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9 July - Latvian Song and Dance Festival Celebration holiday

Dear Clients! During the first week of July of this year, all of the most beautiful and magnificent Latvian dances will be performed during the XXVI Latvian Song Festival and XVI Dance Festival, and 9 July is proclaimed as a Holiday throughout the country. Therefore, 9.07.2018. - Baltic International Bank will be closed for visitors, remote client service till 13.00. Please pay due attention to the above mentioned changes and plan your financial transactions in a timely manner. Festive holidays!

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.

New version of General Terms and Conditions comes into force

We are informing you that on 1 June this year, the new version of Baltic International Bank General Terms and Conditions, which includes, additional provisions developed under the European Parliament and Council Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR) on the protection of individuals with regard to persons, data processing and the free movement of such data, as well as provisions for ensuring the conclusion of a contract by authorizing Internet banking, shall come into force.  General Terms and Conditions

Baltic International Bank continues to implement its business model geared towards wealth management and investments

In 1Q 2018, Baltic International Bank continued to implement its strategy adopted in autumn 2016 and aimed at socially responsible investing. Throughout the entire 2017 season, Bank carried out substantial de-risking measures. After having analysed the events that unfolded in Latvia’s banking sector during the first three months of 2018, we have put a greater emphasis on de-risking measures and diversification of customers. Bank’s business model is geared towards wealth management and investment services. Bank’s objective is to increase its business volumes within the strategically chosen area while simultaneously continuing further de-risking in accordance with the legislative and regulatory requirements. We are very pleased that our efforts in the priority areas of our business are gradually bearing fruit. In 1Q 2018, the total of customer funds reached EUR 432 million.  By the end of 1Q 2018, the assets under management reached EUR 63.37 million. The volume of financial instruments in brokerage service has also showed a positive dynamics. By the end of 1Q 2018, the volume reached EUR 132.09 million, a 9.4-percent increase from the end of 2017. By the end of 1Q 2018, the operating income totalled EUR 2.58 million. But because of the switch-over to the new business model and de-risking measures, Bank reported a EUR 696 thousand first-quarter loss.  The structure of Bank’s operating income was heavily dominated by the net fee and commission income totalling 46.3 percent. In 1Q 2018, the percentage of the net fee and commission income increased by 16.6 percent compared to the same period last year. The net interest income totalled 26.5 percent.  Administrative expenses reached EUR 3.53 million. By the end of 1Q 2018, Bank’s assets reached EUR 279.91 million. Bank’s high-quality liquid assets (assets carrying investment-grade credit rating and balances due from the Bank of Latvia) totalled EUR 145.29 million or 51.9% of the total assets. Investments in government bonds totalled EUR 16.7 million or 5.97% of the total assets. Bank maintains a well-diversified structure of liquid assets represented by bonds (16 percent), due from credit institutions (12 percent), due from the Bank of Latvia (71 percent) and cash (1 percent). The liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) totalled 245 percent. The liquidity ratio reached 80.86%. 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 135.76 percent. As of 31 March 2018, Bank’s own funds totalled EUR 25.73 million. Bank’s Tier I capital ratio (CETI) was 9.78 percent. The total SREP ratio (TSCR ratio) reached 13.06 percent. While actively supporting the strategy implemented by Baltic International Bank, the switch-over to the new business model and diversification of target markets, in the beginning of 2018 Bank’s shareholders decided to increase Bank’s share capital by EUR 6 million. In 1Q 2018, Baltic International Bank continued to support the projects of national significance specifically embracing Latvia’s literature, culture and arts. Bank sponsored the publication of the book „Kā gūt panākumus Latvijā” (How to Prosper in Latvia) whose authors are Kārlis Ozols and Laura Vanaga – Mickeviča. The book tells the readers about 14 outstanding Latvians who have accomplished great things in their life and their success stories.   Baltic International Bank also supported the presentation of the Annual Latvian Literary Award (LALIGABA) arranged to honour the most outstanding Latvian litterateurs. Full financial report for the period ended 31 March 2018

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.

Changes in personal data processing in accordance with GDPR

In accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council (27.04.2016) on the protection of private persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data) which will be applied in every Member State of the European Union from 25 May 2018, we kindly ask you to read the Notification of Personal Data Processing and related documents:  Personal Data processing

Patriotism begins with self-respect - Valeri Belokon

"I’m not a racer. Rather, I’m a traveller. I am not always eager to come first. For me, it is much more important to complete the whole route”, says Valeri Belokon, the shareholder and the Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of Baltic International Bank and a steadfast patron of arts. Baltic International Bank has been staying on track and succeeding for already 25 years. In his interview to «Открытый город» (Open City) magazine, Valeri Belokon provides a glimpse into Bank’s past, tells about the courage and capability to find and follow one’s own path, and outlines Bank’s future plans for development!    READ THE INTERVIEW (RU)  

Information about legislative changes to be made known to Bank’s customers

At the end of April 2018, the Parliament (Saeima) of the Republic of Latvia passed the resolution to amend the AML/CFT Act (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act) of the Republic of Latvia. Certain amendments envisage imposing stringent restrictions on banks incorporated in the Republic of Latvia. The restrictions apply specifically to cooperation with bank customers (corporates vehicles) which meet the criteria of shell companies and are therefore labelled as shell companies. Under the AML/CFT Act („Noziedzīgi iegūtu līdzekļu legalizācijas un terorisma finansēšanas novēršanas likums”), a shell company (shell arrangement) means a legal entity that can be identified by one or more red flag indicators: a legal entity’s connection with its actual business operations is not provable; the legal entity produces little to no independent economic value; the credit institution does not possess any documentary proof to the contrary; the laws of the jurisdiction of the entity’s incorporation do not envisage the obligation to prepare and file its annual financial statements with relevant supervisory authorities, including annual financial statements; the legal entity does not maintain a permanent establishment / a fixed place or business (premises) in the jurisdiction of the entity’s incorporation. Already in autumn 2016, Baltic International Bank adopted its new operational strategy geared towards wealth management and investing activities. In 2017, Bank embarked on reshaping its business model and aligning it with the strategy. The implementation of the new business model entailed a substantial change in the structure and the number of Bank’s customers in the first half-year of 2017. Also, we saw a decrease in the number of customers using corporate vehicles, known as shell arrangements, for their financial operations. In 2016, Bank’s USD-denominated transactions with shell arrangements, as a percentage of Bank’s aggregate number transactions, reached nearly 11% (in the first half-year of 2017: below 3%).