2018 was characterized by solid performance in all core business segments of the Citadele Group, with further implementation of new and improved daily banking services and innovative solutions for our customers. The Group’s credit rating was upgraded one notch by Moody’s to Ba1, reflecting Citadele’s growth strategy in the Baltic’s, improved capitalization and asset quality.
- Upgrade of rating to Ba1 from Moody’s
- Continued development of innovative digital solutions, products and services
- Net interest income up by 10% to EUR 82.6 million in 2018
- Net profit increased by 11% and reached EUR 34.8 million
- Total loan portfolio increased by EUR 65 million in 2018. New lending reached EUR 479 million
- Capital adequacy ratio reached 20.1%
- AS Citadele banka acquired 12.5% stake in SIA Mobilly
- AB “Citadele” bankas (Lithuania) legal status changed from subsidiary to branch and unified core platform introduced
Overall Citadele Group’s performance in 2018 was primarily driven by increased net interest income from the Baltic loan portfolio growth and increased business activities in Private and SME segments, as well as some improvements in portfolio margins and lower interest expense. The Group’s net interest income increased by 10% compared to 2017, reaching EUR 82.6 million in 2018. Group’s net profit in 2018 reached EUR 34.8 million and profitability was 12.3% return on equity. Net profit increased by 11% vs adjusted figures in 2017.
Guntis Beļavskis, CEO, Citadele, commented: “Year 2018 results demonstrate that we are on the right track towards our strategic goal to become the Baltic banking champion. Providing financing for growth to aspiring Baltic businesses and individuals is an important part of Citadele’s strategy. In 2018, we issued EUR 479 million of new loans. We also continued to strengthen our position as the innovator of financial services in the Baltics, releasing new digital features in online banking and mobile application. Citadele bankas reorganisation process was finalised, to enable quicker introduction of new digital banking services to our Lithuanian customers and improve the operational efficiency of the Group. The Group’s credit rating upgrade and positive outlook from Moody’s also serves as a proof of the continued progress in implementing a Baltics-focused growth strategy with improved asset quality and higher capitalisation.”
Loans to corporate and private clients
The total loan portfolio increased by EUR 65 million since 31 December 2017. New lending for the year reached EUR 479 million, with the Corporate portfolio seeing a healthy pipeline going into 2019. The loan portfolio for Private Customer and Small Business each grew by more than 10%. Total deposits decreased by 9% and constituted EUR 2,645 million at year end, in-line with the Group’s de-risking plan.
The Group strengthened its capital adequacy ratio in 2018, which increased to 20.1% vs 18.4% for year end 2017. The Group’s liquidity position remained strong, with LCR amounting to 259% and loan-to-deposit ratio at 53% by end of 2018.
Credit rating upgrade
International credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service upgraded AS Citadele banka long-term deposit rating from Ba2 to Ba1, maintaining a positive outlook in October 2018. The main reason for upgrading Citadele Bank’s rating, according to Moody's, is the progress made in implementing the Baltic focused growth strategy. The rating upgrade is also based on higher capitalization, increasing profitability, declining problem loans, strengthening of the bank’s governance and continued reduction of non-resident business.
Biometrics and digital innovations
Throughout 2018, the Citadele group continued to develop and launch innovative digital solutions, products and services to meet customer expectations in multiple channels: improved online banking and Bank’s mobile application, continued upgrades to contactless payment terminals and new touchscreen ATMs. Citadele has become the first bank in Latvia with facial recognition in mobile application for customer authentication and payment authorization. Face ID and Touch ID for mobile app login, payments and card security management were introduced for fast, convenient and secure client interaction.
Citadele Bank and Mobilly joins forces to offer clients new mobile payment solutions
In January 2019 AS Citadele banka completed its acquisition of 12.5% share capital in SIA Mobilly in a transaction that was announced in November 2018. SIA Mobilly offers innovative and convenient mobile payments for goods and services within Latvia. The intention of the equity acquisition is to establish a partnership to allow Citadele and SIA Mobilly to implement new innovations and offer clients convenient and exciting mobile payment services.
AB “Citadele” bankas (Lithuania) legal status changed from subsidiary to branch
In 2018 Citadele decided to transform AB Citadele bankas (Lithuania) from a subsidiary to a branch and to migrate the Lithuanian core platform to Latvia. The aim is to increase operational efficiency across the Group, leverage client offerings and service output, and operate under a unified Governance model across the Baltics. On 1 January 2019 all assets, liabilities and businesses were successfully transferred from AB Citadele bankas (via merger) to the Lithuanian branch of AS Citadele banka.
Citadele Group’s shareholders are an international consortium of investors with global experience in the banking sector and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The Citadele Group is managed from Latvia with subsidiaries and branches in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Switzerland. Citadele provides transactions and card payments, loans, deposits, investments, asset management and leasing services, as well as a range of exclusive and unique products. In 2019 one of the leading customer service evaluation and improvement companies in Central and Eastern Europe, Dive GROUP, acknowledged Citadele as the bank with the best customer service in Latvia, and second best in Lithuania.
Statement of corporate governance is publicly available on the website www.cblgroup.com in Section ‘For investors’, Subsection ‘Financial statements’.