Hansabankas officially takes over LTB

  • 2001-06-14
  • Mark Taylor
VILNIUS - Soon after the closure of the deal for the acquisition of Lietuvos Taupomasis Bankas by Estonian Hansapank, LTB has elected a new management board. The board, elected on June 5, will be made up of Lithuanians with many new and not so new faces.

The newly elected chairman of the LTB board, Arunas Siksta, believes that the process of integrating the banks will be like building a house. "When you start to build a house, you know many things. You know how many family members will live in the house, how the house will look according to blueprints, etc. It's the same here," he said.

Asked about what kind of bank customers could expect to see, Siksta, who had been holding the same position for the past two years in Hansabankas, Lithuanian daughter bank of Hansapank, explained that the "new house" would be a house which understood the importance of customer service. "The customers at LTB are expecting changes in service quality," he explained. "At the same time they understand that service quality is a complex thing. However, I hope that LTB customers will see improvements within the next few months," remarked Siksta.

He went on to say that the first priority of the new board was to approve the merger plan for the two banks thoroughly and carefully so that both customers and employees would feel the benefit of the merger as soon as possible.

Dalius Kaveckas who now becomes deputy chairman of the LTB board is one of two board members to come over from the old LTB. He is confident that Hansapank will do a good job and will give a lot of attention to employees. "The new owner of LTB has already proven that the bank will not only be modernized, but that much focus will be given to employee advancement possibilities," exclaimed Kaveckas.

The restructuring of the merged banks is expected to last two years. Siksta stressed to The Baltic Times that restructuring didn't necessarily mean bank closures. "Increasing the qualifications of our employees along with IT solutions and putting all branches on line will help increase the efficiency of our branches," emphasized Siksta. "The number of branches in our network will not necessarily change but the number of branches will probably change in certain geographical areas," he explained. Hansapank has paid 150 million litas ($35 million) to the Lithuanian State Property Fund for a 90.73 percent stake in LTB.

Both Hansapank and the property fund are pleased with the process. Rimantas Butkus, senior officer with the fund, believes that the deal was one of the best deals that the fund has seen. "It's a high quality deal. On a scale of one-ten, ten being highest, it would be a nine. We are very satisfied," he remarked.

Butkus told The Baltic Times that he thought this deal would be a significant example for future privatizations such as the upcoming privatization of the last state-owned bank in Lithuania, Lietuvos Zemes Ukio Bankas. The state property fund hopes to close a deal on that bank by next year.

The newly merged Hansabankas and LTB will be the biggest financial institution in Lithuania with over 1.5 million customers and 3,500 employees. The Hansabank Group, which owns Hansabankas and now LTB, is currently the leading financial institution in the Baltic states with over 2 million customers. The group plans to invest an additional 150 million litas into the merged Hansabankas-LTB bank over the next 18 months. The new name for the bank is expected to be Hansa-LTB.