Easing access to bank services for Ukrainians

Aug 10, 2022

Since last year, anyone living in the Baltics has been able to open a bank account remotely, and every third new customer in Latvia and Lithuania currently opens an account in Citadele using the mobile app, while this figure increases to two in three in Estonia. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, more than 4,800 applications have been submitted to branches throughout the Baltics by Ukrainian citizens — war refugees. To ease the application process for Ukrainians and offer them a more up-to-date digital experience, they will now be able to open an account remotely through the Citadele mobile app.

Ukrainian citizens who have fled from the war to Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia will be able to open an account for free. This previously required an appointment at a bank branch, bringing a travel document or ID issued in Ukraine or a temporary residence permit issued in Latvia. Now, Ukrainians can apply for a bank account through the app 24 hours a day. This can be done anywhere with phone and internet.

Opening a bank account can be done in three easy steps: downloading the Citadele mobile app; taking a selfie; and taking a photo of a Ukrainian travel document or ID and uploading personal details, including a Latvian, Lithuanian or Estonian-issued phone number and personal code. The application process takes 5-7 minutes. If the uploaded information is correct, the bank will contact the customer to arrange submission of a copy of a Latvian-issued residence permit. The customer will not have to visit the bank afterwards, as their card and documents will be mailed to their address in Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia.

“Citadele has brave digital ambitions: our main aim is to offer our customers modern financial services through the Citadele mobile app at any time or place. Bearing in mind that Ukrainians have become a part of our society, and seeing the large numbers of war refugees in the Baltics, we instantly began work on expanding the functions of our app,” explains Vladislavs Mironovs, Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer, Member of the Management Board at Citadele Bank. “Throughout the Baltics, we have already received more than 4,800 applications from Ukrainian citizens, and we were active in organising mobile branches specifically for serving Ukrainians. Bearing in mind that a bank account is a basic need in this day and age, the option of opening one remotely will help make this process easier and modern for anyone,” adds Mironovs.

When opening an account remotely, Ukrainian citizens receive a Citadele X card of their choice, allowing them to make contactless purchases and withdraw cash commission-free up to their card limit an unlimited amount of times from Citadele ATMs and once per month from other ATMs worldwide.

In February 2019, Citadele launched a new method of becoming a customer and receiving an X Smart card in Latvia: applying remotely without visiting a branch. Since summer 2021, small and medium business owners have also been able to open an account remotely, and currently two out of three business owners use this option

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