The number of loans issued in the first quarter of 2021 increased by 8%—1.04 billion Euro—with total loans issued in Latvia reaching 13.99 billion. The increase is most pronounced in the business sector, which accounted for 60% of total loans, or 8.34 billion Euro. Meanwhile, the number of loans issued to private customers has not changed significantly over the past year: 5.37 billion Euro. The banks who issued the most in loans during the first quarter of the year were Swedbank with 3.7 billion Euro, SEB with 3 billion, Luminor with 2.8 billion and Citadele with 2.4 billion.
Chairperson of the Finance Latvia Association Sanita Bajāre:
“This increase in loans demonstrates that business owners are getting ready to develop their businesses, and shows an increase in private spending as people complete purchases they had been putting off during the pandemic, as well as the fact that economic activity has recovered as restrictions ease in Latvia and elsewhere. To ensure that the financial sector continues to offer the greatest possible level of support to business owners, the Association and its members have developed a 15-point plan to improve access to financing and promote business activity. The plan includes the development of new products for financing the ‘green transition,’ and a discussion with the public sector on tax motivation mechanisms and state support programmes for sustainability solutions. Bearing in mind consumer spending and changes to daily habits, interest in renovating or purchasing a home has also increased. We are therefore seeing more households looking for a mortgage.”
For the first time, Finance Latvia has collected data on the proportion of contactless card payments compared with total card payments: 69.9% The public are also active users of instant payments, when a payment is made within a few seconds: the proportion of these payments compared with total European (SEPA) payments is 44.4% (in banks which offer instant payments).
In the first quarter of 2021, the number of contactless payments grew by 14.4% compared with the first quarter of 2020, reaching 1,853,802 payments. The number of POS terminals which accept contactless payments has also grown by 15.6%, from 34,749 to 40,159.
Compared with the first quarter of 2020, the amount of cash withdrawn from ATMs has decreased by 15%. Meanwhile, around 42% of Latvian cardholders never withdraw cash from an ATM.
The amount deposited in Latvian banks in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the previous quarter increased by 5%, or 0.91 billion Euro. The most significant increase in deposits was for businesses, reaching its highest figure since the end of 2017. Over the last 12 months, business deposits have increased by 20%—1.37 billion Euro—comprising 42% of total deposits. The Latvian banks with highest amount in deposits at the end of the first quarter of 2021 were Swedbank (6.3 billion Euro), SEB (3.7 billion), Citadele (3.5 billion), Luminor (2.9 billion Euro) and BlueOrange (0.6 billion).
*Source: Bank of Latvia report on the monetary monthly balances of financial institutions in the Republic of Latvia / https://financelatvia.323.lv/nozares-dati/
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