Banks, Estonia, EU – Baltic States, Financial Services

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 19.08.2019, 03:11

Head of Estonian FSA says Swedish banks should stay

BC, Tallinn, 11.03.2019.Print version
The head of Estonia's Financial Supervision Authority, Kilvar Kessler, in an interview with Bloomberg described exit by Swedish banks in the aftermath of the money laundering scandal as "our ultimate concern.", reffered LETA/BNS.

Swedbank and Swedish peer SEB AB, the two largest banks in the Baltics, have a combined lending market share of 66% in Estonia, 45% in Latvia and 57% in Lithuania. Neither bank has indicated it's considering leaving the region. SEB spokesman Frank Hojem told Bloomberg the bank's "long-term strategy of balanced growth in the Baltics remains."

Swedbank spokesman Gabriel Francke Rodau said the lender is "committed" to the region, which it considers one of its "home markets."

Kessler said authorities in Estonia were doing everything in their power to clean up. For five years "we've been working like madmen" to improve anti-money laundering defenses, Kessler said, after meeting with his Nordic counterparts to discuss the European banking union.

"Currently, today we are talking about the past," he said.

"We are talking about legacy problems," he said. Estonia can't "exclude that, from time to time, occasional things may pop up." But it would not be "on that scale as it was in the past," he said.

"If nowadays, due to circumstances, Swedish banks see the Baltics as a liability, not as an asset, of course it's a problem for the Baltics," Kessler said.

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