Latvia's Signet Bank buys LPB Bank

Latvian boutique bank Signet Bank confirmed December 12 that it had completed the takeover of another Latvian bank, LPB Bank.

"Following the approval of the Bank of Latvia and the European Central Bank, and the approval of the Competition Council, on 11 December 2023 a transaction was completed whereby a local investment bank, AS Signet Bank, acquired AS LPB Bank," Signet said in a release.

The cost of the acquisition was not disclosed.

"LPB Bank in the transaction result will be rebranded. LPB Bank will continue to operate as a subsidiary of the Signet Bank Group, retaining its existing credit institution license, and focusing on FinTech companies, Banking as a Service (BaaS) and innovative digital financial products," the release said.

"There is still a lack of banking products in Latvia that are focused on serving FinTech companies and driving innovation in the financial system – this transaction is poised to modestly impact the current landscape while playing a pivotal role in shaping the future development of Signet Bank Group," said Roberts Idelsons, Chairman of the Board of Signet Bank.

Signet Bank and LPB Bank will continue to operate as separate credit institutions and there will be no current changes in the day-to-day handling and servicing of customers. In future. LPB Bank customers who use traditional banking products will be offered cooperation with Signet Bank. In turn LPB Bank will focus on servicing FinTech companies, offering them a wider range of products.

As previously reported by LSM, LPB bank – formerly known as Latvijas Pasta Banka (Latvian Postal Bank) has not been immune to controversy over the years and achieved unwanted prominence in 2016 when it was fined €305,000 for failing to stop massive payments through its accounts in connection with a billion-euro 2012-2013 Moldovan fraud according to a report by independent financial investigators Kroll, carried out for the National Bank of Moldova. It subsequently produced a revised business plan.

More recently the chairman and main shareholder of LPB bank stepped down after becoming a chief suspect in an ongoing murder case

In 2020 Signet Bank was itself fined nearly a million euros by the financial regulator for breaches of the anti-money laundering and counter terrorism and proliferation financing (AML) regulatory requirements. Last year it acquired another local bank, Expobank.

Signet Bank traces its roots back to the 1990s under the name Latvijas Biznesa banka. Since 2013, it has focused its strategy on servicing well-heeled entrepreneurs and their businesses, with an emphasis on capital management and structuring of investment projects. Signet Bank’s shareholders are nine Latvian, American and Israeli investors. 

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