Saldo Finance UAB, a subsidiary of Finnish fintech Saldo Finance Plc, has been granted an SPB license by the European Central Bank, following the proposal of the Bank of Lithuania. That will allow the company to expand the range of services in Lithuania and contribute to creating a more competitive lending landscape. The company currently employs 19 specialists in the Vilnius office and expects to grow during the next three years. Saldo is the eighth company to be granted an SPB license in Lithuania.
Established in 2006, the company provides responsible lending for both consumers and businesses. Saldo has developed a fully automated lending system, with onboarding, credit decisions and money transfers all streamlined to the benefit of the end-user. “Saldo’s strength is our highly automated scoring system, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to assess customers’ solvency guaranteeing an immediate and responsible loan decision,” explains Jarkko Mäensivu, CEO of Saldo Finance. Full automation means Saldo can provide personalized loan offers for individuals and SMEs alike in less than a minute.
Unlike many other startups that grow through multiple funding rounds, Saldo became one of the largest fintechs in Finland by growing organically and funding expansion by reinvesting previous profits. With more than 500,000 customers served and a €34 million turnover in 2020, Saldo successfully entered the Swedish consumer lending market in May 2020 and started lending operations in Lithuania in March 2021.
Mäensivu explains that the primary goal for entering Lithuania was establishing a new hub to power software development and expansion into the Baltic lending market. “We looked at several European countries, but Lithuania was a good fit due to the well-developed Fintech landscape, which created suitable conditions for our company. We plan to grow our presence in Lithuania, and the specialised bank license will allow us to offer a larger range of services. For example, we are about to introduce SME lending in Lithuania,” he adds.
Vida Staskonienė, Director of Business Development at Invest Lithuania, congratulates Saldo on receiving the licence and plans to expand.
The company currently operates in Finland, Sweden and Lithuania, employing 45 specialists. The most significant growth is planned in the Vilnius office, where Saldo will be looking for professionals in software development, digital marketing, analytics & scoring, risk management, Anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) processes, as well as new product innovations. New personnel will be crucial for expanding the existing business and innovating new products for the future.
“Besides traditional credit products, we pay constant attention to innovations that help our customers manage their finances, and payments” adds Mäensivu. He adds that collaboration with Lithuanian universities may be one of the ways for future development. “We have had collaborations with Aalto University in Finland as well as Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, so further collaborations in R&D related projects would surely be on the table,” confirms Mäensivu.
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