Latvia's Citadele bank offers accounts to Ukrainian refugees via mobile app

Citadele bank said July 6 that since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, it has received 4,200 applications to open accounts from Ukrainian citizens in the Baltic states as war refugees. "To ease the application process for Ukrainians and offer them a more up-to-date digital experience, they will now be able to open an account remotely through the Citadele mobile app," the bank said.

Ukrainian citizens who have fled from the war to Latvia or Estonia will be able to open an account for free. This previously required an appointment at a bank branch, bringing a travel document or ID issued in Ukraine or a temporary residence permit issued in Latvia. Now, Ukrainians can apply for a bank account through the app 24 hours a day. This can be done anywhere with phone and internet.

Opening a bank account can be done in three steps: downloading the Citadele mobile app; taking a selfie; and taking a photo of a Ukrainian travel document or ID and uploading personal details, including a Latvian or Estonian-issued phone number and personal code. The application process takes 5-7 minutes. If the uploaded information is correct, the bank will contact the customer to arrange submission of a copy of a Latvian-issued residence permit. The customer will not have to visit the bank afterwards, as their card and documents will be mailed to their address in Latvia or Estonia (soon also Lithuania).

“Bearing in mind that Ukrainians have become a part of our society and seeing the large numbers of war refugees in the Baltics, we instantly began work on expanding the functions of our app,” said Vladislavs Mironovs, Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer at Citadele Bank. “Throughout the Baltics, we have already received more than 4,200 applications from Ukrainian citizens, and we were active in organising mobile branches specifically for serving Ukrainians. Bearing in mind that a bank account is a basic need in this day and age, the option of opening one remotely will help make this process easier and modern for anyone.”

The service is available in Latvian, English and Russian. More information for Ukrainian refugees is available at Citadele's website.

In a separate move the bank has already announced that it will be ceasing all payments to and from Russia and Belarus as of August 20, 2022.

 

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