“The banker is a person, who gives you an umbrella when the weather is fine, and takes it back when it starts raining!” Now we are not going to question the skills of bankers, but we will talk about their achievements. For the 20th time now, in Bulgaria the best banks in this country received awards. For 20th year now, the association “ Bank of the year” announces the best bank institution in the country. This year the award went to First Investment Bank.
“The Bulgarian banking system is stable, but is not able to generate growth on its own”, said the national Bank governor Ivan Iskrov at a round table discussion about the state of our banking system. The forum was organised by” Bank of the year” association, just before the official ceremony. Ivan Iskrov is positive that the subsidiaries of the Greek banks in Bulgaria are totally independent from their owners in Greece. These are Bulgarian banks and fall under the regulation of the Bulgarian National Audit Office. Moreover, Bulgarian banks do not hold a single Euro in Greek obligations. The governor once again underlined that Bulgaria should not be treated as the other countries from the region, because the economy and the banking systems in each country are strictly specific.
Which bank could be announced bank of the last 20 years?
“If we have to look for such a bank, it is undoubtedly The Bulgarian National Bank”, says in an interview for RB Valentin Panaiotov, chairman of “Bank of the year “ association. Through its regulations it has made the Bulgarian banking system of the most stable in all Europe. The bank did not receive any foreign funds and operates only with its own capital.”
There is a rumor in public that subsidiaries of Greek banks in Bulgaria are transferring capitals to Greece now.
“The banks can not export capital, because one of the National Bank decrees says that the capital of commercial banks is kept in The National Bank and they are not allowed to use it without the permission of the National Bank”, continues Valentin Panaiotov.
The national Bank has the right to audit all other banks. So Greek subsidiaries are only a part of the whole banking system and do not differ the rest of the banks, which operate in Bulgaria. It is a mater of another discussion the fact that, because of the Greek crisis these banks became less popular and lost trust. They lost 30% of their market share last year only. On another hand, new leaders have emerged at this market, because there is simply no gap there- someone else fills the niche.”
The top executives of First Investment Bank with the award.
First Investment Bank has become not only a Bank of the Year, but also won the prize for the bank with the biggest market share. According to unofficial information it has already reached 15% of the whole market in Bulgaria. It is among the few Bulgarian banks, which have managed to beat the severe competition of powerful financial institutions from Europe.
“The formula of our success is to be quick, flexible, and have the skills to serve well”, says in an interview for RB Dimitar Kostov, chief executive of First Investment Bank. “ This is a mission, something that we value high and over which we have been working over the years. We understand the demands of our clients and manage to find the right decisions of their problems. We are flexible and respond quickly when necessary. We all know the proverb, which says that the banker gives an umbrella when it is not raining anymore. For us is important to handle the umbrella when it still rains and because of that we see trust and support from our clients.