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Bank of Lithuania invites Israeli fintech firms for Startup Visa licensing program
The Bank of Lithuania has invited Israeli fintech startups to apply for the Baltic nation’s fast-tracked licensing program Startup Visa, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The announcement was made at an event in Tel Aviv earlier this week and aims to provide Israeli fintech firms with a gateway to European markets. Apart from offering fintech companies with a European base in Lithuania, the startup licensing program confirms to process their e-money license applications within three months.
“We want to make Lithuania the most fintech friendly country in Europe. More competition means more innovation, and that can only be a good thing for Europe’s consumers and businesses,” Marius Jurgilas, a Bank of Lithuania board member, said during the event.
Startup Visa is also offered by few other EU countries for non-EU states and Lithuania’s three-month licensing for fintech firms is the speediest program of its kind in the EU. It permits companies to start trading immediately after receiving their license, a bank spokesperson told.
The Bank of Lithuania administers the program and is run jointly in partnership with the Invest Lithuania and Go Vilnius organizations. The bank will also be treating fintech companies that provide payment services as financial bodies by enabling them to generate IBAN account numbers within 24 hours of operation.
“Intensifying trade relations between Europe and the Israeli economy lead to increasing demand for promoting the development of the payment and settlement infrastructure, which supports trade activities,” Jurgilas told The Jerusalem Post. “The Bank of Lithuania supports the plans of Israeli companies to establish banks or electronic payment institutions in Lithuania and to offer efficient payment services for their customers.”
Jurgilas further explained that Israeli fintech startups that will operate in Lithuania will maintain foreign exchange services, including collecting payments from European customers in euros and transferring shekels to Israeli customers.