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Baltic International Bank launches an ambitious refurbishment and regeneration of the Old Riga quarter

Baltic International Bank has embarked on reconstructing and refurbishing of the Old Riga quarter situated between Kalēju Street and Vecpilsētas Square. Baltic International Bank has allocated nearly EUR 12 million towards the project. The construction contracts have been signed by Bank, architectural firm “Ivara Šļivkas birojs” and contractor “Ramej Construction”. The reconstruction of five intra-quarter buildings is aimed at rejuvenating and regenerating this neglected quarter of the Old Riga. The purpose is to transform it into a public and business space and to establish an architectural ensemble presented as a homogenous and an indivisible whole and built according to the highest modern standards while maximally respecting cultural and historic heritage and construction traditions.  We’re launching a long-term cultural historic and business project of great importance to us as a bank. The city will regain a renovated part of the Old Riga, we’ll create an interesting environment both for our citizens and tourists, we’ll offer the local businesspeople premises for business development, and Bank will enjoy new office premises. Previously, we have reconstructed and restored historic buildings in the Old Riga (Grēcinieku and Kalēju streets). This is the vivid testimony to the fact that we maintain the optimal balance to be able to preserve historic values while succeeding in business.Chairperson of Baltic International Bank Supervisory Board Valeri Belokon   Maxim Rozin owner of “Ramej Construction”, Viktor Bolbat Chairperson of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank, Valeri Belokon Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of Baltic International Bank, Architect Ivars Šļivka, Irina Armanova Project Manager for Real Estate Development of Baltic International Bank   Architect Ivars Šļivka, Viktor Bolbat Chairperson of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank, Valeri Belokon Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of Baltic International Bank, Maxim Rozin owner of “Ramej Construction”   The quarter is located on the territory of the great architectural monument of national cultural importance “Historic Centre of the City of Riga”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site “Historic Centre of Riga” and an archaeological monument of national cultural importance “Archaeological Complex of the Old Riga”. Along the quarter, nearby Kalēju Street, the remains of the ancient city wall from ~1200 year can be seen and will be made accessible to the general public. Taking into account the location of the objects under construction, the project, which is challenging enough, will take 5 years to complete. [gallery link="none" columns="1" size="full" ids="23712,23709,23721"]   The revitalized quarter will comprise two main functional zones. Covered shopping arcades, known as passages or galleries, will be located on the lower 3 floors. The Money Museum will be located on the first floor. Bank’s office premises will be located on the upper floors. The quarter will boast of a high-end restaurant and the atrium (a skylight covered space) which will be used for small exhibitions and concerts. The quarter project has been developed by the architects of the firm „Ivara Šļivkas birojs”. An architect Juris Šūpols has been appointed the construction project manager. The firm “Ramej Construction” will undertake the construction works.

Baltic International Bank’s Work Schedule on 24 September 2018

Latvia’s government declared 24 September 2018 a national public holiday to celebrate an Apostolic Visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to the country. Therefore, 24.09.2018. (Monday) – Baltic International Bank will be closed for visitors; for customers using electronic communication facilities, Bank will operate till 16:00. Please pay due attention to the above mentioned changes and plan your financial transactions in a timely manner.

In 2Q 2018, Baltic International Bank heightens its FPIs across the key areas of operation

In 2Q 2018, Baltic International Bank has increased its financial performance indicators (FPIs) across the priority business directions, such as management of assets and private funds, brokerage services, customer service, and administration of payment cards. Total amount of customers’ funds held with the Bank grew by 5% to reach EUR 452 million. During 2Q 2018, the Bank placed a stronger focus on diversification of its customer portfolio, new customer acquisition (NCA) in the Bank’s all target markets, and further development of wealth management and investment services. By the end of June, the total customer funds reached EUR 452 million, or up 5% compared to the end of 1Q 2018. The assets under management increased by 15% and reached EUR 72.7 million. In 2Q 2018, the volume of financial instruments in brokerage service has also shown a positive dynamics: by the end of June, it reached EUR 145 million, a 10-percent increase from the end of 1Q 2018 and a 20-percent increase from the beginning of 2018.  “During the first six months, the financial sector overall and Baltic International Bank in particular focused on boosting the quality of the customer portfolio. As part of our strategy, we therefore increasingly implemented de-risking measures. At the same time, the Bank was able to raise it FPIs across the key business areas which is indicative of successfully set objective, namely, to manage wealth while being guided by the business strategy underpinned by sustainable investments. The Bank also resumed providing custodian-bank services for the licensed investment firms and embarked on providing bond-issue services in an effort to build up a more robust income structure”, the Chairperson of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank Viktor Bolbat says. By the end of 2Q 2018, the Bank’s operating income totalled EUR 5.59 million. But due to the rapid switch-over to the new business model and de-risking activities, the Bank ended 2Q 2018 with losses totalling EUR 2.33 million. The structure of the Bank’s operating income was heavily dominated by the net fee and commission income totalling EUR 19.3 million. The percentage of the net fee income in 2Q 2018 increased by 54.8% compared to the respective period of the previous year. The net interest income totalled 22.1%. Administrative expenses reached EUR 7.78. The Bank’s high-quality liquid assets (assets carrying investment-grade credit rating and balances due from the Bank of Latvia) totalled EUR 153.63 million or 56% of the total assets. Investments in government bonds totalled EUR 17.4 million or 6.3% of the total assets. The Bank maintains a well-diversified structure of liquid assets represented by bonds (17 percent), due from credit institutions (4 percent), due from the Bank of Latvia (78 percent) and cash (1 percent). The liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) totalled 208 percent. The net stable funding ratio (NSFR), characterizing the availability of a stable funding profile in relation to the composition of assets and off-balance sheet activities, reached 144.63 percent. As of June 30, 2018, the Bank’s own funds totalled EUR 23.59 million. The Bank’s Tier I capital ratio was 9.67 percent. The total SREP ratio (TSCR ratio) reached 13.02 percent. In spring 2018, the Bank's shareholders increased the Bank's capital by EUR 2.1 million. To further reinforce the Bank’s position in Latvia and to expand its activities in other target markets, a number of decisions were made to continue injecting capital. In 2018, for the second consecutive year, Baltic International Bank has received the Gold Award from the annual Sustainability Index in recognition of the Bank’s progress in the sustainable approach towards business, employees and processes. The Bank received also the Family-Friendly Company Status awarded by the Ministry of Welfare of the Republic of Latvia. Key financial indicators: Total amount of the customers’ funds: EUR 452 million Assets: EUR 274.42 million Assets under management: EUR 72.7 million Volume of financial instruments in brokerage service: EUR 145 million Losses: EUR 2.33 million Tier 1 capital ratio: 13.02% Liquidity coverage ratio (at the end of June 2018): 208% Liquidity ratio (in 2Q 2018): 76.80% Full financial report for the period ended 30 June 2018

Baltic International Bank has for the first time in Latvia immortalised the works of the Latvian artist on its payment cards

  Baltic International Bank has issued new, exclusive payment cards having become the first bank in Latvia whose credit cards feature fragments of works by the famous Latvian artist and stage designer Ilmārs Blumbergs.  "When creating new credit cards of Baltic International Bank, it was important for us not only to provide the functionality of modern cards but also to create an exclusive and unique design for them. By selecting I. Blumbergs’ works, we wanted to honour the memory of the great artist and allow his works to continue living not only in exhibition halls but also in everyday life,” says Viktor Bolbat, Chairman of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank.  "Issue of new payment cards of Baltic International Bank with the inspirational design of I. Blumbergs is not accidental – in partnership with the legendary artist during his lifetime a number of I. Blumbergs’ ambitious projects were implemented, i.e. staging of the opera "Aida" at the Latvian National Opera, exhibition, book and film "I Will not Die", the Bank’s commemorative medal showing a Bowing Servant, etc. I am glad that the release of new payment cards with the fragments of I. Blumbergs’ works will allow our clients worldwide to get acquainted with the artistic wealth created in Latvia!", continues V. Bolbat.  Ilmārs Blumbergs' works decorate three exclusive credit cards of Baltic International Bank. Mastercard Platinum and Mastercard Amber cards are decorated with the fragments of works created by I. Blumbergs within the framework of the Venetian cycle, while the most prestigious Mastercard card, i.e. the World Elite card, is decorated with a piece of artwork created within the series of works "Logi/Windows".   Ilmārs Blumbergs (1943-2016) is a world-renowned Latvian artist and stage designer, winner of many Latvian and international awards, the Order of the Three Stars knight. I. Blumbergs is considered to be one of the strongest and most inspirational personalities in the arena of Latvian art, and each of his exhibitions, the appearance and expression of any work in the artistic space is called the event with a capital E.   Explore the world of fascinating and exclusive privileges with Baltic International Bank payment cards!   Private Payment Cards Business Payment Cards

Everything is highly interlinked and this is an opportunity to develop - Ilona Gulchak emphasizes in her interview with Dienas Bizness

„At our banks, we cannot exist in isolation from the country’s economy, investment strategy and capital market development. These various issues are highly interlinked. In my view, it is also an opportunity for the banks to develop”, the Deputy Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of Baltic International Bank Ilona Gulchak emphasizes in her interview with Dienas Bizness (Latvian business daily).    "The banks will surely change their income structures. The banks will continue focusing on the expense side of their business while maximally trimming down the items where their business lines no longer generate as much money as previously. It is quite obvious that the banks will invest hugely in new technologies. All of this could drastically change the environment we’re working in. However, with a smart approach in place, this will deliver tangible benefits to the entire financial system."   Full "Dienas bizness" interview with Ilona Gulchak (in Latvian)  

Viktors Bolbats takes up the post of a Co-chair of the Strategic Development Committee of the Finance Latvia Association

The Chairperson of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank Viktors Bolbats has been appointed as a Co-chair of the Strategic Development Committee of the Finance Latvia Association (formerly known as the Association of Latvian Commercial Banks) with effect from 12 July 2018. „During the past few years, Latvia’s banking sector has had to tackle multiple challenges. The essential factor spurring sustainable development is a well-thought-out growth of every single bank, coupled with a smart strategy to be pursued by the entire financial sector. I firmly believe that it is crucial to build synergy between the big financial-market players and smaller-scale and niche banks which share similar values, are committed to the same business principles, and produce the supporting effect. At the newly-appointed Co-chair, I want to make my own contribution. I’m strongly determined to search for and find effective mechanisms of repairing the reputation of Latvia’s financial sector internationally and of creating a new economic value added for the country,” Viktors Bolbats says.                      The objectives of the Strategic Development Committee are to establish a common vision regarding the development strategy of Latvia’s financial sector and to encourage constructive public discussion concerning the role and the future of the sector. Other Co-chairs who share responsibility with Viktors Bolbats are the Chairperson of the Board of SEB banka Ieva Tetere and Member of the Board of Citadele Bank on strategy issues Vladislavs Mironovs.      

Viktors Bolbats Becomes Chairperson and Guntars Reidzāns Becomes Member of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank

On 21 June, Viktors Bolbats, the former Deputy Chairperson of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank, became the Chairperson of the Bank’s Management Board, and Guntars Reidzāns, the Head of Customer Service, joined the Bank’s Management Board as a member. Viktors Bolbats says, “The Latvian financial sector is currently in a period of change, and the success of any bank is based on a long-term business vision, a high-quality portfolio of clients, willingness to take the necessary risk-reduction measures and, of course, a professional and energetic team. Baltic International Bank adopted and started implementing a new business strategy based on capital management and sustainable investments at the end of 2016.” “A year and a half has passed since the adoption of the strategy, and I am pleased that we have taken important steps towards introducing the new strategy: our customers positively view the Bank’s capital management solutions and sustainable investment opportunities, and we have taken the necessary risk-reduction measures and significantly improved the quality of our customer portfolio. We have also considerably diversified our target markets, which shows in the geography of our customer portfolio: 23% of our customers are from Latvia, more than 45% - from Western European countries. I am certain that the Bank’s team and I as the Chairperson of the Management Board will be able to further expand the activity of Baltic International Bank in our current and target markets, and a significant contribution to this will come from our new member of the Management Board Guntars Reidzāns,” concludes Viktors Bolbats. Viktors Bolbats joined Baltic International Bank in September 2017 as the Advisor to the Chairperson of the Management Board. In November 2017, Bolbats became a member of the Management Board and in early January 2018 he assumed the responsibilities of the Deputy Chairperson of the Management Board. Guntars Reidzāns began working at Baltic International Bank in October 2017 as the Head of Customer Service. Before joining the Bank, Guntars Reidzāns’ worked for Swedbank and GE Money Bank where his responsibility was large corporate customer service in Latvia and Russia. Previously he held executive positions in the private banking sector in Latvia and the Baltics (2011–2017), where he worked with local and international clients. G.Reidzāns has obtained an Executive MBA degree from the Riga Business School and a master’s degree from the University of Latvia. From now on, the Management Board of Baltic International Bank will consist of five members: Viktors Bolbats – Chairperson of the Management Board, Guntars Reidzāns, Alons Nodelmans, Bogdans Andruščenko and Anda Saukāne – members of the Management Board. Viktors Bolbats, Chairperson of the Management Board, and Guntars Reidzāns, member of the Management Board, do not own any voting shares in Baltic International Bank.

The largest fish hatchery in Europe was opened in Piebalga

On June 1st, an aquaculture enterprise “Hibitech Piebalga” based in Ineši (Vecpiebalga municipality) has opened a freshwater fish hatchery. Overall, the fish ponds contain 7 500 cubic meters of water. Thus, this fish hatchery has become Europe’s largest hatchery operating an aquaculture technology! “My belief is that buoyancy of Latvia’s economy is underpinned by the ability to pinpoint specific high-value-added niche products with export potential in the country’s traditional sectors. The project unveiled in Piebalga vividly proves that the following aspects look quite practicable: Latvia’s balanced development, high-paying jobs, and region-based businesses that have real potential to start exporting and to generate taxes both for municipal and government budgets. In Latvia, we have businesspeople coming up with brilliant ideas and we have also money to invest!” a co-owner of “Hibitech Piebalga” Valeri Belokon emphasises.” Every year, the multi-functional fish hatchery is expected to produce circa 1500 tonnes of various species that are in high demand in European market. For comparison: previously, Latvia’s pisciculture farms produced, in the aggregate, nearly 800 tonnes of fish per annum. Over the past two years, the enterprise has conducted a substantial market research, analysed the demand and the price dynamics. The enterprise concluded agreements for exporting 99 percent of its products to European countries, such as Germany, Austria, France, and Switzerland. The fish hatchery will be focussing on premium-grade fishes like the sterlet (a member of the sturgeon family), sheatfish, sturgeon, zander, and others. The amount totalling nearly EUR 3.7 million has been invested in the construction of the new fish farm and fish-farming technologies. In addition to their own investments, the owners have also benefited from EU support under the “Productive Investments in Aquaculture” program funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and Latvia’s Rural Support Service. Specifically under the “Hibitech Piebalga” project, a new pisciculture plant was constructed, territory betterments were made, and different equipment and facilities required to ensure functionality of the re-circulating aquaculture system (RAS) and the smooth production process were purchased and installed. In the future, the enterprise intends also to establish its own feedingstuffs production plant. SIA “Hibitech Piebalga” was registered in 2014. Its share capital totals EUR 702 846. The enterprise is owned by a shareholder of Baltic International Bank Valeri Belokon, Valdis Cīrulis, and Sergejs Tračuks, each of them holding a 33.33-percent stake.

Baltic International Bank will resume providing custodian-bank services

On 22 May 2018, Baltic International Bank, JSC and ABLV Asset Management (a privately owned investment manager) concluded the agreement whereby from now, Baltic International Bank is the custodian of the mutual funds managed by ABLV Asset Management. Under the Investment Firms Act (Ieguldījumu pārvaldes sabiedrību likums) of the Republic of Latvia, ABLV Asset Management uses a custodian bank as an intermediary for conducting transactions involving assets of the mutual funds. So far, JSC ABLV Bank has performed as the custodian bank. After the conclusion of the new agreement, ABLV Asset Management will continue managing the mutual funds. As for Baltic International Bank, it will operate as the custodian bank.  “We possess multiple years of industry experience gained while rendering custody and brokerage services. We are therefore confident that our expertise and professionalism enable us to provide top-quality services to investment firms!” the Deputy Chairperson of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank Viktors Bolbats explains. The two aspects of the aforesaid agreement will enter into force on two distinct dates: the provisions for assets custody take effect on the date on which the agreement is signed; other functions, including the supervisory and monitoring functions, will take effect after the funds’ assets have been fully transferred to the new custodian bank’s (Baltic International Bank) accounts.

Baltic International Bank in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture will publish a unique book “Coats of Arms in Modern Latvia”

Heraldry was invented in medieval times. As hereditary symbols and marks of identification, coats of arms were used in Western Europe and Latvia and date back to the 12th century. Heraldic traditions and the practice of using coats of arms evolved over the centuries. A coat of arms is traditionally unique to an individual family.  Family heraldry is comparatively much less developed in Latvia. In 2005, the Parliament (Saeima) of the Republic of Latvia passed the Coats of Arms Act (Ģerboņu likums). Under the Act, the heraldry authority approves the coats of arms of natural persons in the same manner as that of municipal bodies. Since then, interest towards creating family coats of arms has grown substantially. Valeri Belokon, who is the dedicated patron of literature and a shareholder and the Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of Baltic International Bank, has come up with the idea of publishing this unique book.  Valeri Belokon registered his family coat of arms in 2011. At all times, Latvia could boast of strong people and strong families known for their ability to foresee the future, to be well beyond their time, and to see new opportunities both during periods of Latvia’s prosperity and while witnessing the most complex and whimsical zigzags of the country’s history. I am confident that the families capable of looking through time and of passing down to the next generations their identity, family values and love for their country and its people form the basis of every free and independent nation. The publication of this book will be the perfect gift for Latvia on the eve of the next century! Valeri Belokon   „The public interest in genealogy continues to grow. On the threshold of the centennial of Latvia’s statehood, more and more people are showing an ever-growing and keener interest in genealogy, family history, their roots and symbols. The creation of the family coat of arms is indicative of the willingness to trace your ancestry, learn more about your family roots and strengthen intergenerational bonds.  The process of creating the family coat is quite interesting as it proves conducive to honouring and guarding your family as the greatest treasure, helps reinforce kinship ties across generations, and fosters the continuance of your family into the future,” the Minister for Culture Dace Melbārde emphasises. According to the project, the book “Coats of Arms in Modern Latvia” will be divided into two parts. The introductory section of the first part “Family Coats of Arms” will give the readers an insight and view into the history of family coats of arms used in Latvia from ancient times to the present day. This introduction will be written by the art historian Imants Lancmanis. The central section will include heraldic descriptions of the family coats of arms approved by the State Heraldry Commission (Valsts heraldikas komisija) of the Republic of Latvia. For the first time, the heraldic description will be translated into English by Dr.Hist. Armands Vijups. This part of the book will show heraldic colours used on coats of arms. There are colours and symbols that have traditional meaning in heraldry. This part of the book will also include a glossary of heraldic terms. Coats of arms and their accessories are described in a concise jargon called blazon. This technical description of a coat of arms is the standard that must be adhered to no matter what artistic interpretations may be made in a particular depiction of the arms. The introductory section of the second part “Family and Coat of Arms” will include the text, as written by Dr. Phil. Daina Teters, about the value of coats of arms as objects of semiotic study (semiotics is the study of signs and symbols). The central section will capture photo portraits of the owners of family coats of arms, their stories about how and why they decided to create their coats of arms, and their narrations about their family. The book “Coats of Arms in Modern Latvia” is scheduled to be published by the end of 2019. To make the book available to the general public, it book will be donated to the libraries across Latvia and abroad. In addition, the book will be sold in bookstores, albeit in limited quantities.

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