Bulgarian Banks Still Keep Clients in the Dark - SurveyBusiness | August 30, 2012, Thursday // 10:04| views
The study, conducted in 68 banks in Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic, was carried out by the international company for research and analysis International Service Check, using the mystery shopper method. Photo by Capital.bg
The majority of banks in Bulgaria still fail to provide sufficient information to customers despite a considerable improvement in service quality since the country's EU entry in 2007, an international survey shows.
The study, conducted in 68 banks in Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic, was carried out by the international company for research and analysis International Service Check, using the mystery shopper method.
Despite shortcomings bank services have improved compared to 2007, most visibly in Bulgaria, the analysts said. Nevertheless the country as a whole has been unflatteringly ranked fourth out of five countries included in the study.
In Bulgaria, Societe Generale Expressbank received the highest evaluation after scoring 93%, followed by Allianz Bank (88.7%) and Piraeus Bank (87.9%).
The checks covered four areas - corporate banking, consumer finance, opportunities for pension/long term investment plan and the so-called mobile banking.
Bulgaria's parliament adopted last year amendments, obliging banks to inform customers of any significant movements in interest rates on their accounts or expenses if they are in credit.
The amendments to the Law on Credit Institutions aimed to improve the protection of customers' rights and tighten the control over banking groups and financial holdings, which operate in several EU member states.
Until that moment banks relied largely on people seeing adverts in newspapers or visiting their branches to find about interest rate cuts or rises.
Some of the biggest lenders in Bulgaria are managed by Italy's UniCredit, Greece's National Bank of Greece, Hungary's OTP and Austria's Raiffeisen.
Other Greek banks present in Bulgaria include EFG Eurobank, Piraeus, Emporiki and Alpha Bank.
Experts have warned that Bulgaria risks seeing its banks sucked under by the fiscal sins of neighboring Greece.
Bulgaria's central bank however persistently tried to assuage fears over funds outflow from Greek bank subsidiaries in the country to headquarters in Greece, saying this is part of the free movement of capital.
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