Asen Yagodin: In Postbank, we develop sustainable financing through priority support for green businesses


Mr. Yagodin, what are the results and achievements in corporate banking and capital markets that Postbank can boast?
For us, 2022 was very successful in many ways and I can positively say that it was our most successful year since 2014. Despite the objective difficulties for a major part of the Bulgarian businesses, posed by the decelerated economic growth and inflation, also worsened or created to a large extent by geopolitical factors, the Corporate Banking sector units set a number of new records.
Postbank was yet again among the banks with the highest growth in corporate lending; as it continues to be in the “top three” tier. For the first time, at the end of the year, our corporate lending portfolio exceeded EUR 2.3 billion. In 2022, the newly-granted credits alone amounted to around EUR 650 million, which is the highest volume of new credits to date.
The business volume in the sphere of Transaction Banking and Factoring Services also showed record values. For the tenth year in a row, Postbank’s factoring is a leader in terms of volume in Bulgaria, with around 50% of the market share.
Additionally, the year also proved very successful for the mutual funds distributed by our bank. They are in line with the best global trends and are completely harmonised at the European level, thus ensuring the highest possible transparency and investor protection. They are becoming an increasingly popular personal finance planning option. These and other similar achievements are also evidenced by the fact that during the last eleven years, Postbank has been named without a fail the Top Custodian in the Bulgarian market by the prestigious global media Global Custodian and Global Investor Magazine.

What green business products does Postbank offer?
Transforming the economies from fossil-fuel-based ones to circular and sustainable ones will require large-scale changes in all public sectors, focusing especially on the ecological and social consequences of our actions. Traditionally, the banking sector is engaged with the financing of activities which have been directly or indirectly related to the development of other spheres of the economy, with banks being the key participants in the “green transformation”.
Our strategy now is focused on sustainable financing through priority support for activities with a low or net-zero footprint, including credits for renewable energy sources, as well as for energy efficiency.
We have a large number of solutions for businesses – not only do we offer all standard credit products, but also products that meet the specific requirements of our clients or are consistent with the specific business activities carried out by them. Thus, we have a solution to all possible needs that may arise – buying highly-efficient equipment, buying electric cars, and introducing measures to improve the energy efficiency of the manufacturing premises.
Thus, our Green Loan product offers a streamlined approval process with a competitive structure for financing photovoltaic plants for personal consumption and for the sale of electricity.
I will give an illustrative example – very recently I visited a significant corporate client of ours, which is investing in a solar park in Central Bulgaria. We are financing two of its stages. The installed capacity of this large photovoltaic plant is expected to reach 400 mWp in 2023; when completed, the capacity will exceed 600 mWp. And this is one of many such examples concerning our corporate clients.

What is the bank’s view to risk appetite?
Taking well-measured risks is fundamental to our business and as a responsible institution, we strive to manage emerging opportunities and threats in the most efficient manner possible. By implementing the necessary mechanisms and policies for KYC and against money laundering, we aim to protect the interests of all stakeholders adequately.
Over the years, we have proven ourselves to be one of the leading banks in the market and we continue to do so. However, we don’t just rest on our laurels. We participate in key transactions in different business sectors and our main advantage is our flexibility and the high level of overall service we offer to our clients.

In the beginning, you mentioned business challenges. How do the high-interest rates affect corporate lending?
Indeed, when the interest rates rise the companies are the first to feel that. But this is the current state of the pan-European banking market and we need to take that into consideration. At the same time, Postbank has a large capacity for flexible financing of new projects of our corporate clients, which can mitigate the severity of the temporarily higher interest rates to a certain extent. We strive to process all new funding applications as efficiently as possible through a much simplified internal procedure.