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HomeNordic MarketsLithuaniaLithuania’s Fintech Strategy Supercharging its Ecosystem: An interview with Vaida Česnulevičiūtė -...

Lithuania’s Fintech Strategy Supercharging its Ecosystem: An interview with Vaida Česnulevičiūtė – Markevičienė, Vice Minister of Finance.

In an enlightening interview, Vaida Česnulevičiūtė – Markevičienė, Lithuania’s Vice Minister of Finance, discusses the nation’s rise as a top European fintech hub. She explores the country’s strategic approach to fintech and green finance, emphasizing Lithuania’s innovative fintech ecosystem, collaborative strategies, and global influence in e-money and payment institutions.

In an exclusive interview with Vaida Česnulevičiūtė – Markevičienė, Lithuania’s Vice Minister of Finance, the conversation turned to Lithuania’s flourishing role as a leader in the European fintech sector. Česnulevičiūtė – Markevičienė oversees Lithuania’s investment policy and financial market development, with a special emphasis on fintech and green finance, areas crucial for the country’s economic growth. Lithuania has emerged as a top fintech hub, recognized for its innovative ecosystem and supportive regulatory framework.

“We’ve successfully created a fintech ecosystem, making Lithuania the number one fintech hub in Europe” notes Česnulevičiūtė – Markevičienė, a spot that the country has held since, with the highest number of fintech licenses issued.

The Vice Minister described Lithuania’s fintech strategy as a response to a concentrated banking sector, seeking to introduce competition through fintech. This approach has led to the creation of a robust ecosystem, propelling Lithuania to the forefront of the European fintech scene, with an emphasis on IT services and global exports.

“Our new five-year strategy aims to position
Lithuania as a high-value fintech destination.
Vaida Česnulevičiūtė – Markevičienė
Vice Minister of Finance”

Vaida Česnulevičiūtė – Markevičienė,
Vice Minister of Finance

The recent Lithuania’s fintech strategy, according to Česnulevičiūtė – Markevičienė, displays a maturation from the previous yearly fintech industry development plans which focused on volume. In the new document, the country’s ecosystem has tilted its focus towards growth and scalability, aimed not just at attracting fintech companies but enabling their qualitative growth, maturity, security, expansion, and international reach. She explained the strategic focus on expanding the sector: “Our new five-year strategy aims to position Lithuania as a high-value fintech destination.” This strategy also underscores the importance of a conducive regulatory environment and strong infrastructure. “Česnulevičiūtė – Markevičienė notes that the new strategy puts emphasis not only on activities of regulated entities but also on those that provide tech solutions to other market players”

But in its expanding role as a main fintech hub, Lithuania has sought further opportunities to cement its importance in the industry. In 2023, Lithuania placed a bid to host the anti-money laundering agency, AMLA, proposing Vilnius as its new home, amidst bids from other markets like Paris, Dublin, Riga and some other. With a serious focus on security and compliance, Lithuania has proactively established an Anti-money laundering Center of Excellence, a public-private partnership with specialists in compliance and anti-money laundering. This is a great example of collaboration between the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Lithuania and the country’s financial sector that combine the expertise, knowledge, and good practices of public and private sector experts. Česnulevičiūtė – Markevičienė highlighted Lithuania’s ranking among the top 10 globally for the least money laundering risk,its thriving AML Center of Excellence, and a unique certification program for
AML and Compliance specialists as Lithuania’s commitment to maintaining a low-risk financial sector.

The Ministry of Finance has prepared the Lithuanian Green Finance Action Plan for 2023-2026, which provides for allocation of public and private investor funds to green, environmentally neutral projects. The plan provides a significant boost in increasing the competitiveness, resilience and sustainability of the Lithuanian economy. Also in order to promote the development of the country’s green finance, the plan envisages the creation of a centralized sustainability database that would allow data-based decisions to be made regarding the environmental impact of companies or projects.

Last autumn The Green Finance Institute has been established for the smooth transition of Lithuania to a green economy, for the creation an ecosystem that would help mobilize both public and private funds and to become a regional leader in the field of green finance. Institute is responsible for consultations, research, education and outreach, connection between public and private sector, advice to the policy makers, leading the promotion of Lithuania as a jurisdiction for sustainable finance.

Taking the lead in the region by giving consulting services, the Green Finance Institute would significantly increase Lithuania’s advantage in the region.

One of the unique aspects of Lithuania’s fintech ecosystem, is its collaborative nature. Discussing its open approach to co-developing the sector the Vice Minister added: “Our ecosystem is closely knit and collaborative… involving a wide range of stakeholders.” The development of the fintech strategy involved various stakeholders, ensuring a co-developed approach that serves the fintech sector’s needs. This collaborative approach is hard to replicate and is built on trust among institutions and market players.

Looking ahead, Česnulevičiūtė – Markevičienė envisions continued growth for Lithuania’s fintech industry. The goal is to support company growth, attract innovative firms, establish a skilled talent pool, and maintain a low-risk environment. “With our innovative regulatory framework and rich talent pool, Lithuania is an ideal environment for fintech business expansion.” she confidently stated. Česnulevičiūtė – Markevičienė also emphasized the value of events like Fintech Day in bringing together the financial sector and regulators, fostering understanding and promoting innovation through open and honest dialogue that drive progress in the industry.

Finally, Česnulevičiūtė – Markevičienė urged companies and talents to consider Lithuania’s fintech ecosystem, highlighting its proven value in serving a significant portion of the EU’s adult population.

“Our Ecosystem has already proven its value, serving one in every ten Europeans, a significant portion of Europe’s adult population. With a regulatory framework that fosters innovation, a relevant infrastructure, and a talent-rich environment, Lithuania is an ideal location for business expansion in Fintech” she concluded.

Chris Crespo
Chris Crespohttp://nordicfintechmagazine.com
Chris is a Founding Partner and Chief Editor at Nordic Fintech Magazine, where he simplifies complex financial ideas into easy-to-understand content. With nearly 20 years of experience in management consulting and financial services, including leadership roles with some of Europe's largest banks, he offers profound industry insights. Previously serving as the Chief Futurist at the largest bank in the Nordics, Chris has sharp views on the Future of Financial Services, Money, Disruption, and Ethical AI in Finance. He is also a guest lecturer at Stanford University, Singularity University and Copenhagen Business School, where he frequently discusses the future of Money, Finance, and Entrepreneurship in Financial Services. As a Behavioral Economist, Chris is passionate about studying how human behavior and decision-making relate to risk. He also delves into the connections between psychology, leadership, and technology within financial services.
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