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Three Slovene Banks Receive World Bank Loan for Private Sector Credit

Washington, July 29 (RFE/RL) -- The World Bank has approved three loans totalling $49.3 million to three banks in Slovenia to support commercial credit lines for deserving private companies.

The three banks--Nova Ljubljanska, SKB, and Banka Celje--account for half of Slovenia's banking assets, according to the World Bank. Nova Ljubljanska is the largest Slovene bank with a broad network. While still government owned, it is to be privatized next year.

The SKB Banka is, according to the World Bank, "one of the youngest and most dynamic" banks in Slovenia. Banka Celja is a small bank that traces its origins to a community savings bank created 100 years ago in the Celje region.

The loan will allow each bank to offer lending of up to 80 percent of a project's costs to existing enterprises and up to 50 percent of total investments in new enterprises. Only those firms which have at least 51 percent of private shareholders will be eligible.

As importantly, says the World Bank, the program will provide needed long-term finance to private enterprises, help the banks sharpen their skills in assessing risks, and promote more active banking participation in private sector financing.