Dear colleagues from the banking sector,

I would like to address my deepest cordial greetings for the Banker’s Day which we traditionally celebrate on the 6th of December.

For a second subsequent year we confront various challenges as we face the responsible task to go through them united as a society in order to cope with them in the most efficient way. The role of the banking sector regarding the stable recovery of the economy from Covid-19 is significant and brings great responsibility. The banks continue providing key support to the households and the business in order to handle the economic situation confronted by the world as well as for the economic recovery and the sustainable growth. The banks more than ever are at their clients’ disposal to discuss their individual needs and to support them in their life endeavours. 

The continuing growth of deposits is a sign for the public confidence in banks, that continued providing funding in the most critical periods in the pandemic. Financial institutions demonstrated timely and adequate reactions and proved themselves as a stable partner for the business and households but also for the state institutions which they successfully cooperate with: that was also evident during the most critical periods of the pandemic. Currently, the banks and their clients look forward to the recovery phase for the economy. 

At the same time, we witness different processes and factors which influence the banking activities and confront them with challenges and needs for seeking solutions. For instance, the negative interest rates – a phenomenon, which has been observed for a long time outside the country and logically did not pass by the country. That period of negative interest rates in the world has not only continued for a long period of time but it is also expected to continue in the future. 

The complex, changing and unpredictable economic environment where the banks operate makes them to demonstrate flexibility and to adapt their activities. The good news is that by adapting to the new reality both the banks and their clients start realizing and accepting the fact that banks’ deposits have also alternatives. The clients are directing towards new instruments for storing money and investments as mutual funds, custodian services and other solutions with the support of bank consultants. Investments in those products increase at a higher rate as there is a serious increase in comparison with the previous year. That indicates that the clients rely on the banks to be their confident partners in managing and storing their money as well as for finding the best individual solutions and approaches responding to the clients’ needs in the dynamic and quickly changing reality. 

Digitalization provides a number of opportunities in the field of banking services and it is one of the main priorities in the banks’ activities. It was initiated far before the pandemic but digitalization was strongly influenced and accelerated by it. Constantly, banks are putting a lot of efforts to offer their clients access to more and more digital services which are logically at lower prices than those offered through the traditional channels. Thus, the clients have possibility to use not only faster and cheaper services but it is not necessary to visit bank branches which saves their time and nowadays contributes to their security in the conditions of continuing pandemic. The bank services become more accessible anywhere in the world at any time and soon with the implementation of instant payments in the country on which banks actively work those services are going to be faster: thus, responding to the needs of the individual clients and businesses. 

Definitely, digitalization is related with the high level of security which the banks provide when offering their services. More than ever the banks invest in their IT security and make efforts to inform their clients and to protect them. In times of crises, fraudsters who try to use extraordinary situations as the Covid-19 pandemic often appear and try to mislead people in order to get access somehow to their money. For that reason, it is of huge importance for banks and citizens to counteract together to those attempts. Banks could continue providing the same level of security only in partnership with their clients. For this reason, banks invest also a lot of efforts to raise awareness and to contribute to increasing the digital culture and financial literacy of their clients.

Banks do not work as typical commercial companies. They are subject to some of the strictest regulations and they also operate with clients’ funds and have their mission in the society. The transition to climate neutral, sustainable, effective and fair economy and sustainability goals are an additional element to the banks’ social responsibilities in performing their activities and it is going to have more serious reflection on it henceforward. Thus, in the current conditions the banks are directly involved with providing better future for us all and for the next generations. 

The banks store not only the money of citizens, but also something equally valuable, although immeasurable in quantitative terms – their trust. In the turbulent times, when the citizens need security, stability and predictability in order to continue planning their daily life and to follow their plans and endeavours the banks proved as their trusted partners and we all, in the banking sector work tirelessly to continue successfully our mission. 

On our professional celebration I would like to wish the whole banking community but also our clients and partners one healthier, more successful and stable for all of us new 2022 year in which we could go through the challenges stronger and more united than ever. 

Happy Banker’s Day!

Diana Miteva
Chairperson of the Executive Board 
of the Association of banks in Bulgaria