NINE BANKS CONTROL 86% OF THE PAYMENTS
More than 76.38% of the legal business is concentracted in Sofia, Plovdiv, Bourgas, Varna and Rousse and their respective districts, and nine banks service about 86% of all inter-bank payments. These are BULBANK, UBB, DSK Bank, BIOCHIM, Post Bank, HEBROSBANK, SG EXPRESSBANK, FIB and Municipal Bank. The remaining 26 credit institutions and bank branches execute the negligible 14% of the payments. These sad statistics shows that legalized economy in all regions, excluding the five mentioned above, is sagging. As for the 'grey' economy, it cannot be measured through the volume of inter-bank transfers simply because in that case money are handed over.
The volume of inter-bank payments has always been among the most accurate indicators of the economy status. Usually, in the advanced economies the total annual money turnover processed by the credit institutions, is 80 times the GDP of the respectie country. At the end of 2000 in Bulgaria the ratio was 2.2 times the GDP - another fact proving the inadequate development of Bulgarian business and the considerable share of 'grey' economy. Paradoxically yet, 2000 was the most successful for local business. At least that is indicated by inter-bank payments.
The last twelve months registered several peaks. For the first time we reached 19.4MN inter-bank payments, which exceeded the 1999 number by 29%, said Alexander Tzintzarsky, Executive Director of Bankservice. An extremely positive indicator is the fast growth of non-budget transfers - 25%. As a number they still represent 1/3 of all payments, but as a total amount they equalled the budget transfers. Thus the total volume of payments in the end of 2000 reached BGL55.5BN, while in 1999 it was BGL45.4BN.
These statistics confirm the fact that Bulgarian business is recovering and part of the 'grey' economy is coming up to the light, continued Mr. Tzintzarsky. As for the budget, according to him the growing number and amount of payments show that tax, duty and social security collection is improving.
Bankservice head pointed out that since 1997 till the end of 2000 the number of inter-bank transfers has increased by 90%, while for the period 1993 - 1997 the increase was only 26%. This, according to Tzintzarsky, shows the speed of development of our economy backed by the financial stability after the implementation of the Currency Board.
Besides that, in December 2000 for the first time the number of inter-bank payments reached 250,000 per day, informed Bankservice chief. He thinks that next year transfers will double in number and volume, which implies that current inter-bank payment system capacity should also be increased. According to the system upgrading project BISSERA 4, in the busiest days it will be able to handled at least 500,000 transfers daily. The upgraded system will make possible processing of the payments in the same day, and not on the next day, which is currently the case. Besides, banks will be able to receive the cash flow reports several times a day.