November 23, 2018



Sofia, 23 November 2018 - Germany-based Varengold Bank launched its Bulgarian operations by inaugurating the Sofia Branch on November 22, 2018.

The decision to expand to Bulgaria is a result of perfect matches between Varengold’s objective to boost smart and innovative financial solutions, Bulgaria’s economic potential, and the synergy-rich environment of Sofia, which aspires to become known for state-of-the-art-technology development.

“The key for moving on to the next generation of banking is combining the regulatory competences and financial strengths of banks with the speed and customer-centricity of fintechs. We have shaped our core-strategy and set the course accordingly. We are very satisfied with the first partnerships we’ve made in Bulgaria and are convinced that they have to be viewed as an initial step in expanding our business to South East Europe”, said Frank Otten, member of Varengold Bank’s Board and experienced in setting up business branches in up-and-coming economies.

Given Bulgaria’s GDP growth of 3.6 percent in 2017 and its success in hosting and endowing tech-companies, the Sofia Branch will serve as a hub from which Varengold will operate across the entire South East Europe (SEE) region. “There are a lot of promising projects in the pipeline and we’d like to enable their execution”, Otten added.

Focus of operations is the field of Marketplace Banking, which includes a wide range of fintech solutions, predominantly peer-2-peer lending platforms. “Lending platforms are revolutionising financial behaviour and will step-by-step replace the traditional ways by providing significantly more favourable terms and conditions to borrowers, by improving the access to capital for consumers and companies, and by making fundraising more affordable. It’s a paradigm shift and it’s actually fun to take an active part in it”, explained Sergey Panteleev, General Manager of Varengold’s Sofia Branch.

In 2017, a volume of around EUR 3.8 billion was placed with borrowers through lending marketplaces in Europe. This volume is expected to triple by 2022 due to a deeper penetration of new technologies as well as the adoption of new regulations such as PSD2, which makes it easier for marketplaces to fulfil customers’ needs for convenience and data-driven security.

“Digitisation is changing our society in every single aspect and the financial sector will be shaken up as well, of course. Varengold - as a young but fully licensed bank - is both agile and modern, which makes it the native partner for fintechs in Europe. Over the next two to three years, we will see a much more vivid fintech scene. Not just globally, but also in South East Europe, including Romania and Bulgaria. We will support those pioneers by helping them scale-up their businesses”, added Panteleev, a former manager of Bulgaria’s largest bank with twelve years’ experience in the industry.

Together with the head-office’s Transaction Banking division, Varengold’s Sofia branch will offer attractive financial products for international, trade-oriented companies to help them handle transactions and trade across national borders. “We are ready to support the existing strong yet growing trade flows between Bulgaria and South East Europe on one side, and Western EU countries on the other”, Panteleev finalised his statement.


About Varengold Bank AG

Varengold Bank AG is a German bank founded in 1995, which acquired its full banking licence in 2013. It is headquartered in Hamburg, with additional branches in London and Sofia. Its core business areas are Marketplace Banking and Transaction Banking (Commercial Banking), and it focuses on cooperating with European Fintechs, in particular lending platforms. The product range on offer includes funding, debt and equity capital markets products, fronting services for products subject to banking licence requirements and international payment services. Members of the Board of Managing Directors are Dr. Bernhard Fuhrmann and Frank Otten, who together with a 70-strong international team continuously help to modernise the financial sector. Varengold Bank is registered with the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) under 109 520 and the Varengold share (ISIN: DE0005479307) has been listed on the Open Market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since 2007. For more information, see


About Sergey Panteleev

Sergey Panteleev is the General Manager of Varengold bank AG’s Sofia Branch. His professional career includes leading positions at the largest Bulgarian bank (by assets), where he served as Business Development Manager and Head of the Financial Institutions Group Department in the Corporate, Investment & Private Banking Division. Mr. Panteleev has more than twelve years’ experience in different banking sectors, specializing in corporate and investment banking and structured finance, and addressing key objectives with respect of funding, capital, investments and risk mitigations. He holds a Master’s in Corporate and Investment Banking from Bocconi University in Milano and a Master’s in International Economics Relations from the University for National and World Economy in Sofia.


Contact Varengold Bank AG – Sofia Branch

Sergey Panteleev

43 Christopher Columbus Blvd. (Floor 9)

1592 Sofia, Bulgaria

Phone: +35 9 89 999 2766