Bank Industry Overview 2015

In 2015, public trust in the Bulgarian banking sector remained relatively stable despite the complicated political environment and the financial insecurity, provoked by CorpBank’s bankruptcy in 2014. The media analysis focused mainly on topics in connection with Credits, Credit Types and Investments made by the top financial institutions in the country.

During the analysed period, Traditional Online Media were dominant source of information that closely monitored and reported on the bank industry sector. Traditional Media generated more than 84% (2270 mentions) of the total share of voice and maintained a vital role in shaping each bank's image.

The predominant sentiment was neutral among all monitored banks. News related to Financial Performance (in terms of assets, deposit growth, net profit increase), CSR Initiatives, Sponsorship (“The Sound of Money” forum), increased public interest in Student loans, growing demand for Consumer loans, and product promotions, to a large extent drove positive coverage. On the other hand, the negative response was mainly due to posts and articles about differences in credit interest rates among parent banks and their subsidiaries in Bulgaria, inflated and overpaid interest rates (UniCredit’s case), problems with the overvalued Swiss Franc (Postbank) as well as “hollow firms” lending (Fibank).

Mortgages, Housing Loans and Business Credits emerged as key themes, accounting for 31% and 29% of the overall share of voice, respectively. News related to low interest rates on credits and deposits, bank system stability following CorpBank’s license revocation, assessment of the financial performance of Bulgarian subsidiaries of Greek banks, investments in municipal areas by different European funds such as JESSICA (SGEB – one of the shareholders in the UDF – Urban Development Fund) and Flag made up the rest of the conversation.

UniCredit Bulbank managed to overshadow all its competitors within the banking sector in terms of credit discussions, taking away 20% of the relevant conversation (533 mentions). Business Credits were the bank’s most popular lending instrument, followed by Housing Loans and Investment Credits. Traditional Media generated the largest portion (87%) of the coverage and played a crucial role in shaping the bank’s online image.

The favourable media content regarding Fibank came as result of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and the attractive terms of Housing Loans like “Pravo na izbor” (The Right to Choose) which was introduced in September. A significant portion (44%) of the sentiment towards the bank was negative. Publications by sources like Bivol implicated Fibank for its indiscriminate lending policy as far as Business Credits were concerned, as well as for its alleged connections to Bulgarian newspaper magnate Delyan Peevski.

The liquidity help given by Bulgarian authorities to the bank was covered mainly in a neutral, informative manner. However, some of the sources emphasised on the government’s double standards related to Fibank’ and Corporate Commercial Bank’s (CorpBank) similar liquidity situation.

Compared to other banks, the conversation about ProCredit generated the least amount of online buzz, making up less than 1% of online mentions.

UniCredit Bulbank: December 6th - Interview with Levon Hampartzoumian, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Association of Banks in Bulgaria and CEO of UniCredit Bulbank, on credit/deposit ratio; October 19th - UniCredit Bulbank analysis depicting the rising popularity of alternative forms of savings and investments.

First Investment Bank: April 6th - Tsvetan Vasilev announced his intention to sue Bulgaria because of CorpBank's bankruptcy and the double standards of government liquidity help for Fibank and CorpBank.

Postbank: April 30 - Postbank won the first prize in the “Innovation” category at the Annual awards of the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria; April 20th - Financial Performance report, which was showing a clear upward trend in Consumers Loans demand.

DSK: June 4th - DSK Bank and CiBank signed contracts for a revolving loan to the FLAG Fund, aimed at funding municipal projects.

Societe Generale Expressbank: March 1st - SGEB started co-financing various projects under the JESSICA initiative.



Perceptica is a leading Media Analysis provider, part of the global information services company A Data Pro (http://www.aiidatapro.com). Perceptica offers analysis in all European and many world languages on a wide variety of topics, including economics, sociology, telecommunications, health services and consumer goods. From January 2016, Perceptica added Employer Branding to the list of its services.

For more information, please contact:

Georgi Auad, Director Perceptica

Tel.: +359 897 814 142

E-mail: georgi.auad@perceptica.com




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