Rinkevics urges Bank of Latvia to revise groundless restrictions on access to financial services

  • 2024-04-05
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - It is important that the Bank of Latvia take active steps to revise unjustified restrictions on access to financial services, President Edgars Rinkevics said Friday while meeting with Bank of Latvia Governor Martins Kazaks.

As the president's advisor Martins Dregeris told LETA, in Rinkevics' view, this concerns financial services like opening accounts, making payments and extending loans. Rinkevics called on the Bank of Latvia, in cooperation with other responsible authorities, to actively use all possible instruments to create an appropriate framework for access to financial services, especially in Latvia's regions, while at the same time reducing obstacles to low-risk activities.

According to the president, given the geopolitical risks, the banking sector cannot afford to operate remotely or to make services available only in a few locations in Latvia. This hampers small and medium-sized businesses in Latvia's regions, as often various business financing issues cannot be solved remotely without local bank branches.

"The financial sector can significantly contribute to Latvia's competitiveness. Therefore, I believe that this can and should be addressed through regulatory instruments, giving commercial banks specific targets, for example, covering the network of regional branches of commercial banks throughout Latvia according to certain principles," the president said at the meeting with the head of the central bank. 

Rinkevics met at Riga Castle with the Bank of Latvia governor, his deputy Santa Purgaile,  Bank of Latvia Council Member Kristine Cernaja-Mezmale, and Andris Strazds, Head of General Secretariat at the Bank of Latvia. Discussions during the meeting focused on the accessibility of banking services, the provision of critical financial services in the event of a crisis and lending to the defense industry.

During the meeting, the Bank of Latvia representatives provided information on the impact a complete suspension of trade with Russia would have on the Latvian economy. Rinkevics called on the Bank of Latvia to support industries with its analytics, thus helping to promote business start-ups in new export markets.

Rinkevics and Kazak also discussed the provision of critical financial services in the event of a crisis. The two sides agreed on the necessity to promote the defense industry's access to financial services.