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Mečiar: 4 banks should merge

Premier Vladimír Mečiar suggested on June 16 that Slovakia's four largest financial houses should merge into two, proposing that VÚB and Slovenská Sporiteľňa (SLSP) become one twin and the IRB and Slovenská Poisťovňa (SP) as the other. Mečiar justified the proposal by saying that "these banks are losing market position to foreign banks." Three of the biggest financial houses - VÚB, the largest commercial bank, SLSP, the largest savings bank, and SP, the largest insurer - are controlled by the state through the National Property Fund (FNM) privatization agency. "Mergers of these Slovak banks would improve their competitiveness in the light of Slovakia's integration [into] the EU and the OECD," admitted NBS spokesman Ján Onda. "[But] so far there is no such plan that the central bank knows about."

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