The CBK’s unfounded accusations have become legal diplomatic and political issue

Today, international microcredit and fintech company IuteCredit Europe held a press conference in Kosovo’s capital Prishtina, brought out the facts behind the unexpected and unjustified decision of the Central Bank of Kosovo to revoke its licence. The company stated that the CBK case has now become legal diplomatic and political issue and that their activity has been legal and protected by Kosovo law.

The press conference held today in the morning by IuteCredit Europe in Prishtina was opened by Korab Sejdiu, the certified arbitrator representing the company. The facts of the current situation of IuteCredit Kosovo were brought out by Rauno Kinkar, Attorney at Law Firm Lextal, representing IuteCredit Europe, and Evelin Kanter, Group Legal Officer at IuteCredit Europe.

“Considering that our IuteCredit has been around already for ten years and gained the trust of hundreds of thousands of customers, while entered two years ago to Kosovo market and servicing today more than 25 000 customers there, it was shocking to find out about this unlawful decision to liquidate a fully functioning and well known company,” Kinkar said.

Kinkar emphasized that the matter has already escalated to the diplomatic level, as the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent a formal notice to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Kosovo where he inquired the reasons why activities of IuteCredit Kosovo JCC have been suspended. “Estonia was one of the first countries to recognise Kosovo’s statehood and has always supported Kosova in its endeavours on a diplomatic level,” Kinkar stated and added that Estonia and Kosovo have had a good relationship to this day.

“Let’s be very clear – this is an international matter. Estonian investments are under direct threat and now is the time for cooperation, to avoid further damages to the Estonian investor,” Kinkar added.

Evelin Kanter, Group Legal Officer at IuteCredit Europe, reminded that CBK’s decision was unfair and came without prior notice. “The accusations of the CBK are unfounded. In the decision, the CBK is accusing IuteCredit of breaching our initial business plan submitted in the course of applying for the license in 2017. The submitted business plan was meant to be changed since the very beginning and this information was presented to the CBK since the very beginning and was also printed on the 1st page of the business plan,” Kanter explained.

“In countries with effective markets, a business plan is a document that belongs to the company and its aim is to help to achieve the company’s goal. The company also has the right to make changes in this plan, if it is necessary to fulfill its goals and that is what we did. There is no law in Kosovo that obliges us to notify CBK of changes we want to make in our business plans,” Kanter stated and added that IuteCredit Kosovo submitted a revised business plan to CBK on 14 November 2019, which reflected ICKO’s adjusted business operations, including, among others, reduced effective interest rates. According to Kanter, no notification has been received from CBK on that business plan.

Kanter also overruled the claims spread in media that IuteCredit’s rates are more than allowed. “This year, IuteCredit has provided loans at APRC of 59%. As a comparison – Estonia has a maximum APR of 58%. Therefore, it is nothing extraordinary and definitely nothing related to the % mentioned in the articles that present the interest rates of 236% and similar – we have not given out any loans with such interests,” Kanter stated. She added that the interests used by IuteCredit include the processing cost, interest expenses and credit risk, because these are unsecured loans – not collateral loans, for the first time customers. 

In order to protect the company, in particular, the employees, business partners, and investors of IuteCredit, the company is cooperating with international law firms and also continues to cooperate fully with the regulatory authorities in Kosovo. The company will disclose information as soon as new findings become available via its website

IuteCredit is an Estonian-origin international microcredit and fintech company focusing mostly on installment loans, including car loans. The average loan period is one year. Today, IuteCredit has become a leading microcredit company in Europe with a balance sheet of 100 million euros and more than 200,000 active customers. The company raises its funding through publicly traded bonds that are listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Company operates in Moldova, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Bosnia & Herzegovina. The portfolio of business partners of IuteCredit includes state postal services,  international teleoperators Orange, VodaFone, Deutsche Telekom, large electronics stores, etc.