Graph: Latvian banks post growing profits

Despite being hit with unprecedented fines and subjected to increasing regulatory scrutiny, banks continue to post staggering profits in Latvia, with the 2016 profit of the banking sector up 9.1% on year over 2015.

The total 2016 earnings closed in on the €0.5 billion mark, not a far stretch away from the years prior to the 2008/2009 economic downturn.  

However the Q1 profits of banks for 2017 have fallen 1.3% on year, sitting at €104.7m according to data by Financial and Capital Markets Commission (FKTK)

This is not to say that banks are facing a lean year, however. There's an expected influx of EU funds, and the country is seeing increased economic activity. Banks are upping the scale of household financing. Banks lent €14.68 billion euros early last year but the 2017 figure is €15.15 billion.

 

Last year a total 16 banks and seven subsidiaries were operating in Latvia, or 23 banks in total.

One bank was closed last year, and three subsidiaries shut down.

Swedbank posted the heftiest 2016 profits at €92.89m, a drop of 28.9% on year. Rietumu Banka's profits were €86.35m (+16.3%) and ABLV earned 14.9% more or €79.33m.

A number of banks paid a total of c. €8m in fines last year with the regulator pulling Trasta's licence. Swedbank, Rietumu, ABLV were among the banks fined last year.

Meanwhile non-resident deposits shrunk 20.5% on year compared to Q1 2016. Last year Latvia's banks held €11.27 billion in non-resident deposits while now the figure is €8.96 billion.

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