Establishing a credit institution in Estonia

In Estonia, credit institution operates as a private limited company or commercial association. Credit institutions have the exclusive right to receive money from the public for the purposes of depositing or to receive repayable funds in any other manner. If a credit institution is founded as a private limited company, it is required to use the word ‘pank’ (bank) in the business name. Similarly if the credit institution is founded as association, it is required to use ‘ühistupank’ (association bank) in the business name.

A company wishing to receive cash deposits or other repayable funds from the public on any other manner must hold a corresponding authorization (i.e. activity license). This authorization is granted by the Financial Supervision Authority for companies founded in Estonia. The authorization is granted indefinitely and it is not transferable.

In order to apply for the license, the applicant (management board of the company) must submit a written application to the Financial Supervision Authority. This application must include all documents and information specified in the Credit Institutions Act. The Financial Supervisory Authority makes a decision to grant or not to grant the license within six months after receiving all the necessary information and documents. 

The Initial capital of a Credit institution must be equivalent of at least 5 million Euros. The initial capital consists of the capital and reserves specified in Article 26 (1) (a)-(e) of Regulation (EU) No. 575/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

A credit institution registered in a EU Member State, the branches thereof have the right to engage in activities of a credit institution in Estonia provided that such activities are subject to supervision for the protection of depositors and investors.

In Estonia besides large Scandinavian banks there are 3 smaller banks, like Versobank AS, share capital is 14 088 775.20 euro. The biggest shareholder is Ukrainian company UKRSELHOSPROM PCF LLC. Equity is approx. 12 175 000 euro.

TALLINNA ÄRIPANGA AS, share capital is 25 500 000.00 euro, biggest shareholder is Leonarda Invest AS who owns 48,29 %, all other shareholders have each less than 10 %. Equity is approx. 18 054 000 euros.

BIGBANK AS, share capital is 8 000 000.00 euros and it is owned by 2 natural persons in equal parts. Equity is approx. 80 million euros.

In Latvia the smallest banks are: Latvian Post Bank, which share capital is 11 750 000 EUR;
Trasta Commercial Bank with share capital of 26 696 000 EUR; and
Rigensis Bank with share capital of approximately 37 560 000 EUR.

Therefore the commercial value of these banks is higher than the share capital.
Please be informed that all other existing banks in Latvia are larger and have Scandinavian, Russian or local capital. 

In Lithuania local and lower capital banks are Medicinos bank and Siauliu bank.
Other banks are larger and leaded by Scandinavian capital.
The smallest is Medicinos bank having approximately 20 million EUR share capital, thus commercial value of this institution would be much higher.
Finasta bank was purchased by Šiauliu bank this year, and Citadele bank received new foreign investors recently.  

Despite the banks, Lithuania has other type of financial institutions established - Credit unions.
Credit union do render most of the financial services rendered by banks however their capital sufficiency requirements are nearly twice higher (20 % personal against loaned portfolio),  fixed geographic area of lending services, limitation on investment in property (only for personal need - premises), limitation on investment (only governmental, ECB securities) and other. 

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