Half of Bulgarians Too Cash-Strapped to Save for Rainy Days - Survey

Finance | June 27, 2011, Monday // 12:22|  views

Bulgarians keep over 90% of their savings as bank deposits, which is three times higher than the average for the citizens of other European Union countries. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Over the last five years only 45% of Bulgaria's population disposed of sufficient incomes to be able to put aside regular savings, predominantly small sums of BGN 100 per month, stashed in bank deposits, a survey shows.

Hardly 12% of Bulgarian households have the possibility to save about BGN 300 per month, while 58% of the respondents say they would go for small sums of BGN 100 per month if they could, according to the poll.

The survey was conducted by MKB Unionbank, the 12th largest bank by assets in the country, in cooperation with polling agency "Marketing Solutions", among 10 000 people, randomly selected in 11 cities - Burgas, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Plovdiv, Ruse, Sofia, Stara Zagora, Vratsa, Targovishte Haskovo, Svishtov. The respondents were aged from 25 to 65.

Over half of respondents (59%) posted incomes between BGN 800 and BGN 1,400 per month and said they have higher education.

Meanwhile a recent analysis by Bulgaria's biggest bank UniCredit Bulbank showed an interesting trend – in times of crisis people with larger deposits tend to increase the amounts in the bank accounts, while those with smaller savings have them downloaded. Moreover, it appeared that over two thirds of the money deposited in banks are in the hands of just 5% of the households in the country.

The analysis of household savings since the beginning of the crisis shows that the number of newly opened deposit accounts reached its peak in the last quarter of 2010. Households' savings during this period towered to about BGN 1 B, while banks paid BGN 300 M in interest.

MKB Bank, a subsidiary of Germany's Bayerische Landesbank (BayernLB), bought 60% of Unionbank in May 2006, aiming to make it one of the biggest banks in Bulgaria.

Bulgarians keep over 90% of their savings as bank deposits, which is three times higher than the average for the citizens of other European Union countries, according to a survey of investment company Pioneer Investments, based on data of researches by Cap Gemini and Merrill Lynch.

The remaining 10% of their assets are distributed among pension funds, stocks and other types of financial instruments, the survey says.

Estimates have shown a significant difference in the distribution of savings in Bulgaria and Europe. For comparison, in Europe, people kept below 30% of their money in deposits. About 35% of their investments are in pension and insurance funds and the rest of the savings are directed towards capital markets.

According to the analysis of the company rich people in Europe will increasingly invest in shares - 35% of Europeans' assets are expected to be invested in this financial instrument by the end of the year.

Culturally Bulgarians are very far from the typical Anglo-Saxon high level of indebtedness and are pretty conservative in this respect.

Over the last eighteen months banks have reported  a significant growth of deposits, a fact, which means that Bulgarians think twice before going for credit.

Bankers, who have been preaching modest conservatism since the crisis set in, say this is a good sign because it shows that clients have adopted a prudent approach as well.

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Tags: Bulgarian, Bulgaria, deposits, banks, bank, UniCredit Bulbank, MKB Unionbank, UniCredit Bul, MKB, Union


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