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Baltic International Bank keeps its BBB+ financial crime compliance rating and takes its place among industry leaders!

News - June 18, 2021

Sigma Ratings, a New York-based rating agency, assigned repeatedly a BBB+ financial crime compliance rating to Baltic International Bank, whilst highlighting a number of improvements made by the Bank since 2019 when the BBB+ rating had been assigned to it for the first time. By assigning the BBB+ rating, Sigma Ratings has placed the Bank in Sigma’s ‘Industry Leader’ category.

The outlook for BIB is neutral, primarily due to its geographic exposure and global operational footprint.

Viktors Bolbats, Chairperson of the Management Board of the Bank, commented on the rating received: “We are truly delighted that the Bank has managed to keep its positive BBB+ rating, which is the result of a considerable amount of work accomplished by the Bank since 2019". Being recognised as industry leaders in this review is a further positive indication that allows the Bank to continue its work as an important local capital bank and contribute to the development of the public financial sector.”

In its report, Sigma Ratings pointed out that since the last review, specific work has been done by BIB to strengthen its approach to financial crime compliance including: i) de-risking from higher risk accounts; ii) re-focusing on the local market and broader opportunities in the European Union. This is part of a change in strategy for BIB, as well as a push by the Latvian regulator to encourage the regulator sector to reduce its risk exposure.

According to the report, the Bank has succeeded in keeping its current executive team, including key members of the compliance team despite a challenging market environment that includes both internal and external pressure. Moreover, since its last rating, the number of dollar-related payments reduced significantly.

“Baltic International Bank’s rating reflects our view that, despite increasing geopolitical tensions, the institution has improved its control framework since its last review in 2019. Specifically, a number of the areas identified by Sigma as part of the initial rating were addressed, as well as further de-risking of its customer base and an increased focus on financial crime compliance from an audit and risk assessment perspective”, the report notes. 

Sigma Ratings, Inc. (“Sigma”) is pioneering a technology-driven approach to understanding non-credit counterparty risk. Sigma issues ratings on company-level financial crime risk posture and utilizes a technology-driven approach to score millions of companies globally.

Sigma’s leadership team includes professionals with more than 100 years of combined experience, including deep domain knowledge on counter illicit finance-related matters as senior U.S. Government, legal, banking and finance experts.

The company is based in the United States of America and operates globally offering unique risk insights into a range of clients including financial institutions and investment firms, multinational companies, insurance firms and governments.

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