Norvik bank announces big loss for 2017

Norvik Banka made losses of 44 million euros in 2017 according to an unaudited overview of its accounts published April 3.

The report said 2017 was a "dynamic year" for the bank with a focus on "our senior clients, whose financial needs are not always understood and satisfied by other banks."

In 2017 the bank’s net operating income of 44.5 million euro (in 2016 – 50.7 million euro), was matched by net losses of 44.0 million euro (in 2016 – profit 9.4 million euro).

Explaining why the results were unaudited, the bank said "The auditors' opinion has not been received at the current time because the auditors need additional time to assess the overall situation in the financial sector of the Republic of Latvia and understand the impact of the anticipated AML regulation on the banking sector."

"The delay in issuing the auditors opinion is not related to AS Norvik Banka per se, but with events in the banking sector as a whole," the bank claimed.

The bank's  total assets at 31 December 2017 were 789 million euros, which is 89 million euro lower than in the period before 31 December 2016. The client loan portfolio at the end of 2017 was 214 million euros (a decrease of 27.6 million euros compared with the figures for 2016).

In 2017, the bank also sold off its Russian subsidiary ПАО "Норвик Банк". 

"This transaction was concluded within the framework of the policy of the Group aimed at the reduction of exposure in the Russian Federation," the bank said.

It also noted that it is taking the Latvian state to international arbitration, as previously reported by LSM.

"On 12 December 2017, the Bank and its controlling shareholders filed an arbitration claim against the Republic of Latvia to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)...The Bank and its controlling shareholders have turned to the arbitration court because of an unfair, arbitrary, ill-considered and unjustified regulatory approach implemented by the Latvian institutions towards the Bank in violation of the Latvia’s obligations under the international law," the bank said.

The February arrest and release of central bank governor Ilmārs Rimšēvičs, who is suspected to taking a bribe, saw a bitter war of words start between Rimšēvičs and Norvik owner Grigory Guselnikov, who accused the central banker of soliciting bribes and threatening regulatory complications if they were not forthcoming. Rimšēvičs denies the allegations.

Though traditionally classed as one of Latvia's controversial non-resident banks specialising in overseas clients, Norvik has in recent months attempted to re-cast itself as a local bank with a large branch network and a particular interest in pensioners.

However, at the same time it is offering pensioners a 5 euro voucher for attracting new accounts, it is also trumpeting new features for its "premium category cardholders" giving them fast track passage through Riga airport. 

In July last year Norvik was fined for sanctions-busting.

In January this year it was named in an Al-Jazeera investigation into money-laundering.

 

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