VILNIUS – A new foreign bank is set to enter Lithuania soon, a representative of the central Bank of Lithuania says.
"This year alone, we have had individual meetings with 21 unique banks from Europe and beyond. With some of those banks, as mentioned, the talks are already advanced and we hope for good news soon," Lukas Jakubonis, head of the Bank of Lithuania's Center for Financial Market Development, told reporters on Friday.
"A new bank will come, the only question is when," he added.
Jakubonis did not disclose the name of the bank with such intentions, but said that Lithuania is attracting interest from important and well-known European market players, especially from Germany and Poland.
"I would not like to disclose specific countries. They have not yet made the commitment to come, but we do have a lot of hope regarding countries like Germany and Poland," Jakubonis said.
Simonas Krepsta, a board member of the Bank of Lithuania, says the central bank's representatives have met with around 60 international banks from Poland, the USA, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Turkey and Israel over the past year.
Jakubonis points out that the banks considering operating in Lithuania are looking into expanding in the entire Baltic region, "starting with Lithuania". He acknowledges that Western banks are mostly weighing geopolitical risks: "We can't really manage them without a natural way of dealing with those geopolitical risks".
Polish President Andrzej Duda said during his visit to Vilnius in July that new Polish banking players may soon enter Lithuania. Gediminas Simkus, board chairman of the Bank of Lithuania, has recently invited an unnamed Spanish bank, one of the largest in Europe, to provide services in Lithuania.
According to the Bank of Lithuania, 13 banks currently hold banking or specialized bank licenses in Lithuania, and there are also six branches of foreign banks. The three banks with the largest market shares – SEB, Swedbank and Siauliu Bankas – are supervised by the European Central Bank in cooperation with experts from the Bank of Lithuania.