Deutsche Bank leaves Latvia
Recently, Deutsche Bank has received several heavy blows to its reputation and pocket. He was accused of helping with money laundering, fraud and tax evasion. And then they wrote out fines of millions and billions of dollars.
Claims came from the USA, Great Britain, Russia. And everyone demanded their own piece of cake.
The situation was such that Deutsche Bank urgently needed not only to pay bills, but also to preserve the existing reputation as much as possible. And it is precisely this that primarily led to the decision that co-operation with Latvia and Estonia should be limited and curtailed.
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Latvia – Laundry, which is included in the OECD
It is not a secret to anyone that Latvian banks were actively used to withdraw funds from Russia and other CIS countries. Including, as they say, below the radar inspection bodies.
This common opinion was confirmed by claims from the OECD, FATF and the IMF. Latvia heard, gave under the hood and began to actively rectify the situation: close suspicious banks (one piece), change the leadership of the supervisory authority (the whole tip), introduce new rules to combat tax evasion and money laundering of illegal funds.
It got to the point that to conduct audits of the local banking system came experts from the United States. The general situation was assessed, made recommendations. As a result, Latvia was even included in the OECD.
But the reputation of Latvia and quiet in this sense, Estonia has been tarnished. And Deutsche Bank decided to leave.
And this step is capable of causing tremendous damage to the banking sector in Latvia and the country’s economy as a whole. That’s why.
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Outflow of non-residents and money before the departure of Deutsche Bank
In connection with the massive attacks on “illegal money”, the number of depositors in Latvia has decreased dramatically. Until recently, more than half of bank deposits belonged to foreigners – this figure in the EU was the highest, even more than in Cyprus.
After the start of stripping during the year, the volume of foreign deposits was reduced by a quarter.
In addition, the popular Trasta komercbanka bank was closed, warnings and fines were issued to other banks that were actively working with non-residents. The outflow of money has increased. Someone is sure that gray and illegal money is leaving. But in this volume there are those who have decided to hedge themselves legally.
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In addition, Latvian politicians expressly declare that Russian Latvian money is not needed. Despite the fact that it is Russian and partly money from the CIS that make up a massive part of investments not only in the form of deposits, but also in the form of foreign direct investment in production and similar areas.
Add to the piggy bank the fact that Latvia appeared in a new light in Magnitsky’s lists, in scandals on the withdrawal of a billion from Moldova and in Laundromat – we get a seriously tarnished reputation that we tried to restore through cooperation with the OECD.
It didn’t help much – Deutsche Bank still leaves.
Is Latvia losing international dollar transfers?
Why are there so many emotions around the care of Deutsche Bank? The reason is that it remains the only international bank in Latvia that provides services of dollar correspondent accounts.
And most of the money of non-residents lies and runs precisely in dollars.
2 years ago there were 3 banks that provided correspondent accounts. JPMorgan and Commerzbank are gone. Now, after them, Deutsche Bank is finally leaving.
Only in 2016, the volume of transfers in dollars decreased by a third. In 2017, the decrease will become even more noticeable.
Will there be no dollar transfers without Deutsche Bank at all? Do not rush to panic: the situation is unpleasant, but far from critical.
First, in Latvia there are several large banks that are subsidiaries of foreign banks. The parent companies of Swedbank, SEB and others have a network of their own correspondent accounts. And there is a workaround.
Some smaller banks lose in this situation – they may not have their own correspondent accounts. At least while information about them is vague – the banks are reluctant to share it.
Nothing prevents everyone from establishing new connections and finding new partners. But it takes time and will lead either to a rise in the cost of translation services, or to an increase in delays, and the banking system is unhurried.
A part of the expenses will be taken by the bank, but in general, all expenses will in any case fall on the shoulders of depositors, local and foreign.
What threatens Latvian non-resident banking?
The banking sector will not collapse and will not disappear. But representatives of banks and supervisory bodies speak of a possible optimization: the liquidation or merger of some banks.
There are 16 local banks and 7 foreign branches in Latvia. 6 of them are “systemic”, which means the state will help them in the event of a crash. The rest will have to decide their own destiny.