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Baltic International Bank embarks on developing new internet banking facility while implementing new technological solutions

Some of the biggest challenges financial service companies face today are a shift towards modern digital opportunities and implementation of relevant solutions. Committed to providing greater convenience for the users, Baltic International Bank (Bank) has embarked on launching an improved version of its internet banking facility. The users will benefit from functionality and security enhancements and a broader array of services. The upgraded internet banking will represent a platform for launching new products and services in the future. Bank is developing the new digital infrastructure solution in liaison with ETRONIKA the leading fintech company in the Baltic States. Bank is planning to invest around one million euros in improving the internet banking facility. Bank has already finished the first phase of the project. In June 2019, Bank will give its customers access to test the features of the first version. At the end of summer, Bank will be gradually rolling out the new internet-banking version to all customers. The transition will run until October 2019. In October, Bank will make the new facility available to all customers. Highly competitive environment in the financial sector spurs us to respond quickly to situations, be innovative and take a strategic approach to decision-making. We therefore continuously develop digital channels and invest in our infrastructure. This is vital to ensure convenient and qualitative services for our customers. New technological solutions are conducive to increasing the value of the services offered by Bank. We will launch the internet banking through combined efforts of the sector professionals and after having explored usage patterns of our customers. The internet banking will enable the customers to obtain only useful and really necessary information, save time and plan finances better and make their investments and other financial deals in a timely manner while being 100-percent sure about safety and security of their data and money.Guntars Reidzāns, Member of the Management Board at Baltic International Bank   The envisaged improvements will also foster preparation of financial statements and execution of transactions in an easy and convenient way that in turn will enhance customer service experience. Bank will also make changes in the internet banking design. As Bank keeps up with and stays on top of emerging technology trends, it specifically focuses on a responsive design created to fit better various digital devices used by the customers. Thus, every user will be able to personalize the main screen by selecting the most current information and to adjust the background of the internet bank according to individual preferences. We place customer convenience and security at the heart of everything we do. A unified dashboard showing the accounts and products, a convenient internet banking navigation, and an improved OneSpan mobile Digipass solution that will allow authenticate the cardholder and authorise transactions by employing push notification to mobile phone will improve user’s experience overall. Bank is also improving already implemented AML system’s settings. In an effort to heighten Bank’s safety and security and maximise customer convenience, Bank will enable its customers to complete MiFID questionnaires and Know Your Customer (KYC) questionnaires in the Internet-banking environment (customer profile section).Jānis Osis, Head of the Digital Channels Development at Baltic International Bank   ETRONIKA, a Lithuania-based fintech company having almost 20 years of experience in the Baltic financial services sector, is the project’s developer. The company developed and offered innovative digital solutions with an emphasis on security and customer convenience. Regular improvements are very necessary. Developments and opportunities in digital environment come along with new threats. In highly regulated industries, we must also take into consideration ever-changing regulations and legislative updates. By improving digital interaction, we will make the internet banking platform more efficient and more user-friendly. As a result, both Bank and its customers will enjoy new opportunities.Arnoldas Jankūnas, the Chief Executive Officer at „ETRONIKA”   Innovative solutions designed specifically for payment processing will substantially boost the internet banking usage experience and will reduce the amount of time required for carrying out the activities involved. The new internet banking will enable the customers to ensure a multilevel signing of payments and a multilevel approval of applications. Bank has implemented instant payments, and customers can select them from the list of the beneficiaries. To process several payments in a quick and convenient manner, Bank has implemented batch processing functionality (or import of bulk payments) and export related to the generation of account statements, simultaneous approval of several payments, and a smart payment form that adapts itself depending on the customer-posted information. Even better communication with Bank, as provided by private banker, is available for the customers within just a ‘clickable distance’. The development of the new internet banking is only a part of the innovations that are underway. In the near future, Bank will roll out solutions such as instant payments, open banking (a platform-based business approach), investments and investment products available on the investment menu, and other solutions designed to enhance customer service experience.   About ETRONIKA ETRONIKA is award winning Nordic FinTech company, offering digital platforms for finance and retail sectors, digital and mobile signature, mobile payments, digital services for point-of-sales terminals and other services. Company is based in Vilnius, Lithuania and is a part of NRD Companies. NRD Companies – a global information technology and consulting group of companies specialized in governance and economic digital infrastructure development. NRD Companies are controlled by INVL Technology UTIB – NASDAQ Vilnius listed closed-end investment in IT Businesses Company. INVL Technology managed companies operate as a cluster and implement joint projects in more than 50 countries worldwide. BANKTRON is award winning smart e-channels platform which enables financial institutions to deliver seamlessly financial services across various devices.

Baltic International Bank has been Admitted to the Gold Level of the White List Maintained by the SRS and the MF

The Ministry of Finance (MF) and the State Revenue Service (SRS) have admitted Baltic International Bank to the Gold Level of the In-depth Cooperation Programme (Padziļinātās sadarbības programma) or so-called SRS White List, thereby acknowledging the transparency of operations as well as tax compliance discipline. The In-depth Cooperation Programme of the State Revenue Service has been improved this year to promote a closer and more efficient cooperation with responsible taxpayers. ‘Baltic International Bank is committed to responsible and transparent business conduct. In our work, we rely on the ESG (Environmental. Social. Governance) approach, where Governance (corporate management) is one of the main blocks. Baltic International Bank pays special attention to the principles of corporate governance, ensuring compliance with Latvian and international legal norms and timely payment of national taxes. Therefore, we welcome the Gold status granted by the MF and the SRS, which was awarded by evaluating the Bank's economic performance, the amount of taxes paid and a number of other criteria’, says Alon Nodelman, Member of the Management Board and Chief Financial Officer of Baltic International Bank. The sustainability and corporate responsibility of Baltic International Bank is evidenced by the gold award from the Sustainability Index received by the Bank for the second year in a row. The information published by the SRS shows that the In-depth Cooperation Programme or the White List is designed to promote a closer and more efficient cooperation with responsible taxpayers. Since 1 January 2019, participants of the In-depth Cooperation Programme are admitted to one of three levels: Gold, Silver and Bronze, depending on the volume of business. All companies are assessed on the basis of 15 key criteria to qualify for participation in the programme. Additional criteria apply to grouping, and they are different for each level. The Gold level currently comprises 79 companies. More information on the SRS website, in the section Padziļinātās sadarbības programma (In-depth Cooperation Programme).

Information for the clients of Baltic International Bank representative office in United Kingdom

This is to inform you that our United Kingdom-based representative office discontinued operating on 29 January 2019. Baltic International Bank customers wish to receive most suitable, convenient, qualitative and easily accessible banking services. Moreover, this is becoming increasingly important for them. Keeping track of customer behavioral change and developing remote digital solutions, we have created the conditions that enable us to deliver professional and customer-centric service. Thus, we have minimised the need to visit Bank’s representative office in person. Baltic International Bank offers a convenient opportunity to remotely obtain information and make your financial transactions by using Internet Banking as well as by giving orders to your personal banker over the telephone or via email. Your private bankers are always ready to help you to get your financial matters in good order. We’ll be glad to meet you at our head office in Riga and our representative office in Kyiv.

Expertise today, services tomorrow - Guntars Reidzāns

Expert opinion: Guntars Reidzāns, Member of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank In business as well as in the labour market there are more and more people who know their way around modern technologies since childhood. Remote access to services with the help of technology makes their work easier and saves time. People increasingly travel both for business and private affairs, and many people constantly live outside the city; therefore, convenient and accessible management of business and personal finances is becoming increasingly relevant.     There is no doubt that these trends will become even more pronounced in the nearest future. According to forecasts, in 2025, about 75% of the working-age population will be the so-called ‘millennials’ born at the end of the last century. The key trait of this generation is the need to receive information and services immediately regardless of time and place. Representatives of this generation also expect immediate feedback, so remote service is an integral part of their daily life. However, not only this generation continuously studies and uses modern technologies using the Internet and actively communicates via computers and smartphones. The results of the research performed by Kantar TNS Latvia Digital this spring show that, on average, 70% or 1.1 mln residents of Latvia aged 15-74 use smartphones which implies high availability and use of technology in different age groups of the Latvian society. According to the results of the ‘Baltic International Bank Latvian Barometer’ survey, today, work of 69% of employed respondents is related to the use of technologies. The largest share of such people (85%) falls on the age group from 35 to 44, i.e. people who have already built their careers. The willingness of people to learn new technologies in their workplace is also very high – 68% of respondents would like to do that. In accordance with these trends, the banking sector in Latvia is constantly expanding the range of services, adding the remote services, which do not require visiting bank branches. In developing new solutions, the banking sector takes into account not only new technological options and customer wishes but also changes in customer habits when receiving services. The demand for such services has been also observed in the global financial market where, for instance, robo-advisory or automatic algorithm-based digital platforms for various financial solutions are very popular. Financial institutions keep up with the times and create modern, convenient and transparent internet banking, develop mobile bank solutions and digital communication channels, allow customers to remotely monitor the deposit portfolio status, convert currency, etc., while providing secure remote identification. This allows customers to open accounts remotely and receive expert advice, including consultations during which confidential information is analysed. However, new technologies do not imply abandoning face-to-face relationship between customers and service providers. They can rather help increase the value of the services offered. This is especially important for banks, including Baltic International Bank, in the business models of which individual customer service plays an important role. That is why we intensively adapt our products to the digital environment and introduce new technologies and communication channels, such as audio and video consultations using such applications as Skype which allows getting the required information or advice at the right time and place simultaneously maintaining the necessary direct contact with a specialist. It is predicted that as the capital market develops in Latvia, the volume of investments in various financial instruments will grow. For instance, in the Scandinavian countries, investments are currently being made by approximately ¾ of bank customers, while in Latvia this proportion is exactly the opposite. However, it can be said with confidence that only with a significant increase in the understanding of the capital market in Latvia will the people be ready to invest personal funds in complex instruments more actively. This will respectively increase the need for banking specialist consultations and technical solutions such as the aforementioned remote consultations. In fact, we are talking about a significant change in the habits of the population not only in the field of investment but also in the financial sector as a whole, and impressive changes are expected in the future. The Latvian Barometer, for instance, has measured the attitude of the Latvian population on one important issue – the option of being given advice by artificial intelligence. Currently, 78% of respondents in Latvia prefer that a decision is made by a human financial advisor rather than by software – this is the current reality that needs to be taken into account. But reality is changing before our eyes, and in order to maintain and develop competitiveness, the banking industry must keep this in mind in its daily work and decision-making. There are few cases in history when discoveries and radical innovations were lapped up. It takes time for people to realise that new technologies help save time and simplify service. In addition, each customer’s problem with which he or she turns for expert advice is special and very individual; therefore, customers prefer communicating with a human being to receiving a standard reply via digital channels. That is why, strategically thought out and balanced decisions in the field of personal finance are of paramount importance. At the moment, the bank is the main expert in financial innovations for customers, and they know that it has the experience and knowledge to help them make the right decisions quickly. In this regard, financial institutions should at least sometimes provide expertise to today's customers as well as actively work on the services that tomorrow's customers will need. Nowadays, universal banks motivate their customers to receive advice mainly remotely or automatically. Similar opportunities are also offered by financial institutions focused on individual financial services but customers are still at liberty to either contact their private bankers through digital solutions or get advice on the spot. Banks will retain personalised services and customer-friendly solutions while modern technological solutions will make them more accessible in the digital environment, maintaining impeccable quality and improved delivery speed.  

Viktors Bolbats: the Latvian banking business undergoes vast, actually unveiling and promising transformations

The year 2018 marked the momentous changes for the Latvian banking sector, specifically in the service of local customers. In Latvia, banks have intensified their efforts to acquire new customers from the member countries of the EU and the EEA. To entice clientele, the banks offer them asset management services with good prospects for growth ahead. However, standard banking services are becoming increasingly important. To offer those services, the banks develop and use new channels for reaching their target customers. The deposit structure has undergone drastic changes. Domestic deposits and deposits held by EU-based customers account for 90% of the sector-wide deposits. For a number of financial professionals, including the key management personnel of Baltic International Bank, the need for the changes became obvious many years ago. Some of the banks decided not to delay in implementing the changes. After having gone through a very tough transition period, just those banks will be among the first ones who will feel the positive impact of the reforms, according to projections. For instance, the shareholders and the Supervisory Board of Baltic International Bank made a whole series of relevant decisions already in 2016. A consistent implementation of those decisions changed Bank’s priorities, business pattern and orientations for the future. We adopted our new strategy at that point in time. We continue to adhere strictly to the strategy. Thereafter, the Supervisory Board, the Management Board and the key management personnel underwent a major reshuffling. To succeed in implementing the new strategy, we hired professionals whose experience enables Bank to diversify its services and broaden service offerings. Many Latvian banks decided to switch over to new business model. Along with the provision of services to international customers, the banks largely focus on individuals and small and mid-range businesses in Latvia. We combine those services with private banking, which involves providing personalised services to our customers, while using a wealth of experience gained. In Latvia, we are implementing a model already successfully used in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other European countries. It is clear that banks cannot provide private banking services on a mass scale. However, the situation has changed and now we are offering banking services to a wider range of clientele. There is now much greater awareness of investment products and benefits of investing amongst the public. The growing awareness fosters the implementation of the model. The markets wherein Latvian banks operate also are at the centre of the changes. For instance, we intend to maintain our presence in the traditional foreign markets such as EU Member States, as well as the United Kingdom and Ukraine. We have our representative office in London (UK) and Kyiv (Ukraine). I would like to emphasise that plenty of Latvian enterprises currently see development opportunities in Ukraine. Those enterprises actively establish or expand their businesses in Ukraine. World-renowned brands use their Latvia-based representative offices in order to launch their businesses in Ukraine. Bank is well able to help businesspeople by offering its knowledge, experience and contact points. I have already previously mentioned that all banks, which share similar business principles and understanding of transactions, currently view Latvia, other Baltic States and EU/EEA countries as priority markets. Regardless of a quite severe competition, it is still possible to find a vacant niche in the market. Latvia-based small and mid-range businesses represent an unoccupied niche. Previously, large banks have not always showed their interest towards those businesses. To work with the new customers successfully, it is essential to offer them services they really need (for example, we have embarked on issuing corporate bonds) and to ensure that the rates and fees are made accessible to a broad clientele. Businesspeople reap the benefits of competition among banks, especially in Latvia. The year 2018 has not been an easy one in many ways. The volume of foreign deposits shrank from EUR 9 billion to nearly EUR 3.2 billion. In these challenging circumstances, every single bank needs to find new ways of working. The Finance Latvia Association’s accomplishments prove conducive to the transformation and change management. As a Co-chair of the Strategic Development Committee of the Finance Latvia Association, I attach paramount importance to the opportunity to be a negotiating partner of the Cabinet, the Ministry of Finance and the Financial and Capital Market Commission during the transformation process. I also highly appreciate the opportunity to delve into the details of the decisions and solutions and hence plan further activity of the banking sector. The changeover period has been too short. We therefore cannot right now judge in broader terms about the profitability of each new business model. I agree with the viewpoints that have emerged regarding the results of the changes: we will get the clear picture after 2 to 3 years. Currently, we may conclude that the direction is right, the changes are quite drastic and deep, the events are reasonably encouraging, and we hope that the sector will be able to respond successively to the new challenges.

In 3Q 2018 Baltic International Bank continues to grow in key business areas

In 3Q 2018, Baltic International Bank succeeded to attain the highest level of performance compared to the figures posted for the first two quarters, regardless of that the 2018 continues to be a challenging year for the Bank and for the entire banking sector in Latvia. The total amount of client funds held with Bank rose by 12% to reach EUR 507 million (Annex 1).  The fact increases the senior management’s confidence that the Bank has set the right strategic direction as the strategy centres around delivering personalised client service with a strong focus on socially responsible, sustainable investing. The strategy also provides for boosting the volumes associated with custody services for securities and brokerage services. Those volumes have been growing dynamically since the beginning of the year.Chairperson of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank Viktors Bolbats   The Chairperson of the Bank’s Management Board Viktor Bolbat took up the post of a Co-chair of the Strategic Development Committee of the Finance Latvia Association. As the newly appointed Co-chair, Viktor Bolbat intends to make his own contribution. He is 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.  The operating income totalled EUR 9.36 million (EUR 9.40 million) at the end of 3Q 2018. The Bank’s fee and commission income skyrocketed more than 150% compared to 1Q 2018. The percentage of the net fee and commission income surged up to 52.5% (52.3%) on a year-over-year basis; the then-current income totalled 22.4% (22.4%). The net interest income totalled 20% (19.9%). Administrative expenses reached EUR 11.08 million (EUR 11.11 million). Bank has achieved its target to end 3Q 2018 without incurring operating loss and hence absorb the loss suffered during the first half-year.  As far as the balance sheet is concerned, the Bank still applies the conservatism principle and maintains a high liquidity ratio. The liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) was 194%. The net stable funding ratio (NSFR), which characterizes the availability of a stable funding profile in relation to the composition of assets and off-balance sheet activities, reached 139.07% (138.95%). The Bank’s high-quality liquid assets (assets carrying investment-grade credit rating and balances due from the Bank of Latvia) made up EUR 147.43 million (EUR 147.43 million) or 54% (54%) of the total assets. Investments in government bonds accounted for EUR 17.4 million (EUR 17.4 million) or 6.4% (6.4%) of the total assets. The Bank maintains a well-diversified structure of liquid assets represented by bonds (13%), due from credit institutions (7%), due from the Bank of Latvia (79%), and cash (1%). The Bank issued new exclusive contactless-enabled payment cards. Baltic International Bank also has become the first Latvian bank whose uniquely designed credit cards carry fragments of artworks of the outstanding Latvian artist and scenic designer Ilmārs Blumbergs. The Bank launched an ambitious refurbishment and regeneration of the Old Riga quarter situated between Kalēju Street and Vecpilsētas Square. The Bank allocated nearly EUR 12 million towards the project. The architectural ensemble comprising five intra-quarter buildings will include covered shopping arcades, known as passages or galleries, the Money Museum, and the Bank’s office premises wherein the employees will enjoy modern workplace environment. As the Bank continues to support Latvian literature and its development, it has initiated a project titled “Bibliotēka” (Library) in 3Q 2018. The project aims to educate the public regarding the importance of literature in people’s lives and to tell people about private libraries and collections held in private libraries, as well as emotional and educational attributes of the collections. In cooperation with the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Bank started the preparatory work undertaken to publish a unique book “Coats of Arms in Modern Latvia”. Main financial results: Assets: EUR 272.34 million Assets under management: EUR 77.92 million The value of financial instruments in brokerage service: EUR 199 million Loss: EUR 2.35 million Liquidity ratio: 72.96%   Full financial report for the period ended 30 September 2018  

Audacious changes: that’s what I call progress - Viktor Bolbat

“Revolutionary changes always inherently accompany the evolution of life. The evolution of banking, to be more specific.  Indeed, the industry is undergoing sweeping changes. Yet, they look more like a reform. We are not breaking anything to stick to the rules of the revolutionary genre. Rather, we are building”, the Chairperson of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank Viktor Bolbat said in his interview to the magazine «Открытый город» (Open City).    “I do not see any reason to worry or fear. Responsibility. That is what I really see. Responsibility towards our customers, employees, shareholders, and the country. Audacious changes: that’s what I call progress”.   Read full interview (RU)  

Baltic International Bank enhances its expertise in combating financial crimes

Baltic International Bank invests in boosting professionalism of the employees and enhancing their expertise in combating financial crimes in accordance with international standards. Anda Saukāne, a member of the Management Board and the Head of the Security Unit of Baltic International Bank, has received the prestigious Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) credential. The CAMS certification is the gold standard in AML examinations. The CAMS credential is the most respected and coveted certification for AML professionals in the industry. Financial institutions, governments and regulatory authorities all over the world recognize and perceive it as a serious commitment to safeguard the financial system from the abuses of financial crime, including money laundering and other illicit activity.  Anda Saukāne, Member of the Management Board of Baltic International Bank  "To foster Bank’s compliance with the highest standards of AML, we have already carried out extensive measures, including the reinforcement of Bank’s internal control system. Bank’s employees involved in implementing the Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Customer`s Partner (KYCP) principles have undergone the in-depth AML/CFT training. Bank has amended its AML/CFT policies and procedures to ensure that they are compliant with the regulatory requirements. CAMS credential is the next step to achieving Bank’s goal, namely, to strengthen Bank’s adherence to international standards and enhance Bank’s transparency."  "The CAMS certification is indicative of that Bank’s team comprises seasoned professionals who are constantly keeping track of the developments in the industry. In the financial services industry, the senior management’s willingness to extend the frontiers of their knowledge is also part of the good governance framework. The terrorism and drug trafficking represent the starkest threat that the society faces. Therefore, the representatives of the financial community carry a great responsibility. The first task is to implement effective control mechanisms and systems aimed at preventing suspicious transactions in a timely manner. The second task is to improve the culture of risk management and risk management tools," Anda Saukāne says. She emphasises that Baltic International Bank actively embarked on those measures in 2016 while implementing Bank’s new strategy. Anda Saukāne has been working for Baltic International Bank since 2012. She performed the duties of a tax policy adviser. She took up the position of the Head of the Information Department in 2013 and the position of the Head of the Security Unit in March 2017.

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.

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