BANK SECTOR HAS DOUBLED ITS PROFITS
The bank system will probably mark 2003 as its most successful year since 1997. Acording to BNB's statistics, the credit institutions' aggregate profits totalled BGN125.4MN in the first three months, up from BGN57MN in end-March 2002.The central bank's data show that the good financial performance in the first quarter of 2003 is mostly due to the reorientation of banks to extending credits to the citizens. Consumer loans in the first three months of the year went up more than 5 % - from BGN989.3MN to BGN1.1BN, and the housing credits picked up more than 6% - from BGN229.38MN to BGN243.94MN. In the same period the credits allocated to companies registered a 4% growth - from BGN3.9BN to BGN4.1BN.Consumer loans bring banks higher incomes than the credits they extend to companies. The yield from interest, paid by citizens, totalled BGN47.82MN (about 4% of the aggregate amount of allocated credits) in end-March 2003, while the yield from interest paid by firms was just 2.4% (BGN119.93MN) of the total amount of launched credits. These indicators explain the big banks' growing interest towards consumer crediting.