Banks have made a commitment, during the adoption of the euro, to work longer and provide favourable conditions for a smooth changeover
Commercial banks in Lithuania, Šiaulių bankas among them, on Thursday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Good Practice during the Preparation for the Adoption of the Euro (hereinafter — Memorandum) with the Bank of Lithuania. By this Memorandum, banks have made a commitment, during the most intensive changeover period, to serve customers at their branches longer, provide favourable conditions for putting cash litas into bank accounts, as well as apply other measures so that residents and businesses could exchange their money as smoothly as possible.
“Banks will have to play a very important role in the exchange of litas into euro. In order that this process is as simple as possible for residents and businesses, the Bank of Lithuania has initiated this Memorandum. It comprises basic aspects of banking business that, with an increase in customer flows, would help avoid "jams" and related time-waste, as well as negative emotions”, says Vitas Vasiliauskas, Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania. According to him, the increased need for residents and businesses to exchange large amounts of cash will not only require additional effort from each bank, but their coming together, goodwill and common understanding of the goals.
The Memorandum with the Bank of Lithuania has been signed by the banks conducting cash operations — Citadele bankas, Danske bank, DNB bankas, Finasta, Medicinos bankas, Nordea, SEB bankas, Swedbank and Šiaulių bankas.
By signing this Memorandum Šiaulių bankas undertakes to comply with the principles of good faith, responsibility and transparency, also, to ensure that inhabitants and business enterprises would not suffer any inconveniences through the Euro adoption process and that the exchange of litas to Euro would be of smooth, simple and "not painful" character. We have been preparing for the Euro adoption in Lithuania not for the first month already , i.e., we are accurately "doing our homework", updating the bank's information systems, figuring out the clients' needs as well as changes to be faced by their business while changing the prices from litas to Euro. I do believe that we will be well-prepared to this exceptional event falling at the clash of the year which is important to entire Lithuania", - says Vytautas Sinius, Chief Executive Officer of Šiaulių bankas signing the Memorandum with the Bank of Lithuania.
Dainius Labutis (ELTA) photo
“Banks fully understand that the adoption of the euro is not only a complex process in technical terms, but a socially sensitive that as well; thus, during the adoption, they will extend the working hours of their branches according to their possibilities, and will allocate additional technical and staff resources so that the euro adoption is smooth and convenient for customers,” says Stasys Kropas, President of the Association of Lithuanian Banks.
According to S. Kropas, the updated IT technological systems are capable to substantially ease the loads to banks' physical branches; therefore, both today and during the adoption period, bank customers are urged to use electronic payment instruments, thereby minimizing problems related to cash changeover.
The banks that have signed the Memorandum, during the intensive changeover period at the end of this year and at the beginning of next year, taking into account customer flows, are going to extend the working hours of their customer service units, also, where there are technical possibilities, in the second half of 1 January 2015 and the weekend of January 3–4, to provide conditions for customers to exchange cash litas into euro. At the end of 2014 and during the first days of the euro adoption banks will also increase the number of staff performing cash changeover operations and will apply other measures to ensure a smooth changeover.
Heads of the banks jointly with the Bank of Lithuania have also agreed on the network of bank branches to cover the whole of the country's territory, through which litas will be exchanged into euro free of charge. The list of banks that will exchange litas into euro free of charge in the near future will be approved by the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.
The Bank of Lithuania, seeking to ensure proper service of residents, smooth activities of banks and cash in transit companies during the frontloading of euro banknotes and coins and the first days of the euro adoption, is going to extend the working hours of the branches of the Bank of Lithuania servicing banks and residents, on 1 and 3 January 2015 to open customer service cash offices, and, if needed, to also work on other days-off and holidays.
Having taking into account the limited possibilities for the small distribution businesses and service providers to envisage the necessary amount of funds for collateral against euro and ensure adequate storage of funds received during the frontloading, banks have made a commitment during the last five calendar days of 2014 to provide favourable conditions for the small enterprises for proper acquisition of euro banknotes and coins.