The loan and lease portfolio grows stably

The loan and lease portfolio to Estonian companies and households was 3.7% larger at the end of September than a year earlier, having grown at about the same rate as in recent months. The total volume of loans and leases increased during the month by 66 million euros to 15.9 billion euros.

The portfolio of loans and leases to companies grew by 3.4% over the year. The fastest growth was in loans and leases to companies in trade, electrical energy and water supply, and industry. In contrast, the portfolio of loans to companies in agriculture and transport and storage was smaller than it was a year before.

An active market for residential property saw the portfolio of housing loans increase by 3.9% over the year, which is a similar rate to that of recent months. Around 81 million euros of new housing loans were issued, which is about the same amount as in previous months. The annual growth in car leases to households increased to 13.5%, though the volume of car leases to companies has declined. The total value of car leases issued to companies and households in September was 5% higher than at the same time a year ago.

The share of loans in the portfolio that were long-term overdue fell to 1.6% in September. This share had increased slightly in the preceding months, but in September it started to come back down. Part of the reduction was due to write-offs of problem loans.

Large demand in the residential property market allowed the banks to raise their interest margins on housing loans. The average interest margin on corporate loans is more volatile than that on housing loans, but in recent months it has generally been falling. The average interest rate for housing loans granted in September was 2.3%, and the average rate for long-term corporate loans was 2.4%.

Corporate and household deposits continued to grow rapidly in September, and were 8.9% larger than a year previously. Deposits grew by 68 million euros over the month to 10.4 billion euros, with 58 million euros of the monthly growth coming from increased corporate deposits.

The net profit earned by the banks during the quarter was at a similar level to that earned in previous quarters. The banks earned 77.6 million euros in net profit in the third quarter of 2015, which is 3% less than in the third quarter of last year. Profits fell in the third quarter as loans were written down, and net profit would have been 5% more than a year before without that effect.

Source: Bank of Estonia

Author: Mari Tamm, Economist at Eesti Pank

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