Latvian central bank publishes major crisis advice

The Latvian central bank, Latvijas Banka (LB) said September 7 it is advising people to familiarise themselves with what to expect if a major crisis hits the country, and has published a booklet containing advice.

"As a result of the war started by Russia, these issues have taken on a new importance and have also come to the forefront of public interest," said the bank. 

Latvijas Banka has made the preparations to ensure that all critical financial services will be provided in Latvia in case of a threat to national security or "a situation of large external effects" LB said. That includes ensuring the continuance of making payments via internet banking or mobile application, making payments by payment cards, including online payments, and cash withdrawals from ATMs.

"A crisis usually occurs unexpectedly; however, the recent years have shown how important it is to prepare for different life situations. We do it both as a country and in the financial sector, and we encourage everyone to take care of oneself and one's loved ones. It is of great importance to be well informed since uncertainty is the biggest source of panic in a situation of crisis that might trigger a sequence of unwise decisions causing financial losses. We encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the information prepared by Latvijas Banka and follow its advice and guidance," said Ilze Posuma, Member of the Council of Latvijas Banka.

It has been established that 99 of around 900 ATMs operating in Latvia have been designated as "critical ATMs" to be supplied with cash first in case of a threat. The location map of these ATMs is available here.

"We encourage people to take a particularly critical look at the information provided and rely only on reliable sources of information, not to succumb to provocations and misinformation, as well as not to fall victim to fraud not only in times of crisis, but also when the responsible authorities inform about critical financial services," said LB.

The information brochure entitled "What do I have to know about cash and other financial services in a situation of crisis" is available here ( though in Latvian only):

Most of the advice contained in the booklet is fairly basic, consisting of various contact numbers and QR codes linking to other sources of information plus such things as listening to official information and not rushing to withdraw cash in case of a major crisis – advice which may or may not be heeded, given historical precedents. There are also some attempts at reassurance by declaring that bank staff are well-trained and deposits of up to 100,000 euros are fully protected. People are also reminded that in a crisis situation, they still have to meet their financial obligations, such as loan repayments.

One piece of advice we can certainly endorse is that in case of power and internet outages, listening to Latvian Radio is a good option [in fact, even when power and the internet are working, Latvian Radio is enjoyable]. 

The brochure is in effect a counterpart to the 2020 civil defense brochure titled "What to do in case of a crisis" (updated in 2022) aimed at helping the public prepare for potential crisis situations and providing useful information on where to seek assistance and the latest information.

"We in the Ministry of Defense are satisfied that the Latvian banking sector is aware of its role and significance in developing and strengthening a comprehensive national defense system so that people would have access to financial services in times of crisis and their money would be safe. The preparation of this brochure has been the result of a planned effort that will mostly bring benefits to the population being provided with the useful information to use it to its advantage," said Jānis Garisons, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Defense.

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