The Association of Banks in Bulgaria (ABB) is a non-profit organization representing the banks in Republic of Bulgaria. The ABB was established on the 9th of April 1992 and it is one of the first non-profit branch organizations as 47 banks were the initial founders of the Association. Until 2007 the name of the ABB was the Association of Commercial Banks.
The ABB is created and works on the principles of democracy, voluntarism, equality and solidarity in accordance with the local and international legal acts in the field of banking. The ABB is an independent organization from political parties and bodies and takes its decisions independently from state institutions at strict observing the imperative provisions of the legal acts that are in force.
The activities of the Association include all legally acceptable actions, aiming at supporting the ABB members in performing their activities in the field of banking as well as protecting their rights and interests. In realizing those aims the ABB contributes to establishing links, encouraging collaboration and cooperation between the banks, coordinating and harmonizing the interests of its members in performing their activities, protecting the rights and interests of its members before state authorities, public organizations and other legal entities, preparing motivated and well-grounded statements on drafts of legal acts, regulating the banking activities, encouraging the loyal competition between its members and contributing to the improvement of the professional qualifications and level of information of banks’ employees.
Each bank that is licensed by the BNB to perform banking activities in accordance with the legal framework in force can become a member of the ABB. The membership at the ABB is on voluntary basis as currently all banks operating on the territory of the country are members of the Association. Subsidiaries are full members of the Association and branches of foreign banks operating in the country are associate members.
The ABB bodies are the General Assembly and the Executive Board. The ABB General Assembly is its supreme body and it consists of all its members as each bank has the right to point one representative for participation in the General Assembly. The Executive Board is the body that is responsible for the operational management of the Association. It consists of seven members elected by the General Assembly with a mandate of three years. The Secretary General of the Association performs the operational management of the Association and supports the Executive Board in its activities. Six committees regulated by the ABB Statute function as supporting structures at the Executive Board of the ABB – Payment Systems Committee, Legal Committee, Economic Policy Committee, Capital Markets Committee, Information Technologies Committee and Security Committee consisting of bank experts in the respective areas. Several working groups also function at the ABB created by a decision of the Executive Board of the Association and they are namely: Working Group on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, Working Group on Payments with Bank Cards, Consumer Affairs Working Group, Working Group on European Programmes and Other Funding, Working Group on Custodian and Depository Services of Banks, Working Group on the Development of the Cash Circulation, SWIFT Users Group, Temporary Working Group on FATCA Application, Working Group on Communications, Working Group on Information Security, Working Group on Sustainable Finance, Ad hoc Working Group on Euro Adoption.
By virtue of the law or by invitation the ABB representatives participate in other institutions and organizations. There are representatives on behalf of the Association in the management boards, commissions, working groups and other structures outside the ABB. In relation with the requirements set in the legal acts in the field of the deposit guarantee and investors’ compensation, the ABB has representatives in the Deposit Insurance Fund /DIF/ and the Investors Compensation Fund /ICF/. ABB representatives participate in the Commission for Conciliation of Payments Disputes in accordance with the Law on Payment Services and Payment Systems and in the Management Board of the Reserve Collateral Fund set in accordance with Ordinance №3 of the BNB. The ABB also has representatives in the Management Committee of the Guarantee Fund at the Central Depositary AD as well as in the Arbitrage Court at the Central Depository AD. By virtue of a trilateral agreement with the BNB and ACI – BDA, the ABB has representatives in the Steering Committee on the Sofibor, Sofibid and Leonia Reference Rates. In accordance with the requirements set in the Law on Crediting Students and Ph.D. Researchers two ABB representatives participate in the National Council. The Secretary General of the ABB participates except in the Management Board of the Investor Compensation Fund also in the Board of Directors of the Cash Services Company in whose capital currently participate with equal shares the BNB and four other banks.
Since 2007 the ABB has been a full member of the European Banking Federation as the Secretary General of the Association participates in the EBF Executive Committee and the Chairman of the Executive Board of the ABB participates in the EBF Board. Since the middle of 2007 the ABB has been accepted as a member of the European Payments Council (EPC) as the Association has a representative in the EPC Plenary. By a decision of the Executive Board of the ABB the full membership of the Association will be transformed to associate membership as of 2016. Due to its membership in the EBF and the EPC the ABB representatives participate in the Payment Systems Committee, Financial Markets Committee, Legal Committee, Banking Supervision Committee, Consumer Affairs Committee, Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Fraud Committee, Cyber Security Working Group at the EBF as well as in the Scheme Evolution and Maintenance Working Group at the EPC.
For its existence of more than thirty years the ABB succeeded in creating and keeping its reputation of an organization which a correct and highly responsible partner to the state authorities and institutions and other organizations and entities which the ABB actively works with.