History of banks
Author: ROUSSEV IVAN
Varna’s ‘Zvezda’ Bank, one of the first Bulgarian attempts for a bank to be established, was opened in 1863 by ten of the wealthiest Bulgarians in the town (the brothers Georgievich, Rali h. P. Mavridov, the brothers Hadjiivanov, the brothers Popov et al.) with the original aim of performing currency exchange, granting short-term loans, and accepting saving deposits with a low interest rate, and in the longer run – capital accumulation for taking hold of the grain trade. The company’s capital stock amounted to 3 000 Turkish lira. H. Stamat Siderov was director of the bank, and Konstantin Todorov Arabadzhiev – scribe (bookkeeper). There is lack of evidence about the ‘Zvezda’ Bank after 1864.
The Anonymous Trading Company ‘Rumeli’ in Varna (with agencies in Ruse, Burgas, Balchik and other towns) – it had been planned as a joint-stock company with a capital of 20 000 Turkish lira, formed by 2 000 stocks; it was created in 1868 to perform trading operations and to credit farmers, but it already went bankrupt in the next year, 1869.
The Bulgarian Trading Fraternal Company in Varna. The company’s statute dates back to 1870. Its yearly balance-sheets were being published in the newspapers, all the more that the company had many ‘external’ (out of Varna) shareholders. Variations of the company’s capital: in August 1869 a 10,30% profit was registered; in the second year (August 1869 – August 1870) the company’s capital rose to 27 208 gr.; in the third year (August 1870 – August 1871) the profit was 18,5% and the capital amounted to 34 758 gr.; in the fourth year the profit was 17,91 % and the capital amounted to 44 935 gr.; in the fifth and last year (1873-1874) the profit was 21,88 % and the capital amounted to 52 780 gr. Although it had more ambitious trading objectives at the start, the company limited its activities to money-lending (to merchants, craftsmen, public institutions, including the Bulgarian community and the cultural club in Varna), it couldn’t sell a big part of its stocks (in 1870-1871 only 145 were sold) and after 5 years of attempts to achieve something more significant it finally ceased its existence. The real reason were the insufficient funds as wells as the participation of mostly young and inexperienced merchants who tried their luck rather than showing that they’re capable of a serious and long-term activity.
In the years after the Liberation (1878) the banking in Varna was subject to a significant development. On September 1, 1885 a branch of the Bulgarian National Bank was opened in Varna. At the beginning there were only 4 employees working in it but in 1904 the number of personnel rose to 22. The deposits and the financial indicators of the branch increased, too – in 1904 the bills discounted in it numbered 12 217 on a total value of 7 515 619 lv. Local credit institutions also appeared in Varna: Joint-Stock Company ‘Druzhba’ (1881), Varna Commercial Credit Company (established on January 3, 1888 with a capital stock of 200 000 lv.), ‘Ermis’ Company (1889, 300 000 lv. capital), ‘Trud’ Company (June 15, 1894, 70 000 lv.), ‘Trudilyubie’ Company (January 1, 1895, 400 000 lv.), ‘Zemedelets’ Company (May 11, 1908, 300 000 lv.), ‘Doverie’ Company (December 3, 1910), ‘Progress’ Company (December 18, 1911, 300 000 lv), ‘Zora’ Company (with 500 000 lv. capital, later merged with ‘Progress’). On October 24, 1910 the Popular Banka of Varna was established by 46 local merchants and craftsmen with an opening capital of 19 400 lv. The bank granted credits with a low interest rate for the time (9%) and that allowed it to quickly obtain the confidence of the business circles of Varna. The biggest Bulgarian commercial banks opened up their own branches in the port city: ‘Napredak’ (Advance) and Commercial Bank (with branches in Varna from 1905), Bulgarian General Bank, Import-Export Bank (1906), ‘Girdap’, ‘Ruschushka banka’ (Bank of Ruschuk), ‘Banka Napredak’ (Advance Bank). In 1902 the Agricultural Office in Varna was reorganized as a branch of the Bulgarian Agrarian Bank, which provided financial support for the farmers and the agricultural cooperatives in the region.
 Тонев, В. За стопанската дейност на българите във Варна през Възраждането (1840–1878 г.). – ИНМВ, VIII, 1972, с. 101–131; Русев, И. Прояви на модерна организация и счетоводство в дейността на възрожденските фирми във Варна през XIX в. – Счетоводна политика, 2009, № 9–10, с. 50–64.
 Дряновски, Б. Варна през 1878–1944 г. – История на Варна. Т. III, Изд. „Славена“, Варна /под печат/.
Тонев, В. За стопанската дейност на българите във Варна през Възраждането (1840–1878 г.). – ИНМВ, VIII, 1972, с. 101–131;
Русев, И. Прояви на модерна организация и счетоводство в дейността на възрожденските фирми във Варна през XIX в. – Счетоводна политика, 2009, № 9–10, с. 50–64.
Дряновски, Б. Варна през 1878–1944 г. – История на Варна. Т. III, Изд. „Славена“, Варна /под печат/.