FESTIVE SEASON SPOILT BY THE SHORT HOLIDAYS
How will I celebrate the New Year? Not unlike any other weekend. Banks will be open on December 31 till 17.00 hrs. and then we'll have only Saturday and Sunday to rest. So, it's pointless to go anywhere outside Sofia, a head of a credit institution told the BANKER weekly. The short New Year holidays will spoil the festive season for most Bulgarians who manage banks. Of course, we mean those managers who have not gone on leave for the five days between Christmas and New Year. And most of the foreigners from banks' managerial teams will go to their native countries, independent if they work on December 31 or not. The Executive Director of Post Bank Atanasios Petropoulos will close the head office of the credit institution, located in Tsar Boris boulevard in the capital city at 5 p. m. on December 31. From his office he will be driven to the Sofia Airport to fly to Athens. After landing in the Greek capital he will again get onto a car in order to be taken to his native town Pirgos. I'll spend the New Year at home together with my family. I have already ordered my favourite cheesecake and roast meat, said Mr. Petropoulos. His colleague from HVB Bank Biochim Ludvig Wagner went back to Austria for Christmas where together with his wife and daughter opened the presents around a big Xmas tree. The banker, known as a fan of powerful motorcycles, will spend the New Year night in a jazz club in Vienna. His relatives bought covers for the entertainment place back in the beginning of December. It's not worthwhile to go to the country for just two days, less so to go abroad, says the Executive Director of United Bulgarian Bank (UBB) Stiliyan Vutev. He will welcome the New Year at home with his family and some friends. Still before Christmas Mr. Vutev had ordered the usual dish - a roasted pig with special fixings. His colleague Radka Toncheva has also chosen to spend the New Year night at home with her family and friends. I like to entertain guests and I'll have to do much cooking. I sharpened my knives at Christmas. I hope I don't cut my fingers because I'll have much to do in the kitchen before the New Year. However, I'll be short of time this year. As you know the banks will be working till 17.00 hrs. on December 31, although transfers for the day will be made till noon. I don't know yet what I'm going to cook, but it will certainly be something special, Ms. Toncheva told the BANKER. The Executive Director of First Investment Bank (FIB) Maya Georgieva will also spend the New Year night at home. I'll watch TV and I'll try to get a good sleep. I am so rarely at home that I already think domesticity a luxury, Ms. Georgieva said. On January 1 or 2 she may go to her favourite sports complex Slavia to indulge boxing which is her recent passion.I have been training for a month but I avoid sparring matches. I only hit at the training gloves of my coach or the punchbag, FIB's head explained. She is the second financier who trains that sport after the Deputy Finance Minister Lyubomir Datsov, who is a republican champion in youths boxing, but from time to time he takes the boxing gloves from the nail and goes to the gym. Some Bulgarian bank managers planned to merge the Christmas and New Year holidays in a 10-day vacation and spend it with their family in the mountain resorts. On December 23 BNB Governor Ivan Iskrov and his family left for the central bank's rest house in Pamporovo where they will spend the New Year as well. Mr. Iskrov did not know what his wife had ordered for the New Year table, but he said he esteems surprises as much as the quiet spending of holidays. As soon as the started for the mountain resort he switched off his GSM, leaving everything in the hands of BNB Vice Governor Tsvetan Machev, who will be taking care of Mr. Iskrov's current tasks till January 3, 2005. Assen Yagodin, Executive Director of Post Bank, also went on leave for the days between Christmas and New Year. He will spend his holidays at the Augusta hotel in Hisarya with his wife Dessislava, who is a portfolio manager in TBI Assets Management, and with his kids - the twins Konstantin and Yoanna. A roasted pig and good red wine have already been ordered by the Yagodins for the New Year table. They hope the tasteful foods will be accompanied by cheerful atmosphere and good mood. The Executive Director of SG EXPRESSBANK Krassimir Zhilov also merged the Christmas and New Year holidays. Since December 23 he is resting in the Uzana neighbourhood, near Gabrovo, where his family rented a house for the festive season and is spending the holidays with a dozen of friends. Mr. Zhilov has not ordered anything special for the New Year table, but he believes in the good taste of the organizers. The Chairman of Corporate Bank's Supervisory Board Tsvetan Vassilev is an exception among Bulgarian bankers, as he will spend the New Year abroad. On December 22 he left for Japan where his wife is on a specialization course. The daughter Antoaneta who studies in Washington joined on December 24. The three of them had an exotic Chrismas and hope for memorable New Year festive days, accompanied by piquant Japanese cuisine. UBB Executive Director Christos Katsanis has also chosen a remote destination for the festive season. He spent Christmas in Venezuela and he will welcome the New Year as well in the distant country.