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The financial market development promoted by the Bank of Lithuania and the Newcomer Programme have won the prestigious Global Impact Award at the 2023 FinTech RegTech Global Awards organised by the online news outlet and journal Central Banking. 

Commenting on the recognition, Lukas Jakubonis, Head of the Centre for Financial Market Development at the Bank of Lithuania, said: “From the beginning of the rise of fintech, Lithuania has chosen its role as the innovation friendly jurisdiction. Fintechs have helped to increase the competition in the payment sector, to introduce consumer friendly products and services. We are pleased that the Bank of Lithuania’s contribution to balanced development is appreciated.”

Joasia E. Popowicz, Associate Editor of Central Banking, said: “The Bank of Lithuania’s fintech strategy has drawn fintech talent from around the world. The central bank identifies problems and opportunities in financial markets and seeks out fintechs who are innovating in that area, globally. At the same time, the central bank has shown a commitment to responsible sector growth through adding to its supervisory capabilities, as fintech continues to evolve at pace. Behind this work is a drive to benefit both citizens and businesses.” 

The Bank of Lithuania has been recognised for its Newcomer Programme overseen by the newly created Centre for Financial Market Development. This programme is designed to introduce potential financial market participants (start-ups, fintech companies) to the conditions for operating in Lithuania. Since its launch in 2016, the programme has had participants from 78 countries, with the number of fintechs taking part increasing from 94 to 179 over the past 12 months. The number of fintechs operating in Lithuania rose from 64 in 2015 to 263 in 2022. At the same time, the central bank has expanded its supervisory capabilities, introducing separate divisions for the supervision of electronic money and payment institutions as well as AML/CTF supervision.

The Centre for Financial Market Development, established just over a year ago, actively cooperates with existing participants in the fintech ecosystem to jointly address emerging issues as well as actively attracts new financial institutions, including banks, to the country. 

“As a regulator we are strict but loving. We value quality over quantity and aim for licensed in Lithuania to become a top-quality standard,” says Lukas Jakubonis. “We are ready to help companies which create value for consumers. This help includes recommendations, training, consultations, analysis and guidance. In return, we expect a mature attitude towards business development. It must go together with compliance, which is a key factor.”

This is the fourth Central Banking award received by the Bank of Lithuania for its innovative approach. In 2021, the Bank of Lithuania was granted the Award for Data Management Initiative for its Data Management Maturity Programme (DAMAMA). In 2020, it received the Global Impact Award and in 2018, the central bank was granted the first Catalyst Award. 

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