Banking sector clean-up must continue says President

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President Raimonds Vejonis said Tuesday that efforts to clean up Latvia's financial services sector must continue after the country signs up to membership of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on June 2.

Speaking after talks with Peters Putnins, head of the financial regulator the Financial and Capital Markets Commission (FKTK), Vejonis said that while OECD membership was a landmark achievement: 

"After joining the OECD it is important for Latvia to continue the reforms in order to improve the quality of our financial sector and develop the effectiveness of financial supervision, in particular against money laundering and terrorism."

Only by sticking to the highest regulatory standards could Latvia's financial sector develop a positive international reputation that would give investors confidence, the President added.

During the meeting, the President encouraged FKTK to continue helping draft legislation "to work towards concrete policy measures and monitoring mechanisms of money laundering and financing of terrorism."

For his part, Putnins said a recent shake-up, particularly of non-resident banks involved in money-laundering on a massive scale, had been effective.

"We've done a lot. Latvia's financial sector has recently experienced significant change. There have been changes in the supervisory regulatory framework and supervisory practice of FKTK.It is important to be open to changes required in the future," Putnins said.

President Vejonis also said he hoped banks would be more willing to lend to businesses in future than they are at present as a stimulus to economic growth.

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