- UK EU Brexit opens door to alternative fintech hubs
- Israeli fintechs join global financial services giants in Europe’s fastest-growing start-up hub
- E-money license applications processed within three months – up to three times faster than elsewhere in Europe
- Access to the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) through the infrastructure of the Bank of Lithuania
Fintech in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius has boomed in recent years. Attracted by a startup scene that is growing around 40% a year, the city prides itself on its combination of a deep pool of tech talent, high quality of life and living costs that are up to three times cheaper than other European capitals. The country is already home to global financial services companies including Barclays, Western Union and Nasdaq, adding to a growing number of Israeli tech firms that are using the base for its European and development operations that includes Simplex, Blender and Wix.com.
Bank of Lithuania have launched a fast fintech licensing program for Israeli fintech and startup companies to use the Baltic nation as a gateway for European expansion.
Promoting the country as a destination for fintech startups the national regulator, Bank of Lithuania, is making it easier for Israeli fintech startups to launch in Lithuania from where they can gain access to over 450 million EU consumers. As part of the program fintech’s that base themselves in Lithuania will have their e-money license applications processed within three months – up to three times faster than elsewhere in Europe.
A range of other advantages are also on offer to fintech companies choosing to set up in Lithuania. Payment and electronic money agencies in Lithuania can access the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) through the infrastructure of the Bank of Lithuania, enabling them to avoid the broking services of many commercial banks. Additionally, Bank of Lithuania treats providers of payment services as financial institutions, enabling them to generate IBAN account numbers within twenty four hours of operation.
Israeli fintech companies that want to start trading in Europe face challenging regulatory hurdles before they can open for business. With the UK triggering Article 50 to start the countdown to leaving the EU and threatening the guarantee that UK banking license holders can automatically passport their rights to trade in the rest of Europe, the competition to find the right fintech base from which to trade in Europe is heating up.
Speaking at the event on Monday in Tel Aviv, Marius Jurgilas, Board Member of Bank of Lithuania commented, “We want to make Lithuania the most fintech friendly country in Europe – more competition means more innovation, and that can only be a good thing for Europe’s consumers and businesses. One of our strategic goals is to be a partner to financial institutions and I challenge anyone elsewhere in the EU to be able to find a regime as friendly, forward-thinking and committed to creating the environment that will allow the emerging digital financial services marketplace to thrive as we are building in Lithuania.”