- Business activity returned during the second half of the year and number of active customers reached all-time high for Citadele with 326 thousand clients as of end of December 2020, 4 % growth year over year
- New financing in 2020 reached EUR 477 million and Baltic deposits continued to increase by EUR 482 million in 2020, 18 % growth vs. year-end 2019
- Citadele has become the owner of SIA UniCredit Leasing in the Baltics and has rebranded it to Citadele Leasing
The Covid-19 pandemic continued to impact global economy in the last three months of 2020. The Baltic region has fared better than many other countries, resulting in smaller GDP decline than the rest of euro area so far.
“The main focus in 2020 has been to secure the safety and wellbeing of our employees and ensuring a continued high and safe service level in our customer interactions. On the back of the digital strategy of Citadele, the last year’s main challenge with Covid helped us further accelerate some solutions to secure our clients access to remote financial services. Digital on-boarding, convenient and easy to use e-comms solutions, mobile POS terminal instantly at the branch, availability of Sky Branch 24/7 services, broad mobile app functionality, on-line mortgage application and scoring, payments to phone number and wide range of payment products, incl. new generation X cards, Apple Pay and payment ring, was welcomed by our customers and helped them to get safe financial services from home or to adjust their businesses to the market needs and current environment,” reflects Johan Åkerblom, Citadele CEO, on year 2020.
Strong client base and the next-generation payment cards
Overall business sentiment in the last three months of 2020 was positive. Active customers reached all time high of 326 thousand clients as of end of 2020, or 4 % growth year over year. Mobile App users and Internet bank customers increased by 9 % and 1 % year over year, respectively, reaching 143 thousand active Mobile App users and 195 thousand active Internet Bank customers.
X smart cards were introduced for kids and youngsters, and new innovative X card based on subscription model were presented. “We are used to subscription plans and analogue services for many products and services, but they have not yet been available for everyday banking services - payment cards. Citadele is the first bank in the Baltics introducing innovative payment cards that are based on a subscription model. Now, all the new-generation X cards can be used both as debit cards and as credit cards, with the option of choosing to use a credit limit or not, and our new X cards offer free cash withdrawals from any ATM in Latvia and worldwide, as well as free transfers to any bank worldwide,” says Citadele CEO.
EUR 477 million issued in new financing to Baltic private and business customers
New lending to Baltic private, SME and corporate customers reached EUR 477 million in 2020 where the last three months were the strongest with EUR 151 million in issued financing, 7 % increase quoter to quoter. The total loan book as of end of the 2020 was EUR 1,541 million.
Strong liquidity and capital ratios
Customer deposits reached EUR 3,671 million as of end of December 2020, an increase of 12 % compared to the end of 2019, indicating the financial strength of our customer base.
The consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic have had a negative impact on 12 months 2020 results and year was closed with EUR 3.6 million net profit. Business activity resumed in the second half of the year. Net profit in the last quarter of 2020 reached 24,1 million, and the bank also expects year 2021 to result in improved financials.
Citadele continues to operate with capital and liquidity ratios well above regulatory requirements.
Credit rating upgrade to investment grade and one of the best customer service in the Baltics
On 29 September 2020, Moody’s has upgraded Citadele’s credit rating to Baa3 with stable outlook. On 17 February 2021, the rating was affirmed changing the outlook to positive.
Our commitment of providing the best customer service was once again confirmed by Dive’s annual customer service evaluation survey. Citadele was named the bank with one of the best customer services in the Baltics, coming first in Latvia for the sixth time.
Citadele acquisition of SIA UniCredit Leasing in the Baltics has been completed
Citadele has become the 100 % owner of SIA UniCredit Leasing in the Baltics, along with its 100 % owned subsidiary SIA UniCredit Insurance Broker (including its Estonian branch). The acquired entity is part of the Citadele Group as of beginning of 2021. The acquisition will give additional positive financial impact in 2021. As of February 2021, SIA UniCredit Leasing is rebranded to SIA Citadele Leasing and SIA UniCredit Insurance Broker - to SIA CL Insurance Broker. “With Citadele Leasing, we are strengthening our positions and will significantly increase our market share in the Baltic leasing market. Our plans include continuing the successful development of our leasing products, becoming the leading leasing player, and providing the best client and partner service in the Baltics. The clients will also enjoy the benefits from the rest of the Group. The biggest winners of this will be our clients and business partners,” emphasises Johan Åkerblom.
About the Citadele Group
Citadele’s mission is to modernise the banking sector and offer more opportunities to clients and businesses throughout the Baltics.
Citadele is the second largest bank in Latvia by assets. The Citadele group is managed from Latvia. Its subsidiaries and branches operate in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. In 2020 one of Central and Eastern Europe’s leading customer service evaluation and improvement companies—Dive GROUP—recognised Citadele as the bank with the best customer service in Latvia and the second best in Lithuania.