Methods of Payment
The primary means of payment in Slovenia are cash, bank debit cards, and major credit cards. Many vendors offer payment by installment, especially for goods valued over USD 100. Through cooperative agreements with local banks, many vendors also offer on-the-spot “mini-loans” for purchases from approximately USD 500 to USD 1,500.
Other types of payment, such as wire transfer, letters of credit, documentary collections, and factoring, are also used.
The local credit rating company https://www.dnb.com/business-directory/company-profiles.dun__bradstreet_doo.17f81eed3f79a44f830dece1d5d30a1b.html, a local subsidiary of Dun & Bradstreet established in 2021, provides credit rating information for local companies within a few days.
Additional information about methods of payment or other trade finance options is available through the Department of Commerce’s Trade Finance Guide.
The 2008-12 global economic crisis had a devastating impact on Slovenia’s banking sector and heavily exposed it to management buyouts of key Slovenian companies, most of which failed, thereby increasing the ratio of non-performing loans. Consequently, the banking sector tightened credit, resulting in a huge credit crunch, especially for SMEs. Although the financial environment has improved dramatically since 2012 as major banks have shed bad assets, new loans are often difficult to obtain. Slovenia’s largest bank, NLB, was privatized in 2018 and 2019, although the government remains a major shareholder with a 25 percent stake. Of NLB’s remaining shares, 56 percent are distributed among several international investors on fiduciary account at the Bank of New York Mellon, while eight percent are held by a number of Slovenian institutional and private investors. In 2016, an American investment fund and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) purchased Slovenia’s second largest bank, Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor (NKBM). In 2019, NKBM purchased the country’s third-largest bank, the state-owned Abanka. As a result of the sale, NKBM’s market share grew to 22.5 percent, rivaling NLB, which has approximately 26 percent of the country’s market share. In 2021, NKBM Bank was acquired by the Hungarian OTP Bank, which previously acquired SKB Bank from Societe Generale. The latest deal is expected to be completed in 2022.
Banks are limited to a narrow range of traditional activities and have yet to engage in new consumer services, investment banking, and management of more complex financial instruments. Nevertheless, the financial statements of Slovenian banks comply with international standards and are audited regularly by internationally-recognized auditors. Identifying financing for domestic projects can be problematic, with banks typically seeking 100 percent or more collateral in most cases.
Slovenia has taken some important steps to liberalize its financial markets, and a combination of market forces, national legislation, and Bank of Slovenia regulations are moving the banking sector toward greater compliance with global expectations. In the future, portfolio and direct investments will likely become more straightforward and transparent, while banking, securities brokering, and complex credit transactions will become more commonplace.
Other sources of financing are available for a limited range of activities. The U.S. Export-Import Bank provides medium-term and long-term loans and guarantees, while the U.S. International Development Finance Cooperation (DFC) offers direct loans and guarantees as well as equity investments. The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the International Finance Corporation fund large infrastructure projects, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) provides financing for banking sector privatization as well as privatization of other sectors.
In July 1999, the Slovenian Export Corporation (SEC) and the U.S. Export-Import Bank signed a memorandum on cooperation in financing, insuring, and reinsuring exports to Southeast European countries.
The reference interest rate in Slovenia is EURIBOR. Interest rates are usually expressed as three, six, or 12-month EURIBOR + margin. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is used as a measure of inflation.
Foreign Exchange Controls
Slovenia introduced the euro as its national currency in 2007. The Slovenian Central Bank is a member of the European Central Bank (ECB), based in Frankfurt, Germany. The Slovenian Central Bank does not operate independently. As a member of the ECB, Slovenia operates under the guidelines of the EDB and follows all ECB directives.
U.S. Banks & Local Correspondent Banks
Slovenia hosts 11 banks and three savings houses. Larger correspondent banks include:
Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d. (NLB), Ljubljana, Trg republike 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Tel +386 1 476 3900
Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor d.d. (NKBM), Vita Kraigherja 4, 2502 Maribor, Slovenia
Tel. +386 2 229 2290
SKB Banka d.d., Ajdovscina 4, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Tel: +386 1 471 5555
Banka Intesa Sanpaolo d.d., Pristaniška ulica 14, 6502 Koper, Slovenia
Tel +386 5 66 61 000