It has not been the easiest year so far for Latvia's financial sector, to put it mildly. ABLV bank has gone into liquidation following allegations of money-laundering from the U.S., the central bank governor has been charged with corruption and officials have scrambled to introduce reforms to prevent the sector being frozen out of the mainstream financial trading systems.
A new investigation by online news portal Buzzfeed in collaboration with members of the Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism, Re:Baltica focuses on a foreign expert and a report on Latvia's non-resident banks.
The Association of Latvian Commercial Banks announced July 25 it is changing its name and expanding its activities to become the Finance Latvia Association.
When a bank becomes insolvent or undergoes liquidation, the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FKTK) should only revoke the bank's license - it should not have to also nominate the bank's insolvency administrator, the commission's chairman Peters Putnins told the LETA newswire July 16.
Sweden's SEB is to combine its Baltic life insurance businesses into one company in order to simplify the organization's operation model, the banking organization said July 13.
Latvia's financial regulator, the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FKTK) said July 12 the banking license of ABLV bank, which is currently undergoing a process of so-called "self-liquidation" had been cancelled by the European Central Bank.
Following the introduction of legislation banning Latvian banks from doing business with "'shell companies" the proportion of accounts still held by such entities is very small, the Fianncial and Capital Market Commission (FKTK), Latvia's financial regulator, said July 3.
Since winter, there has been a significant outflow of non-resident deposits from Latvia, and the term "non-residents" should disappear in the Latvian banking sector in the future, Peters Putniņš, chairman of the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FKTK), said in an interview with Latvian Radio June 29.
In some much-needed good news for Latvia's banking sector, Swedish-owned SEB banka has won an annual Fair Trade Award for building its business and relations with employees, suppliers and partners on the basis of respect, honesty and sustainability.
Latvia's financial regulator, the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FKTK) announced June 12 it had decided to allow ABLV bank to undergo a process of self-liquidation.
The Association of Latvian Commercial Banks (ALCB) has produced a summary of the financial trends in the banking sector during the first quarter of 2018 - a period of considerable developments caused by the collapse of ABLV bank and a subsequent scramble to clean up the non-resident banks. As a result, there are some eye-catching statistics among the data.
The number of so-called "shell companies" - corporate entities designed simply to carry out complex financial transactions, often as part of money-laundering schemes - doing business via Latvia banks is in sharp decline, Latvia's financial regulator said June 5.
The Association of Latvian Commercial Banks’ (ALCB) on June 1 published its Lending Index, which recorded "rapid growth of lending in the private sector over the last three years."
Latvia's financial regulator, the Financial and Capital Markets Commission (FKTK) has still not decided whether or not to accept a self-liquidation plan proposed by ABLV bank three months ago, reported LTV June 1st.
Citadele Group on May 31 announced its results for the first three months of 2018, revealing a net profit increase of 3% to EUR 9.4 million, of which Citadele Bank made EUR 6.6 million.
A report by the Reuters news agency May 29 said Latvia's banking sector was used as part of a Russia-backed effort to topple the government in NATO member state Montenegro.
Marshall Billingslea, the Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing at the United States Department of Treasury, was recently in Rīga and is clearly keeping a keen eye on developments in the Latvian banking sector following the collapse of ABLV bank and subsequent efforts to clean up the sector and shed the country's image as a global money-laundering hub.
Latvia's financial regulator, the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FKTK) said May 25 it had "entered into an administrative agreement" with Meridian Trade Bank, imposing legal obligations and a fine of 455,822 euros for anti- money laundering failures.
Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis on May 22 said he opposed legislative proposals that would see all the people in charge of Latvia's financial regulator approved by parliament.
Non-resident deposits in Latvian banks shrank by 27.1 percent or EUR 2.185 billion in the first quarter of this year to EUR 5.869 billion at the end of March, the Financial and Capital Market Commission said May 21, according to the LETA news agency.
The first meeting of a new "cooperation group" aimed at restoring the battered reputation of Latvia's banking sector met on May 9 and the government office has now released a video, with English subtitles, of the press conference held immediately afterwards, which can be viewed above.
ABLV bank, which is currently in the process of liquidating itself, has submitted an application to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over the manner in which it was forced out of business, LSM's Latvian-language service reported May 7.
Rietumu bank has published its annual report for 2017, which paints a rosy picture of the situation during last year. However, notes attached to the report, compiled by auditors KPMG, show that the impact of threatened U.S. action against Latvia's boutique banking sector, and a subsequent clampdown by Latvian authorities following the collapse of rival ABLV bank are having a major impact among the banks that traditionally service overseas clients during the early part of 2018.
Whether any bankers will be put to trial over sanctions-busting depends on the results of an investigation by Latvia's Security Police, Financial and Capital Markets Commission (FKTK) head Pēters Putniņš told LTV after he was grilled in a committee at the European Parliament.
Latvia's largest remaining non-resident bank, Rietumu banka, has announced sweeping changes to its executive board, including the replacement of its chairman.
In a day of frenzied activity to address problems in Latvia's banking sector April 26, Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis issued a decree that he hopes will help "restore the international reputation of Latvia's banking sector," currently tarnished by a large amount of evidence the country has acted as a major money-laundering hub for years.
Danske Bank is to stop serving customers in the Baltic states gradually, said Zane Strade, the spokeswoman of the Danske Bank branch in Latvia on April 26.
On April 26, the Latvian parliament banned banks in the country from servicing shell companies.
Latvia's financial regulator, the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FKTK) said April 25 it was allowing Citadele bank to unite with its small Lithuanian subsidiary, effectively absorbing it into a single entity.