THREE BANKER OF THE YEAR AWARDS HANDED IN 2002
THE BANKER WEEKLY DELIVERS BANK MANAGEMENT ANNUAL AWARDS FOR THE NINTH CONSECUTIVE YEAROn the eve of the Banker's Day (December 6) the BANKER weekly newspaper honoured the most successful bankers in 2002 for the ninth consecutive year. The year 2002 was marked by the growing competition on the Bulgarian financial market. Unlike previous years, when it was comperatively easy to honour a few Bulgarian banks, there were many more successfully operating credit institutions in 2002. That's why it is more difficult for the BANKER weekly to make a choice among their managers, said Bistra Georgieva, editor-in-chief of the BANKER weekly, in her speech. Because this is an award that is not handed to a bank on the basis of impartial figures, but on the basis of personalities. This kind of choice cannot depend on simple arithmetic. It depends on many factors and mostly on the skills, talant, and responsibility demonstrated by the people who run these institutions.In the banking system there is a woman whose professional biography is a kind of an emblem for the modern Bulgarian banker. In about a month she will be celebrating her ten-year professional career in one particular bank. Moreover, it is a bank which many people consider standard of stability in the crediting sector.This lady took part in the establishment of the bank, she was faithful to its management and contributed significantly to its market position. She helped the bank survive the financial crisis and lived through two changes of its owners. Nevertheless, she was always on the level appropriate for a bank manager.Her efforts helped the bank which she manages along with other people to end the restructuring of its branch network and to intrpoduce a united information system.Those who have worked with her know that she is famous for her honesty and persistence. In 2002, the bank that she is running increased the amount of its assets by 12 per cent. For balance-sheet amounting to BGN1.6BN, it means a BGN200MN growth. However, assets are not the only indicator. The banker's professional skills and knowledge of the market laid in the basis of a considerably large and efficient credit expansion. The total amount of credits launched by her bank grew by over 96% compared to Septemer 2001. Moreover, the bank kept its good credit portfolio unchanged. Since in 2002 crediting became one of the few activities that brought profit to the financial institutions, the bank's profit logically grew up by 29 per cent. This is an amount of some BGN22MN which helped the bank rank among the leaders in the Bulgarian financial and credit system.Estimating the professional qualities of the bank managers, the BANKER weekly also took into account a number of other factors and indicators. The result is unambiguous.Therefore the BANKER weekly awarded Ms Radka Toncheva, Executive Director of UBB, with the prize Banker of the Year 2002 for most efficient management of a bank.Every Bulgarian, finding it difficult to save money either for his small business or for his everyday living, is suspicious and jealous of the people whom he entrusts his money. One banker, however, though being a foreigner, managed to win the confidence of the Bulgarians. He has been working in the banking sector for more than thirty years. His professional career made him familiar with a great number of different cultures. He will be remembered with the best in Poland, England, France, Morocco, the South African Republic, Pakistan and Indonesia. Three years ago he chose Bulgaria. Presently this man manages about BGN500MN of our country's money and succeeded in making his bank one of the most attractive institutions on the market. He won positions in one of the most delicate spheres - the consumer and home credits' market. Under his management in 2002 the bank has doubled these credits' total amount - from BGN43MN to nearly BGN90MN and is now perhaps the only one credit institution in Bulgaria which offers unguaranteed credits to individuals. As a result of this foreign manager's professionalism, the bank's profit at end-September, 2002, reached BGN11.2MN and the return on equity exceeded 39 per cent.The BANKER weekly named Sandy Gillio, Chairman of the Management Board of SG Expressbank, Bank Manager of 2002 for gaining the customers' confidence.More than two thousand years ago, far from Rome, in the woods of the Alps Mountains, the great Julius Caesar had exclaimed: It's better to be first in the country, than second in Rome!. This sentence has turned out into the credo of many ambitious men. In the banking sector, however, ambition is always tied up with the ability to measure risks. One manager suceeded in combining his professional ambition for major extension of his bank's market positions with the risk to do this in a very complicated economic environment. In the name of his ambition he even supressed his hot Southern temper. The people who have been working (or are still working) with him say that his sports spirit and mathematical systematism are proverbial. These qualities can be attributed to the fact that for years he has been connected with the professional sport and his management decisions are regulated by the iron logic of numbers. And exactly the numbers show that in the passing 2002 the credit institution he is managing has made a major breakthorugh on the Bulgarian market. Its assets have jumped by more than 23% and its credit portfolio - by over 65 per cent. This bank turned into one of the major players on the market of consumer and home credits and in comparison with September, 2001, its profit has skyrocketed by more than 281 per cent.In regard to all that's been said above, the BANKER weekly awarded Panagiotis Varelas, Chairman of the Management Board of Bulgarian Post Bank, with the prize Banker of the Year 2002 for manager of the most dynamically growing bank.