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Bank Helps with Buying in Bulgaria

What are banks doing to actively help their customers in the current credit crunch, when they wish to buy property in Bulgaria? Irini Tzortzoglou, Deputy Manager of Piraeus Bank UK, who offer overseas mortgages for Bulgarian property says, “One of the effects of the recent world-wide financial crisis is we have all come to understand a bit more about how and where banks find the money they lend to their customers", and goes on to say,

"It is clear that despite the drop in UK base rates, it will take some time and possibly another intervention from central banks before we see a significant drop in inter-bank lending rates and increased lending facilities. Until these changes take place, we have found that listening to our customers and trying to accommodate their personal circumstances wherever possible is easier, faster and cheaper while gaining loyalty amongst our customers.”

Despite being stringent with their underwriting criteria (meaning that they have reduced how much and who they lend to) PBUK’s steady and conservative approach has helped them maintain their secure financial position today, even being able to expand their business through bank acquisitions. Alistair Riddle, Credit Manager for PBUK adds, “If we stopped people going into debt they could not really afford to repay, I am personally very glad and we now find that the customers have more confidence and respect for us because of this. Having said that, there is of course a number of customers who qualified for loans which we were very happy to make but who now struggle a little or simply feel insecure. In these instances we try to help as much as we can."

“Where customers, who have kept an impeccable payment record with the bank contact us, we really appreciate this and are more than happy to assist,” continues Alistair.

Andrew Banks, a Piraeus Bank customer says; “Although my personal circumstances have not changed dramatically since I took out my loan, having lower monthly installments on my overseas mortgages is making a difference to my confidence for the next couple of years. I am very pleased with the positive response I got from Piraeus Bank UK”.

Another customer of the Bank, who is a Financial Advisor from Bristol, says; “The one year interest-only period of my repayment mortgage was coming to an end. Because my age does not permit a long term mortgage, the monthly instalments of capital and interest would mean €975 more which would be difficult for me to find. I contacted Piraeus Bank to ask to continue to pay only interest while I might find it difficult to source a few hundred euros more per month. I am very happy and grateful to Piraeus Bank for agreeing to this so I can now take my time to consider my options.”

Alistair Riddle advises, “Requests to change the terms of existing mortgages never fall on deaf ears at Piraeus Bank. We look to be accommodating where possible, but we must ensure that the fundamentals of repayment capacity and sticking within our overall product parameters remain in place. Where, due to a change in circumstances, a customer can no longer meet the existing repayments, we look in depth for possible solutions... we are extremely proud that PBUK has not made a single repossession application to the courts with regards to our Bulgarian mortgage customers.”

So why is PBUK willing to buck the trend and work with its customers?

In a nutshell, Piraeus Bank UK uses traditional banking values such as making sure that from the outset the customer really can afford the proposed mortgage via a robust underwriting process by humans not machines while understanding and believing in the markets it operates in while using plain common-sense in its approach to business and customers alike.