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Bulgaria lending boom to stay strong in 2008

Date: 22.12.2007

The crediting boom in Bulgaria will continue strongly next year, with mortgage loans going up by 40-45% and consumer ones by around 30%, a Bulgarian consultancy firm, Credit Centre, forecast.

In the first ten months of 2007, the credit portfolio of Bulgarian banks grew by 37,8%, according to data from the Bulgarian National Bank.

In the months of July and August, credit demand reached levels that previously were recorded only in November and December - the two months that are traditionally the peak of lending activity in the country.

The size of credits drawn this year has also grown, by an average of 67,4%, and the biggest loan that was extended to an individual that sought assistance from Credit Centre reached EUR 355 000.

Credit Centre, along with other firms in the same line of business, have themselves seen an increase in the volume of operations.

If only 5% of all loans were extended with the help of a credit consultancy firm in 2006, that figure reached 20% this year, the company claimed.

The growing diversification of lending instruments available to individual customers has played a role in that development and it is expected to continue next year.

Credit Centre forecast that the number of loans intermediated by itself and its competitors on the loan consultancy market will reach 30% of the total number of credits extended in Bulgaria in 2008.

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