On October 11, 2017, CEELM reported that UAB Bite Lietuva had received a license from the Bank of Lithuania to operate as an electronic money institution. Jurgita Pelediene, the Legal Manager at Bite Lietuva, agreed to answer our questions on the procedure.
CEELM: How difficult was the process of securing the license? Were there any specific ambiguities that stood out/posed a challenge in the exercise?
J.P.: Securing the license revealed the best sides of our partner – the Cobalt law firm – and we were also lucky with the efficient cooperation of the Bank of Lithuania. Any issues we encountered were quickly resolved and the procedures ran smoothly, thank to effective collaboration with the Bank of Lithuania and also Cobalt’s excellent team. I’m really happy how smoothly it all went.
CEELM: What were the main criteria you had to fulfill in order to be awarded the license?
J.P.: There were several processes we had to go through. The first was to have a business plan with a detailed description of the service, including what the service is going to be like and how it is going to work. Second, we had to ensure that all of the processes would be done securely, meaning that all the measures for safeguarding the funds of electronic money holders and internal control mechanisms would be established and operating. We also had to demonstrate the competence and experience of our key executives. Obviously, it is important that services are run securely and are managed by experts with impeccable reputations.
CEELM: According to Cobalt, the license will enable Bite to offer "the safe transfer of money in just a few seconds knowing only the recipient’s phone number." Could you explain to our readers what technology is behind the instant payments and when it will be available to your customers?
J.P.: The solution itself is going to be quite complex and will require input from all the organizational functions: legal, business, and IT. However, the number one priority was to set up the relevant legal framework and create the IT infrastructure. The Bank of Lithuania is playing a big role in this. At later stages our IT department will have to ensure that everything works well from the technological point of view. That is why it is still too soon to name the date when it will be available to customers. However, we are satisfied that the changes will make the Lithuanian payment market more competitive and more user friendly for our clients.
CEELM: According to Cobalt, your company will now join the National Payments Strategy infrastructure development project implemented by the Bank of Lithuania. Are there any benefits/incentives provided to companies that join the project?
J.P.: We joined the project by signing the Memorandum of Understanding, which supports the National Payments Strategy prepared by the Bank of Lithuania. The goal of this initiative is to create ways for innovative, reliable, and convenient methods of payment. It will definitely encourage greater competition, which is finally always beneficial for customers. And we are sincerely interested in making the life of our clients easier. We are sure that the future belongs to instant and closely-integrated business payment methods, therefore we are happy to be a part of this process.
CEELM: Why did you choose Cobalt to support you?
J.P.: We have been working with the team at Cobalt for a long time; we particularly appreciate their expertise in the banking and finance sectors. Our confidence in Cobalt has once again been justified – they did their job very well.
CEELM: How was your collaboration on the matter set up? Was your legal function involved in any way directly or did you leave it up to Cobalt to handle the application process entirely?
J.P.: The application process was closely related to the business vision and actual information, which was on our side, therefore to make the whole process efficient we had to synchronize processes with Cobalt. They managed the formalities of the application process, while we took care of the business details, collecting all the documents and information they needed to portray our vision in detail.