Financial Sector Coordination Meeting on SerbiaHeld at the Joint Vienna Institute on March 27, 2009
Concluding Statement by Participating Banks
We, the parent institutions of the ten largest foreign-owned banks incorporated in Serbia met in Vienna, Austria, on March 27, 2009, at the invitation of the Joint Vienna Institute (JVI). The meeting took place under the auspices and the chairmanship of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the participation of the World Bank Group (WBG), the EBRD, the EIB, relevant home (Austria, France, Greece and Italy) and host country banking supervisors and officials (National Bank of Serbia (NBS) and Serbian Ministry of Finance), and in the presence of the European Commission and the European Central Bank.
We agreed on the following considerations and conclusions:
1. We accept with satisfaction the shared view of the Serbian authorities and the IMF Serbia team that the banking sector in Serbia is currently in good financial condition, and that the parent banks of the foreign-owned Serbian banks have so far behaved responsibly, providing their Serbian affiliates with funding, capital, managerial and other types of expertise as the need arose.
2. The IMF is in the process of finalizing a balance of payments support package for Serbia with the participation of the World Bank. We welcome this important development that will ensure that Serbia can face all its obligations, thus preserving macro-economic and financial stability.
3. We are aware that the success of the macroeconomic reform program and medium-term balance of payments sustainability in Serbia will also be favorably enhanced by the continued involvement of the foreign-owned banks.
4. We entered the Serbian market as strategic investors and key contributors to its transition toward an open, market-driven economy, based on our assessment and continued confidence in the country’s long-term growth prospects. We have made substantial investments in Serbia over a number of years, and we remain committed to doing business in the country.
5. We are aware that it is in our own collective interest and in the interest of Serbia for all of us to subscribe to coordinated commitments to maintain our overall exposure to Serbia.
6. Against this background, we firmly stand behind Serbia’s economic reforms in the context of its arrangement with the IMF. We also note that under the IMF-supported government program stress tests, based on established IMF methodology, will be conducted in the next months in the face of worsening external and domestic demand conditions. We support this exercise.
7. We have also agreed to work towards making specific commitments in the next few weeks regarding maintaining our exposure in Serbia and providing adequate support to our subsidiaries. We are prepared to make these commitments, within the framework of the multilateral support programs, on bilateral basis with the NBS, and with the involvement of our home country supervisory authorities, according to European and the respective national regulatory frameworks.
National Bank of Greece