Ieva Tetere: The opening of the economy in the third quarter drives an activity, the end of the year will bring new challenges
In the first nine months of this year, SEB Group’s profit after tax in Latvia was EUR 52.1 million. Revenue remained at last year’s level.
Owing to the improving epidemiological situation in Latvia in the third quarter and the lifting of the restrictions, economic activity increased significantly – industrial growth and bolder actions on the part of businesses were encouraging, and Latvian households also sought to improve their living conditions. This had a positive impact on lending activity.
Financing for home loans increased by 49%, for SMEs up by 33%
Newly issued loans to individuals amounted to EUR 167 million in the first nine months of this year, up 41% from a year ago. For the purchase or repair of a home, EUR 134 million were issued in the first nine months, i.e., 49% higher than a year ago. Due to the activity in the SME segment, the amount of financing in this period was 33% higher than in the 9 months of 2020. The total amount of loans issued by SEB banka to customers in the first nine months of 2021 was EUR 576 million, down 3% compared to the first nine months of the previous year, due to lending to large companies.
Increased customer securities portfolio and the volume of foreign exchange transactions
Changes in the economy and high liquidity in the market have brought new habits for bank customers. As at the end of September, the customer securities portfolio had increased by 16.6% over the past 12 months. The securities portfolio of individuals increased by 32.6% and that of legal entities – by 14.2% during the period. The increase in customers’ securities portfolios was due to new customer investments as well as an increase in stock market prices. The most positive impact of the changes in the retail customer portfolio was related to the increase of more than 40% in the ETF portfolio, stock portfolio and the SEB fund portfolio. In addition, customers continue to invest in funds via the Roboinvestor mobile application. By mid-October, Roboinvetsor’s investment services in Latvia had been used by almost 1,000 SEB customers.
The third quarter was also very dynamic in terms of the foreign exchange transactions carried out by customers, driven by the opening of the economy after the lifting of pandemic restrictions and growing interest in foreign exchange risk management products, as well as the significant increase in Latvian imports and exports. The volume of foreign exchange transactions by customers increased by 32% in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period last year.
Deposits up by 18%
As at 30 September 2021, total deposits at SEB banka amounted to EUR 3.8 billion, an increase of 18% compared to the end of September 2020.
At the end of September 2021, SEB Group’s assets in Latvia amounted to EUR 4.3 billion, while SEB Group’s capital in Latvia amounted to EUR 463 million, an increase of 4% and 10%, respectively, compared to the same 9 months last year.
Third quarter has been powerful, end of year will bring new challenges
According to Ieva Tetere, Chairwoman of the management board of SEB Latvia, the third quarter proved robust due to new signs of growth in the economy and greater optimism in the business environment and public opinion.
“In the third quarter, the sectors most affected by the Covid crisis were again able to operate successfully after the effects of last year. Growth in manufacturing and exports was particularly encouraging. On a positive note, employment continued to recover, and many people were able to return to the labour market. In terms of sectors, lending was strongest in manufacturing, real estate, transport and warehousing sectors. The population’s interest in dwelling loans has continued unabated, so that in the first nine months of this year, we issued half as many loans to the population for the purchase or repair of a home as in the corresponding period a year ago. However, the first signs of rising inflation and the introduction of the lockdown measures proposed by the Government will pose a serious challenge to both households and businesses, also requiring the banking system to adjust,”
Ieva Tetere, CEO of SEB Latvia points out.
New mobile app features for customer convenience
According to I. Tetere the Bank continues to adapt solutions that may be particularly relevant to customers currently.
“Given the rapid transition to remote transactions in both business and everyday life, in the third quarter we improved the functionality of the Bank’s mobile app, rendering it possible to become a customer of the Bank remotely, even if the person does not have Smart- ID or an electronic signature. Since its launch in July, more than 400 customers have already made use of this feature. Another improvement to the mobile app will allow customers to connect to the internet bank and confirm transfers or in-shop purchases via fingerprint or facial recognition. In these circumstances, this could be a particularly convenient and secure solution, as the mobile app uses two-step or stronger customer authentication,”
says I. Tetere.
Financial performance indicators of SEB Group in Latvia in the first nine months of 2021:
|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 30 September 2021, SEB Group’s total assets amounted to SEK 3,585 billion, with assets under management of SEK 2,422 billion. SEB Group employs 15,500 people. More about SEB group: www.sebgroup.com