The toughest difficulties resulting from the financial crisis have been passed in corporate finance.  Non-financial corporations’ financing difficulties decreased during 2010 but still continue to be clearly more common than in the pre-crisis years.  The average loan margin has also remained higher than before the crisis.
The growth of corporate loans granted by monetary financial corporations accelerated last year. However, the growth of corporate loans was almost entirely founded on loans to housing corporations, while the actual corporate loan stock has contracted again over recent months. New corporate loans are mainly drawn for the purposes of restructuring old loans and funding working capital. This is shown in the Financial Statistics 2010 - Annual Review and the Financial Market Report 1/2011 published by the Bank of Finland.
The growth of housing loans has been steady but clearly slower than before the financial crisis. The proportion of new housing loans with fixed interest rates has increased on the back of expectations of a rise in short-term market interest rates, and the average maturity of housing loans has shortened. However, the average maturity of Finland’s housing loan stock remains the shortest in the euro area, since a large proportion of housing loans is still linked to Euribor rates.
In 2010, households’ term deposits increased, as the interest rates paid on longer term deposits became attractive due to increased competition among banks. With respect to household deposits, the impact of the financial crisis has been most apparent in term deposits, which increased steeply in 2008 as households withdrew their assets from investment funds and contracted in 2009 on the back of the decreasing interest rate level.
Resolution of the European debt crisis is contingent on steering the banking system on a solid foundation. Structural reforms in the banking sector are imperative in many European countries in order to restore trust in the banking system and banks’ market-driven funding recovers. The crisis has not necessitated structural reforms in the Finnish banking sector, whereas many EU countries have had to create support systems.
In Finland, the amount of banks’ credit losses due to the financial crisis has remained clearly lower than expected, at only a fraction of the credit losses incurred in the banking crisis of the 1990s. This has been facilitated by the rapid economic recovery and better-than-expected employment situation. Furthermore, the exceptionally low level of interest rates has contained debt-servicing costs, and borrowers have not been exposed to foreign exchange risk. In addition, the development in asset prices has been more moderate than in the previous crisis. Borrowers' debt-servicing capacity has remained better than in the recession of the 1990s. On the other hand, households are more indebted than previously, resulting in increased vulnerability.
The final spurt towards creating the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) has begun. In Finland, the SEPA credit transfer is replacing the traditional credit transfer at a rapid pace. Most netbanking payments are SEPA payments. The domestic credit transfer will be delegated to history by the end of the year. For private individuals, this entails the use of an IBAN account number in the international format. For companies, the change is relatively large since the standards of payment items will change.
For further information, please contact  Kimmo Koskinen, Economist, kimmo.koskinen(at), tel. +358 10 831 2546, and for more information on investment fund statistics contact Eero Savolainen, Economist, eero.savolainen(at), tel. +358 10 831 2235.

The report and review will be published in English and Swedish on Monday 28 February.