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Viktor Bolbat: 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.

Opening hours for the Christmas holidays

Christmas is coming soon. It is the most adorable and wonderful time of the year that brings families together. Tell your dearest ones warm and heartfelt words and spend many treasured moments together! In observance of the upcoming Christmas and New Year holidays, Baltic International Bank will be closed on 24, 25 26 and 31 December and 1 January 2019. Certain correspondent banks will be closed for the holiday season from 30 December 2018 to 8 January 2019 (inclusive). If you need to transfer or receive money in currencies other than the euro during that period, please get in touch with us to find a possible solution. Therefore, please schedule your financial transactions and make all arrangements in a timely manner. Enjoy delightful and pleasant emotions while awaiting the arrival of the holidays!

Changes in Working Hours of Cash desk and Payment Cards Division

Dear Clients! Please note that we have changed working hours of our Cash desk and Payment Cards Division. From 26 November 2018, our cash desk will work from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. From 1 December 2018, the Payment Cards Division will work from 9 am to 8 pm (from Monday to Friday). Outside the working hours, the staff of Worldline Customer Support Centre will assists you. With these changes in mind, please schedule your cash operations and solve your payment card-specific issues in a timely manner. Please contact your private banker if you have any questions or concerns.

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.

Information for the clients of Baltic International Bank representative office in Russia

This is to inform you that our Russia-based representative office discontinued operating on 26 September 2018.  Baltic International Bank continuously keeps track of changes in customer behaviours. Our customers wish to receive most suitable, convenient, qualitative and easily accessible banking services. And this is becoming increasingly important for them. While 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. Your private bankers can be easily accessed, as they are just a phone call away. Your private bankers are always ready to give you a helping hand to get your financial matters in good order. We’ll be glad to meet you at our head office in Riga and our representative offices in Kyiv and London.

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 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)  

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