UNICREDITO IS SATISFIED WITH ITS LEADING POSITION IN BULGARIA
Roberto Nicastro, Chairman of BULBANK's Supervisory Board to the Banker weekly
Mr. Nicastro, we are in the eve of the parliamentary elections in Bulgaria. Do you fear that after the elections some changes in the priorities of its economic policies might occur?
- No, I am not concerned with the results of the forthcoming elections. The economy is developing rather well. According to the reports of the international financial institutions we should expect Bulgarian GDP growth to be among the highest in Europe.
The investment climate in your country is improving and I expect this process to keep its pace, as the country has economic and political stability.
Are you satisfied with BULBANK'S results?
- I think that the bank is developing rather well. Its net profit for 2000 amounts to BGL186MN and compared to 1999 it has increased by 83%. Definitely, one of the reasons for this particularly good result is the successful sale of the stakes BULBANK held in other institutions. Yet, even if we disregard this factor, all financial results of the bank have improved. Its assets increased by 15%, clients deposits - by 17%, and its credit portfolio at the end of this year reached BGL316MN. At present the management body is fully absorbed with the implementation of its new development strategy and its restructuring. The organisational structure was completely changed and now it is directed towards meeting customers' needs. The ban has started to implement a sizeable project for the information system upgrading, which will facilitate the fast increase of financial services offered to the customers.
BULBANK management has developed a new organisational structure of its branch network, according to which the country is divided into six districts. We are still working on the analysis of the various types of customers in each region and the opening of new branches where necessary will be subject to Management board decision.
I think that BULBANK indicators for the first quarter of 2001 fully meet our expectations that at the close of the year the financial results will be very good.
When UniCredito bought BULBANK it was announced that the Italian financial group employs various schemes to stimulate the managers and employees at the daughter banks. What scheme do you plan to introduce at BULBANK and when is it coming into force?
- The bank's Management Board has already introduced the Supervisory Board to some suggestions it has in this aspect. In the banks belonging to the UniCredito group the systems for remuneration and stimulation of the employees based on the so called incentive management are widely spread. That means the in defining the total remuneration of a number of employees there is a component, which varies in accordance with the way they fulfill their tasks. I am convinced that BULBANK will also implement this system, even the management has already established a project in that aspect.
Does UniCredito plan to acquire, jointly with BULBANK, a financial institution in countries of the region - Macedonia, Romania or Albania?
- BULBANK's strategic priorities at the moment concentrate in its active participation in the development of Bulgarian economy, which, as I said, is expected to have a considerable growth this year. In the future we might think over whether BULBANK jointly with UniCredito will expand to other countries.