Whether you are a Macedonian citizen or a foreigner, going to a bank is a necessary step in life. The choice of the financial institution and the reasons related to this choice both require information and knowledge. With this article, we are going to help you navigate more safely into this world.
The banking sector withstood well to the covid crisis last year (2020), with banking institutions in Macedonia performing overall good results despite the slump in consumption. Compared to the previous period (2019), the growth last year amounted to 5.9 % on average per bank.
There are currently fifteen banks operating in the country, but the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia performs very different activities than the other financial institutions. Its role is mainly dedicated to maintaining and achieving price stability. It defines and implements the monetary policy, designs and conducts the exchange rate policy, and holds and manages foreign reserves. It issues and manages the banknotes and coins of the Republic of Macedonia. It acts as the financial authority of Macedonia by performing licensing and supervision of banks, savings houses, e-money issuers, and other financial institutions.
The fourteen other banks offer different services based on retail and corporate banking. Retail banking provides consumers essential banking services such as checking accounts, savings accounts, and loans. Corporate banking encompasses activities such as checking businesses’ accounts and loans for businesses, whether SMEs (Small and medium-sized enterprises) or more prominent firms. They are intended for clients, whatever their location: therefore, a customer situated outside of Macedonia can have access to these services. The account currency is usually the Macedonian Denar, but other currencies, such as the euro, the US dollar, the Swiss franc, or the Australian dollar, are accepted.
The products offered by Macedonian banks are varied, even if they correspond broadly to services traditionally encompassed under the term of “retail banking”: money transfers (through Western Union, MoneyGram, etc.), different kinds of loans (housing, mortgage, car, student, consumer, loans, etc.). Several types of accounts are available: current, savings, or time deposit accounts. Payment and credit cards, as well as safe deposit boxes, are also offered to the customer.
All credit institutions in Macedonia are bound to participate in the Macedonian deposit guarantee scheme. They give a deposit guarantee for their customers, which can go up to 30.000 EUR per depositor. This deposit guarantee scheme is a financial stability mechanism implemented in many countries to protect bank depositors against the loss of their deposits when a bank is unable to meet its obligations to depositors by compensating certain deposits held by depositors of the bank. Eligible depositors are natural persons, that is, residents and citizens of Macedonia and foreign residents and citizens. All deposit accounts are compensated for the deposit guarantee scheme, and all currencies are covered under this scheme (Macedonian denar and foreign currencies).
In 2020 Komercijalna Banka AD Skopje was ranked the first largest bank in Macedonia in terms of total assets, having 22.65 % of the domestic market share among banks in Macedonia. Its total assets amounted to 132.64 billion MKD, versus 123.1 billion MKD in 2019. In terms of total liabilities, the bank owes 132.6 billion MKD to its creditors (versus 123.1 in 2019).
Stopanska Banka AD Skopje is the second largest bank in Macedonia in terms of total assets, with 18.11 % of the domestic market share in the country. Its total assets were worth 106 billion MKD in 2020 compared to 99.7 billion MKD in 2019. In terms of total liabilities, the bank owes 106 billion MKD to its creditors (to compare with 99.7 in 2019).
The country’s third-largest bank in terms of total assets is NLB Banka AD Skopje, with 9.54 % of the domestic market share. Its total assets reached 96.83 billion MKD in 2020, compared to 88.39 billion MKD in 2019. In terms of total liabilities, NLB Banka AD Skopje owes 96.83 billion MKD to its creditors (it was 88.39 billion in 2019).
Regarding the loans and deposits from clients, banks in Macedonia have all registered positive results from 2019 to 2020, except for Stopanska Banka AD Skopje, which experienced a steep fall in its deposits during this period (1,54 mln Macedonian denars). Generally, the difference in loans per bank corresponds to a 5.35% increase, while the deposits’ rise is more modest, standing at 4,15 %.
Among the Macedonian Banks, which have recorded the most significant rise in loans and deposits from clients, is the Half Bank AD Skopje, with a 6,18 mln MKD (Macedonian denars) increase from 2019 to 2020 for loans (which corresponds to a 16,21 % increase). But as for deposits from clients, the growth was even more robust since they represented a 22,90 % rise, or eight mln MDK.
ebf.eu: Republic of North Macedonia’s banking sector: Facts and figures