NO FORTUNE CAN BE MADE BY WORKING AT A BANK
BANK CLERKS TAKE BGN600 A MONTHMonthly income of BGN600 seems like good money especially if compared with the overall poverty engulfing Bulgaria. This is the average salary in the banking sector for the period January - end-September, 2002. In September alone the salary reached BGN626 - 2.4 times higher than the average monthly pay for the country. Yet in comparison with 2001 when the bankers were paid BGN715 on the average, this year accounts for a decline by almost 14 per cent.Obviously in 2002 most banks have tightened their wallets as average salary has been cut by BGN115. It's true that the information about October, November and December is yet to be processed and this is the time when most banks give out premiums. But even then their servants will hardly get more money than in 2001.Bulgarian banks are not an exception to the general rule: high-ranking managers are better rewarded than the servants. This is normal especially if the bank is a profit-maker. And in end-September only four of the twenty nine local credit institutions posted losses. Most banks, especially those, ran by foreigners, pay five digit salaries in euro or US dollars to their managers. The banks also provide for a car, petrol and private driver, personal assistant, apartment and insurances. Most credit institutions also pay premiums which are connected with the performance of the annual budget. These budgets are voted in November or December of the previous year and are accounted for a couple of months after the fiscal year is over.About end-September, 2002, the highest payment have received the servants of the Sofia branch of Citibank. The average monthly pay there is BGN4,300 and for the nine months of 2002 it has reached BGN3,500.HVB Bulgaria has paid to its emplyees about BGN2,900 in September and BGN1,836 a month during the rest of the year. The institution is owned by Bank Austria which purchased Biochim Commercial Bank for EUR82.5MN in October. HVB Bulgaria and Biochim are planned to merge by the year-end. Yet it's interesting how their managements will equalize the monthly remunerations. As noted above, the average September salary at HVB Bulgaria exceeded BGN2,900 while at Biochim it was about BGN560. It's curious whether some of Biochim's employees will reach the remuneration of their counterparts at HVB Bulgaria or the process will be just the opposite.At eleven of the twenty nine banks and six branches of foreign credit institutions in Bulgaria the average September salary was been a four-digit figure. The employees of Bulgarian-American Credit Bank received BGN2,500, those at the officies of ING Bank and Ziraat Bankasi - more than BGN2,000 a month. About BGN1,300 was the average monthly pay at BNP Paribas, Demirbank (Bulgaria) and Corporate Bank. The information about the different credit institutions proves that the sale of a bank to a strategic foreign investor does not necessarily mean increase of the monhtly pay. At BULBANK the average size of the salary has not been revised upwards in 2002 in comparison with 2001 when the bank was still not owned by UniCredito Italiano. DSK Bank's managers have also tightened the salary budget waiting for the institution to be sold to a foreign investor. In September the average salary reached BGN504. For the past nine months of the year its size was even lower - BGN403. Moreover, for the period September, 2002 - September 2002 the bank laid off about 400 of its employees. Nevertheless, it still has considerable work power - 5,199 people on pay-roll. So DSK Bank is yet to cut down on its staff and as for the salaries - it all depends on whether the new owner will be happy with bank's financial results.The employeeins of DSK Bank bank are not the only ones with three digit monthly payment. There are private banks which pay even less. The average September salary at the International Bank for Trade and Development e.g. is BGN423 and TEXIMBANK and ProCredit Bank pay no more than BGN400 a month.It's logical in case of good profits such low salaries to become rare, too. Yet the market doesn't offer much opportunities for a boost. So the competition for attraction of qualified professionals will become even more serious. And this will push up the salaries, as well. But it's always possible the official figures to be kept unchanged and part of the remuneration to be paid in some other ways - in the form of consultant services' agreement for instance.