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Chairman of the Board of Rietumu Bank to Dienas Bizness: “We Have Increased Our Activities in Lending”

24-Apr-2019, 14:19 / Products & Services Latvian business paper, Dienas Bizness, has published a review devoted to the situation in the financial area of this country.

The paper gave the floor to the CEO of several leading banks, who talked about the progress achieved and the new strategy, and also mentioned some difficulties still to be overcome by several participants of this sector.

In particular, Chairman of the Board of Rietumu Bank Rolf Fuls said in his comment, ‘In 2018, the Latvian financial market experienced stress caused by the rapid change of ‘the rules of the game’ and a reputational crisis. These were very dramatic events. Their consequences have not yet been overcome completely. We see hotbeds of reputational problems every now and then, we feel tension around several participants of the market. And whereas earlier these issues pertained to local banks, now they are addressed to transnational players present in Latvia.’

He directs attention to the fact that the work in the area of compliance has become much more complicated, its volume has increased, as well as the resources required for its fulfilment. De facto, the functions of analysis and support of transactions of the customers and control over origin of the funds are increasingly more delegated to banks. To fulfil the updated requirements of the regulators and international partners in this field, some participants of the market have to practically organise this work anew. Hence, there is a number of yet unsolved issues.

‘Among the results of the crisis and the subsequent changes caused by it, as we see it today, one should emphasise the customer policy issues at some banks, for example, rejection of a part of their customers, among them being not only foreign companies, but also local ones, which, in the new conditions, require enhanced analysis and support. Primarily, such companies are those that have EU non-residents among their incorporators and partners,’ said Chairman of the Board of Rietumu Bank.

According to his assessment, such a situation can hardly be regarded as good. Some enterprises, which also include leaders in their industries, are forced to look for new banks and new sources of financing. Many of them have become customers of Rietumu Bank.

That being the case, in spite of certain pessimism in the society, the Latvian economy is in quite a good condition, which is confirmed by both macroeconomic objective indicators and assessments of experts. Many large companies finished the year 2018 with excellent results.

Speaking about the strategy of Rietumu Bank, Mr Fuls said that the bank cooperates with many enterprises in Latvia, large and medium ones, and simultaneously develops its activities in other countries of the EU, including the Baltics.

The bank has increased its activities in lending, considers new ambitious projects from different fields, finances the development of residential and commercial real estate, manufacturing, the transport and non-banking lending sector, both in Latvia and beyond. Rietumu Bank also considers projects of startups in the field of fintech and other promising areas, continues developing trade finance, where the bank has been one of the regional leaders for a number of years.

Mr Fuls has emphasised that for the financial sector, it is important to complete and implement the started reforms quickly, and receive the resulting positive assessments from the regulators and partners. He has expressed his hope that in the future both the regulator and the government will apply maximum efforts in order to present and clarify the progress achieved in Latvia to international partners and restore the reputation of the Latvian banking sector – one of the key branches of the national economy.

The full text of the article (in Latvian) can be found here.

Eleonora Gailisha
Mass Media and Public Relations
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E-mail: egailisha@rietumu.lv
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