Krassimir Ivanov, Bathroom Furniture Producer

Krassimir Ivanov, 44, started his own business for importing tiles and bathroom furniture 17 years ago. His company was the first in Bulgaria to import bathroom equipment. Gradually, he started producing his own furniture for bathrooms under the trademark AMIK 94, becoming one of the first manufacturers of these products in the country.

Although Mr. Ivanov employed 15 workers in 1996, it was difficult to find people with the skills and experience necessary to produce these specific types of furniture. That is why he invested in training his personnel right from the start and soon developed a highly qualified team. As the business grew, he also began investing in the production facility and purchasing equipment, which led him to ProCredit Bank: in 2004 he applied for a loan of EUR 15,000 to purchase new equipment. He has long since repaid the loan and now keeps all of his company's accounts at the bank, through which he makes and receives almost all of his payments. He also takes advantage of an overdraft.

"This is the bank with the most appealing face First of all, the staff are young and down-to-earth.In some other banks they create the impression that you are insignificant and that they are this great institution. Doing business at such places is hard. ProCredit Bank is different. Here the people are very open and outgoing."

When the crisis struck in 2008, the company felt the decline in demand, and Mr. Ivanov had to reorganise his business somewhat, shifting the emphasis to exports. He also downsized the staff and rethought his production and sales concept.

The first thing he did was launch a line of higher end products in terms of design and quality. Next, he introduced a new "maximum customer satisfaction" concept into the company's sales approach, which improved turnover. The company currently employs 65 people and is hiring new personnel as sales begin to pick up.

Mr. Ivanov is glad that his bank has supported him through this process.

"ProCredit Bank is my bank because it ‘breathes' with me. I know that whenever I have a business idea or I need funding, I can find support. I have the feeling that I know everyone in the bank and everyone knows me, from my personal client adviser to the cashier to the executive director."