The merger of KBC Bank Bulgaria into United Bulgarian Bank (UBB), both owned by Belgian financial group KBC, was entered into the Commercial Register on April 10. This was the next step in the two banks' integration after KBC Group acquired the Bulgarian operations of Austria's Raiffesen Bank International for over one billion euro in the summer of 2022. The legal merger represents 1-2% of all efforts towards the full integration of operations, noted Petar Andronov, member of the executive committee of KBC Group.
"We will work in four stages," said Peter Roebben, CEO of UBB and country manager of КВС Group for Bulgaria. The first stage, which will mostly affect individuals, will begin in September, and the entire process is expected to be completed by the end of next year. "There will inevitably be problems and disruptions for customers," said Roebben. One of the biggest inconveniences is expected to be the replacement of old bank account numbers with new IBAN-s, which will begin in September. The first stage will begin with the integration of mobile applications.
It will take more time to merge the physical branches. According to Roebben, the bank's branch network will remain "broad", although some optimization may be required. The merging of teams and physical locations will be the final stage of the operational unification of the two banks, which serve a total of over 1.9 million customers.
The biggest player
According to the latest data from the Bulgarian National Bank, the new united bank UBB will be the leader in the country's banking sector in terms of assets. KBC Group, which besides banking services offers insurance, leasing, pension insurance and asset management services, currently serves over 2.4 million customers in total in Bulgaria.
Until the the process of technical integration is finalized, the branch network, corporate website, and digital channels of the former KBC Bank Bulgaria will be marked with a red star next to the UBB logo. Current customers of the two banks are not required to take any action and will continue to be served in the same way as before, adds UBB. "For customers, nothing will change until we notify them that something is changing," Andronov summarized.