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Published: 1 april 2021 15:12

Boutique banking proves the right choice as Guru Pay start the year with record growth

Elektroninė bankininkystė
123rf.com / E-banking

During the period between December 2020 and February 2021, UAB Guru Pay, a licenced electronic money institution, saw a 28% increase in its client base and a staggering 23-fold increase in the number of payments made, their value rising threefold. According to the company’s CEO and co-founder Aleksandras Karpickis, attention to their clients, the rise in e-retail sales during the pandemic and the changing business conditions following Brexit have all contributed to Guru Pay’s performance.

A. Karpickis explains that, unlike most other fintech companies, Guru Pay is not oriented towards the broader segment of clients or a rapid increase in customer base. The company chose a different strategic direction – it works with small and medium-sized e-commerce, fintech and innovative companies in Lithuania and abroad, offering simple, everyday banking products and adapting payment solutions tailored to the specific needs of their business.

“For us, a client isn’t just a number in our statistics. All of our clients are our partners and as such, they are all assigned, individual managers. This ensures that, unlike the major players on the market, we are able to address the individual needs of our clients and offer the most appropriate payment solutions to them. This is what distinguishes us from others and reflects our goals for innovation,” says Povilas Ruzgaila, co-founder and head of commerce at Guru Pay.

Another reason for the unprecedented increase in the number of payments made via Guru Pay is the flourishing of electronic trade during the COVID-19 pandemic. Opening accounts and making online payments became normal practice for both businesses and individuals. The company’s development also received a boost from Brexit – almost 40% of Guru Pay’s new clients are from the United Kingdom. Companies operating there began to actively seek financial partners after Brexit in order to have the opportunity to participate in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). In terms of working with foreign clients, P. Ruzgaila emphasises the experience accrued by the Bank of Lithuania: “Lithuania is already known as a fintech leader in the world and the license of electronic money institution (EMI) issued by the Bank of Lithuania is seen as a guarantee of reliability and security. “EMI from Lithuania” is becoming a brand, which can shorten the path towards a new client quite significantly.”

According to the company’s representatives, an even faster rate of business development could be seen if electronic service companies had direct access not only to SEPA but the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), too. “As our clients operate around the world, payments in various currencies are relevant to them. While making international payments, we often encounter correspondent banks who look at each transaction through a magnifying glass. It is unfortunate, but after the notorious situation with the Scandinavian banks over money laundering through their Baltic branches, we are being assessed even more stringently. We are therefore investing in and implementing advanced money-laundering prevention tools within our business,” says P. Ruzgaila.

Another factor preventing the business from growing even faster is the lack of experts, particularly those who would be unafraid of working in an undefined and rapidly changing environment which nonetheless offers exciting future opportunities. “Our market is new, there are no textbooks on how to do things, but the opportunities are incredible. We select suitable people and invest in training them ourselves. What we care about most is the candidates’ approach – their curiosity, desire to improve and “improvise”, i.e. embrace and relish new challenges they will face every day,” explains Guru Pay co-founder A. Karpickis.

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