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Banks are amongst the most recognizable businesses in terms of media coverage in Bulgaria. In February 2018 alone, news media (both online and print) published over 1,600 articles about the leading 12 financial institutions in the country. The month also saw some significant Social Media activity regarding banks and the various products they offer.
Top Banks in terms of News and Social Media Coverage
The ranking of the most popular Bulgarian banks has a lot in common with the ranking in terms of assets, with the biggest banks tending to be the ones that are mentioned in the biggest number of news articles and social media posts. Thus, the likes of UniCredit Bulbank, DSK Bank, Fibank, Raiffeisenbank, and United Bulgarian Bank rank in the top five in both lists. Fibank and UniCredit Bulbank’s media presence was additionally boosted by the coverage surrounding the acquisition of CEZ Bulgaria by Inercom.
Meanwhile, three banks managed to secure below 100 mentions in February. The coverage of all three of them (ProCredit Bank, TBI Bank, and Allianz Bank) came predominantly from news media, with very little input from social media users.
The main driver of negative sentiment over the analyzed period was the deal involving the sale of one of Bulgaria’s three major electric utility companies - CEZ. Social media users tended to agree that the deal was not good for the country and wanted authorities to look into it and do everything possible to prevent it from happening. Overall negativity towards the acquisition of CEZ also affected the banks that were alleged to be supporting the deal financially. This mainly concerned Fibank and UniCredit Bulbank who were said to have offered large-scale loans to the small local company that desires to acquire CEZ Bulgaria.
Nevertheless, the vast amount of bank mentions in February remained neutral, with forum and Facebook users mainly discussing the various products, and bank cards, in particular, offered by financial institutions. There was a substantial amount of praise of certain banks, expressed mostly on their Facebook walls.
Other Major Stories
United Bulgarian Bank (UBB) finalized the merger with Cibank on 5 February. As a result, the clients of Cibank became clients of UBB, but the terms of their product and services contracts remained unchanged. The merger also means that UBB is now the third largest bank in the country in terms of overall assets (BGN 10.9 billion as of end-2017), overtaking Postbank and Fibank. UBB and Cibank are expected to fully merge their banking processes in the next six months.
Bulgarian snowboarder Alexandra Zhekova received an award from the general sponsor of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee Fibank. Fibank CEO Nedelcho Nedelchev awarded Ms Zhekova with a Swiss-made, designer gold bar for her sixth place in the boardercross at the games in PyongChang. This was Bulgaria’s best performance at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a loan agreement of EUR 30 million with Raiffeisen Leasing Bulgaria to finance projects of small and medium-sized enterprises. The loan will allow Raiffeisen Leasing Bulgaria to better address the needs of SMEs, which represent the backbone of the Bulgarian economy. The EIB sees the agreement as a continuation of the successful cooperation with the Bulgarian subsidiaries of Raiffeisen Bank International going back to 2002. The partners expect the loan agreement to benefit no less than 150 companies in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, transport, and logistics.
Perceptica is a leading Media Analysis provider, part of the global information services company A Data Pro (http://www.aiidatapro.com). Perceptica offers analysis in all European and many world languages on a wide variety of topics, including economics, sociology, telecommunications, health services and consumer goods. From January 2016, Perceptica added Employer Branding to the list of its services.
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Georgi Auad, Director Perceptica
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