In 2021, the pandemic continued to shake the economy and create great uncertainty. However, in the second and third quarters of the year, economic growth recovered significantly, levelling the previous year’s decline and exceeding pre-crisis levels. As the economy recovered, customer activity increased. Many were able to recover somewhat from the very difficult year of 2020 and gradually began to look to the future with hope for long-term business development. This enabled the bank to improve its profitability ratios. SEB Group’s operating profit in Latvia before provisions for expected credit losses increased by 5% year-on-year.
“SEB banka’s performance for 2021 was a profit of EUR 66 million. This was significantly influenced by the fact that no additional provisions for expected credit losses were required due to the spread of Covid-19. and the macroeconomic circumstances proved to be stronger than previously expected, which ensured investor interest in investing in the projects already financed by the bank. Consequently, provisions for expected credit losses in 2021 decreased. Profit before provisions was EUR 59 million, which is up by 5% compared with the 12 months of 2020,”
explains Ieva Tetere, CEO of SEB banka.
SEB granted EUR 221 million in new loans to individuals in the 12 months of 2021, an increase of 31% compared to the same period last year. The amount provided for the purchase or repair of housing during the 12 months of 2021 reached 176 million EUR, an increase of 34% year-on-year. Due to the activity in the SME segment, the amount of financing granted in this period increased by 26% compared to the 12 months of 2020.
“Despite the economic fluctuations, the Bank’s loan portfolio remained stable, mainly due to the activity of individuals and the interest in buying or building a house. At year-end, the loan portfolio amounted to EUR 3 billion, a decrease of EUR 98 million compared to the previous year. This was mainly due to fluctuations in the large corporate segment,”
explains I. Tetere.
Deposits increased significantly in 2021 compared to the previous year, i.e., by 14% (by half a billion euros). The largest growth was observed in the retail segment, i.e., by 19%, while the corporate segment had grown by only 6%. At the end of the year, deposits amounted to EUR 4 billion.
For its part, SEB Investment Management achieved a positive investment performance of EUR 110.5 million for Pillar 2 and 3 pension customers in 2021. Overall, Pillar 2 and 3 pension assets managed by SEB Investment Management increased by almost 24% to EUR 1.378 billion in 2021.
In 2021, revenues from financial market transactions increased by 39 percent. The good performance is related both to the positive development of Latvia’s foreign trade (trade growth of over 20% percent compared to 2020), which led to an increase in foreign exchange transactions and revenues, and to high inflation and the resulting risk of rising interest rates, which increased the interest of companies in buying longer-term interest rates through interest rate swaps. In 2021, the number of IPO transactions on the Baltic stock exchanges increased, and Latvian residents participated in entering securities market transactions to a much greater extent than in 2020, which contributed to the increase in commission income. The inclusion of emissions trading in the commodity offering almost doubled income from commodity trading.
The bank’s total costs increased by 2% due to rising inflation and higher labour costs, as well as investments in new digital solutions for customers.
“Last spring, for example, we launched the Roboinvestor investment tool in the mobile app, which has already been tried by more than 14 thousand SEB banka customers in Latvia, and 11% of them have already started investing. In terms of sustainability, this is a very important aspect for residents to make full use of their capital, which is currently in their current accounts, and over time to strategically increase the value of the capital and prevent it from shrinking due to inflation.
It is also worth mentioning the solution launched in the summer, which offers the possibility of becoming a customer remotely via a mobile app. By the end of the year, it had been used by over a thousand people in Latvia. In general, the use of digital solutions offered by SEB banka is increasing among individuals and companies in Latvia. For example, the number of customers actively using SEB’s mobile application has increased by almost 13%,”
says Ieva Tetere, CEO of SEB banka.
Although the topic of sustainability has long been on the agenda of SEB Group, which supports its customers in a sustainable transformation and offers sustainable financial services solutions, SEB Group updated its sustainability strategy in 2021, setting new climate targets. At the same time, the requirement was set to measure the environmental impact of its own investments and loan portfolio.
“To facilitate the transition to a sustainable society, we engaged in an active dialogue with our customers in 2021. In this context, we emphasized the importance of climate neutrality and reiterated our willingness to support the transition process to the Green Deal. We also dedicated the traditional CFO Forum to the topic of going green, where together with the CFOs of the 60 largest companies in the Baltics we focused on the practical aspects of green transformation and entrepreneurship – how to manage, measure and create real impact,”
says the CEO of SEB banka.
SEB banka has also continued to integrate sustainability considerations into its products, processes and decisions.
“In the last quarter of the year, SEB was the first bank in Latvia to introduce an environmentally friendly housing loan. And just before the end of the year, we provided our customers with a mobile app that enables anyone to calculate their environmental impact. Signing an agreement with real estate developer Linstow Baltic to build and lease SEB’s headquarters in Satekles Centre is also a strategically balanced decision that clearly shows the importance of sustainability to the bank’s long-term development. Considering that each of us makes decisions every day that can directly affect the future we create for our children, it is also important to mention the programme “FOOTPRINTS. What’s left after you?”, in which 12 experts discussed how we can take care of the environment which we live in, so that the choices we make today do not have negative consequences for future generations,”
points out Ieva Tetere.
SEB encouraged existing and future entrepreneurs not to postpone their business development plans until later and, together with seven municipalities near Riga, organised the support programme “(ie)dvesma” (Inspiration) for the fifth time, receiving 65 applications for new business ideas in 2021. Last year, nearly 50 companies applied for the growth programme run by SEB banka, 12 of which had the opportunity to improve their knowledge and skills for four months under the guidance of local and international experts, and mentors to promote faster growth of their businesses. Both the support programmes will continue this year.
Financial performance of SEB Group in Latvia in the 12 months of 2021:
Awards during 2021:
For additional information contact:
Kristine Sonmane, Organisational Communication Manager at SEB, +371 26102288, firstname.lastname@example.org
More about SEB Group in Latvia:
Twitter / SEB_Latvia, Facebook / SEB_Latvia, YouTube / SEBlatvia, www.seb.lv
SEB Group is the leading financial services provider in Northern Europe. As a bank for close and long-term relationships, SEB offers financial advice and a wide range of financial services in Sweden and the Baltics. In Denmark, Finland, Norway and Germany, SEB’s activities focus on corporate banking and investment banking for corporate and institutional clients. SEB Group’s activities on an international level are confirmed by its representation in 20 countries around the world. As at 31 December 2021, SEB Group’s total assets amounted to SEK 3,304 billion, with assets under management of SEK 2,682 billion. SEB Group employs 15,500 people. More about SEB group: www.sebgroup.com