Банкеръ Weekly



The Governing Board of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) is to make an important decision that will give green light to one of its biggest investment projects, the establishment of a new teller centre. This is expected to happen at one of the central bank's Governing Board meetings, scheduled for December 16 and 23 when BNB's governors will discuss if the whole procedure should be opened by choosing a site for building the facility or with specifying the priorities in implementing the project. In other words, the members of the central bank's Governing Board are to decide if the expenses for security and technological equipment or for the construction of the building will be weightier. Concerning the location, BNB insiders comment there are several possibilities to choose from. Most probably, however, the Governing Board will propose that the new establishment is built on the real estate opposite the central bank. It was owned by Formprint - the printing house of the Finance Ministry - which was decided to unite with that of BNB. Therefore, the central bank shall not have to pay for the plot of land.Whatever the members of the BNB Governing Board decide, it is already clear that they want the bank to have a teller centre built by the end of 2006. The centre will serve the encash payments mainly of companies. BGN310,000 is the amount stipulated by the BNB 2005 budget for preliminary project research and design of the centre. How much the construction and the equipment of the building will cost is still to be seen. Right now it is only certain that a few millions will be spent on this project. As far as the Governor of BNB Ivan Iskrov and his deputy Tsvetan Manchev intend, by the time Bulgaria joins the European Union (EU) the central bank should have a teller centre that meets all European standards. In order to achieve that goal, BNB will have to hire a western consultant for the purposes of the project. His presence will serve as a guarantee that the centre will receive all European quality certificates.The construction of a teller centre does not mean that BNB is going to close the hall in its headquarters where people now exchange their old or outworn money. When the country joins the euro zone (expected to happen no later than the early 2010), BNB will have to offer the Bulgarian people trouble-free exchange of the levs in euro. The place where the teller centre will be built is quite distant from downtown and there is no convenient transportation that people can use to reach it. Therefore, the hall in the BNB headquarters will remain open for customers for years.

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