- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- All Balkan Countries
Most banks still fail to provide sufficient information to clients despite an improvement in service since EU entry in 2007, 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 was still ranked fourth out of the five countries included in the study.
In Bulgaria, Societe Generale Expressbank received the highest evaluation after scoring 93 per cent, followed by Allianz Bank (88.7 per cent) and Piraeus Bank (87.9 per cent).
The checks covered four areas: corporate banking, consumer finance, opportunities for pension/long term investment plans and 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 controls over banking groups and financial holdings that operate in several EU member states.
Until then, 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 crisis in neighbouring Greece.
Bulgaria’s central bank has, however, tried to assuage fears over an outflow of funds from Greek bank subsidiaries in the country to headquarters in Greece, describing such movements as part of the free movement of capital.
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