Banking sector in Lithuania experienced many changes since the country joined the European Union 15 years ago. A part of today’s banking services did not even exist 15 years ago. Banks have developed online services, changed technologies that way making customer’s life easier, and security issues are addressed more seriously.
Banks are rapidly conquering online market
Baking sector in Lithuania and services have seen major changes in the last 15 years. Considering the benefit of online services, the need for customer service centers gradually disappears. The long queues have become history, too. Customer service is available either by phone, online chatbox or e-mail, besides it is accessible not only during business hours but any time that is convenient for the customer, Kerli Gabrilovica, Head of Retail Banking of Luminor wrote.
Development of Internet has created work for many IT specialists who are responsible for online banking operations. Digital banking services also mean that there is no need for standard customer service. On those rare occasions when the customer needs to visit the bank in person, they expect a personalized approach that is tailored individually to each customer’s needs.
Digital solutions – from an unknown service to the most frequently chosen option
If five years ago people had to go to a bank branch to receive the required bank service, then today almost everything can be done online thanks to digital solutions. For example, to manage all mortgage related issues, it was necessary to go to bank several times – initial visit to clarify the circumstances and potential offer, and then to submit all documents.
Now it is possible to do it all remotely by submitting the required documentation electronically. Comparing to the Western Europe, Lithuanian and Baltic financial systems are technologically advanced because they have been built on comparatively new information technology platforms. Luminor experience shows that at the moment already 85% of customers in the Baltics chose online services for their daily banking needs.
Contactless cards replacing traditional payment cards in almost everyone’s wallet
In Lithuania, the first payment cards emerged in 1993, however, their active use for payments only started in early 2000s. Over the last 15 years, the technological developments, as well as consumer desire for simpler and quicker payments have resulted in contactless cards. Luminor started to offer such cards to customers since February 2017, and currently 95% of the bank’s customers who are contactless cardholders, are using them for their daily banking. Cash is being used ever less on a daily basis, and remote services are becoming an industry standard.
Joining the EU – additional security and convenient solutions
After joining the EU, banking sector in Lithuania also had to implement various international regulations which were not binding before. Even if at some point it seemed to be causing inconvenience, there is no doubt that these steps have ensured additional security and convenience for banking services.
A year joining the EU, the international standard for account format, namely, IBAN was implemented in Lithuania to eliminate the number of errors in payments and to speed up payment processing. In 2008 basis for SEPA was laid that significantly facilitated cross-border payments within the EU. “Know Your Customer” (KYC) principle requires the banks to assess customers more thoroughly and at the same time to ensure secure environment in order to prevent any potential money laundering and terrorism financing risks.
Decade after acceding to the EU, all Lithuania residents were affected by another change – we joined the eurozone. Today, we can enjoy hassle-free movement across the eurozone countries without worrying about currency rates and foreign exchange, yet, until recently, it was an essential part of travelling abroad. For people with credit liabilities, in turn, the greatest benefit from adoption of the single euro currency definitely was the reduced foreign exchange risk.