Bulgarian Development Bank (BDB) is a financial institution 99.9%-owned by the Bulgarian state. It is the successor of Encouragement Bank established in 1999. Its focus is to support small and medium-sized enterprises. BDB is among the top four Bulgarian banks in terms of credit rating, rated "BBB-" with positive perspective by Fitch Ratings. It is the only Bulgarian bank to provide financing via other credit institutions as well as direct financing. BDB is the best-positioned local bank to raise funds from international partners. Its subsidiary, the National Guarantee Fund, issues guarantees for bank loans to the non-financial sector.
Bulgarian Development Bank was awarded the highest possible credit rating for a financial institution in Bulgaria - "BBB" with a stable outlook from the international rating agency Fitch.
The rating is based on the reliable support by the sovereign – the Bulgarian State, the good financial performance of the institution, and the role of the BDB in supporting the government's economic policy. The Stable outlook shows the balanced risks associated with the credit rating assessment.
For the first nine months of last year, Bulgarian Development Bank reported a profit of BGN 22.729 million, an increase of 18.6% compared to previous year. Net interest income for the same period is 6.4% higher than in 2016 as a result of the increased loan volume. BDB's total expenses decreased by 5.5% compared to the same period last year and the Bank's assets raised from BGN 1.911 billion at the end of 2016 to BGN 2.197 billion. This includes the financing of the National Program for Energy Efficiency with rehabilitation contracts amounting to BGN 1.507 billion.
The Bank has attracted long-term investment resources amounting to EUR 737 million from foreign financial institutions including the European Investment Bank, the Council of Europe Development Bank, the KFW, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the China Development Bank. In the autumn of 2017 BDB also signed a financing agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China amounting to EUR 50 million to finance the general lending and cross-border economic and trade projects between Bulgaria and China.
The long-term investment rating of the bank is equal to the rating of the State. In early December 2017, Fitch Ratings rated Bulgaria's fiscal policy as conservative and the expectations for economic growth as improved. Factors for the assessment are also the current account surplus, increased competitiveness and diversification of exports, as well as the strengthening of the country's external buffers. Analysts from the international agency note that in 2016 Bulgaria is a net external creditor (8.6% of GDP) and the position is forecasted to strengthen further.