VILNIUS - The Iki retailer and Nordea Bank Lietuva announced this week that they will launch a co-branded card, Iki Premija, for Lithuanian consumers.
Robertas Suliauskas, communications director at Iki, the second largest retailer in Lithuania and third in the Baltics, said that this would add banking services to the chain's Iki Premija discount cards.
Raimondas Rapkevicius, director of the Retail Banking Department at Nordea Bank Lietuva, added, "It requires less and less effort to get in contact with one's bank. A physical presence is no longer necessary because many operations can be performed without visiting a bank branch."
The bank plans to issue two types of Iki Premija cards, a Maestro debit card and a MasterCard credit card, this autumn. Holders will be able to use their Iki Premija cards to pay for goods and services anywhere payment cards are accepted.
In November 2003 Vilniaus Bankas, the country's largest, launched a co-branded card with VP Market and Senukai, the country's largest chain of building supplies and do-it-yourself goods. The co-branded card, VISA Electron/ Maxima/Senukai, gives the bank's customers access to discount programs offered by the two chains.
Nordea is the largest financial services group in the Nordic and Baltic countries with assets of 262 billion euros. It is a leading Internet banking provider in the world with 4.1 million e-customers.
Palink, the operator of the Iki chain, posted sales of about 350 million euros in 2004, a rise of 6.3 percent year-on-year, and expects to raise sales by 10-15 percent this year.
The chain currently comprises 142 stores in Lithuania and Latvia and employs a workforce of 6,000 people.