PNB Banka (previously Norvik Banka) to be supervised directly by the European Central Bank


PNB Banka notes that The European Central Bank (ECB) has agreed to the request from Latvia’s Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) to assume direct supervision of PNB Banka in light of the case filed by PNB Banka against Latvia at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).


PNB Banka’s claim against Latvia relates to unfair and inequitable regulatory treatment, and allegations of corruption and improper coercion by senior persons within Latvia’s regulatory apparatus.


Chairman of the Board of PNB Banka, Oliver Bramwell, said:


"PNB's balance sheet and ranking alongside the 100 or so ‘Significant’ banks overseen by the ECB shows we are an outlier, and that this is a non-standard decision by the ECB. It is based less on supervisory issues, but around the legal dispute PNB has with Latvia and its regulatory apparatus. We very much hope that by transferring to ECB direct supervision PNB Banka will at last experience high quality supervisory oversight and fair and equitable treatment. We have not experienced this under Latvian regulation.


"Latvia's FCMC has said it wishes to avoid any misunderstanding and possible reproaches in regulation. This is a key issue. Our fight in the courtrooms has been about unfair, inequitable and illicit behaviour, and we hope this intervention by the ECB helps to reduce such problems. We remain optimistic that PNB Banka will not be penalised for the transgressions of Latvia’s officials in the past. We are seeking assurances from the ECB that Ilmars Rimsevics, the Head of Latvia's Central Bank who was arrested on corruption charges last year, must be excluded from any regulatory decisions that involve PNB Banka."


"Longer term the credibility of Latvia’s FCMC and the Single Supervisory Mechanism (of which it is a part) can only be restored with a full ECB investigation and by holding accountable all individuals implicated in wrongdoing. The ECB has previously ignored our whistleblowing attempts but we hope it will now start to investigate. It is deeply counterproductive if there is any perception that those who denounce corruption are being isolated and subjected to discriminatory treatment."


Within the framework of a single supervisory mechanism of the European Union, three commercial banks in Latvia - Swedbank, SEB and PNB Banka - will now be directly supervised by the ECB.


Information from the FCMC: