia
- Chair: Barbara Marchitto, Head Country and Financial Sector Analysis, EIB Economics Department

The discussion benefitted from the intervention of a number of distinguished key-note speakers, including:
- Mr. Jörg Decressin, Deputy Director of the European Department at the IMF,
- Mr. Ruud Vermeulen, Resident Representative of the IMF in Kosovo,
- Mr. Mario Holzner, Deputy Director of WIIW.

Barbara Marchitto (EIB) concluded, summarising the key messages emerged from the day-long discussion:
- Growth is back and measures have been put in place to deal with high NPLs. However, growth remains below pre-crisis levels and - while robust growth is a necessary condition – it cannot, alone address the many challenges that countries in the region are facing, from high unemployment, to external imbalances, low savings and high NPLs.
- Strong, credible and reliable institutions are of vital importance. Structural reforms and adjustment are needed to deliver strong and transparent institutions, enhance investors’ confidence, promote domestic savings, spur the development of local capital markets and improve access to finance.
- Investment has suffered through the crisis, and a recovery in investment is very much needed to boost competitiveness and productivity in the region, particularly in intangibles, R&D, innovation and skills.
- Credit conditions in CESEE have been improving. Demand for credit, including its investment related components, has been increasing more than supply, hinting at a possible regional gap. The strategic focus of cross border banking groups has selectively increased, also backed by a higher profitability of CESEE operations.
- It’s up to individual countries to own reforms, to design and implement them, but EU institutions and IFIs have a crucial role to play in assisting CESEE countries in promoting sound policies, supporting productive investment and enhancing institutional quality.

The following links provide access to the conference program and the presentations that were presented during the day:

Presenation Ruud Vermeulen

Presenation Jorg Decressin

Presentation Bas Bakker

Presentations Luca Gattini and Miroslav Kollar

Presentation Stine Andresen

Presentation Mario Holzner

Presentation Elisabeth Beckmann

Presentation Arben Mustafa

Presentation Juan Carlos Cuestas

Presentation Isabella Moder

Presentation Mihajlo Vaskov

Photos from the conference