"As from this 9 November, Norvik Banka’s group changes its name to PNB Banka. The bank will continue to provide all the existing services, as well as extend its availability and offer even more convenient day-to-day financial activities for everyone, irrespective of their age, status or level of well-being. For the bank’s clients, all the contracts and agreements concluded previously with AS Norvik Banka remain in force, and everyday communication with the bank will continue as usual within a wide branch network throughout Latvia," said a statement posted to a new corporate website.
The Chairman of the Board of PNB Banka Oliver Bramwell came up with this explanation for the name change.
“We are a bank for people; therefore, we not only shorten but also expand the name by adding the value – a person. The letter “P” in the new name is borrowed from the word “people”. Thus, the new name of the bank, PNB Banka, covers one of the basic values of our current activity – a person and human relations.”
"In parallel with the introduction of the new name, we will improve our customer servicing process by introducing new quality standards at all levels of the bank’s operation, including the employee trainings [sic]," said Briton Bramwell in the English-language statement.
The change of Norvik Banka’s name to PNB Banka will be implemented gradually. The complete introduction of the new name in more than 40 branches throughout Latvia will be implemented in a longer term.
Norvik/PNB is majority owned by Russian-born British citizen Grigory Guselnikov. Norvik and Guselnikov have been linked to several controversies in recent years, most notably a war of words with central bank governor Ilmārs Rimsēvičs.
In July 2017 Norvik was fined more than a million euros by the financial regulator after being named by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as one of the Latvian banks used to channel funds to North Korea.
Norvik previously attempted to overhaul its image in 2014 with the introduction of a new logo and branch design. However, that met with some opposition from the Norwegian Chamber of Commerce in Latvia, which said the use of a flag similar to Norway's was "misleading consumers" into thinking it was a Norwegian bank.
Famously the bank features former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on its advisory council.
The rebrand appears to be an effort to put its decidedly checkered past behind it with the new website claiming: "In our work, we strictly adhere to the requirements in regard to Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing (AML/CTF) and enforcement of sanctions."
News of the rebranding appears to have leaked out during its planning period as back in August, Norvik warned that fraudsters had set up a website using the PNB name which "has nothing to do with our Bank, however, is using our name, address and other publicly available information."