Interview with: Darius Kulikauskas, Ph.D., CEO of  Pervesk and advisor at Bankera

Darius Kulikauskas is the CEO of Pervesk UAB and an adviser at Bankera. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Vilnius University where he also obtained his Master of Laws. Prior to joining Bankera, Darius worked at the Bank of Lithuania, which is the financial market supervisory authority in Lithuania, one of the leading jurisdictions for fintech companies in Europe.

1. Can you tell us about Bankera?

Bankera is a modern bank account alternative for individuals and businesses. The solution is powered by Pervesk, an electronic money institution licensed by the Bank of Lithuania, in European Union. Our services for individual users include dedicated European IBAN accounts with support for SEPA and SWIFT transfers. Our clients are also able to enjoy Visa debit cards (Pervesk is a Principal member of Visa and Mastercard organizations for payment cards issuing), and Bankera mobile app, designed to make their everyday financial operations a comfortable experience. For businesses, Bankera offers a diverse selection of solutions, including SWIFT and SEPA payments, payments cards, ability to access and manage their accounts through API and even EU-wide financing.

 

2. Please describe your industry/main market

What makes Bankera special is that we are open for almost any market you can think of. However, we are especially comfortable working with clients operating in digital sectors, such as eCommerce, cryptocurrency, trading, hosting, IT, online gaming, VOIP, affiliates, consulting, and others many of which are overlooked by most other financial institutions.

 

3. What are Bankera’s main services?

The main services of Bankera are dedicated EU payment accounts (multi-currency), SEPA and SWIFT payments, debit cards (corporate and for your customers). Bankera also offers white label solutions for its clients – Banking-as-a-Service platform, payment accounts, virtual IBANs, card issuing. The second branch of Bankera’s services consist of business loans to businesses in the EU. In our ecosystem we have a range of other services to offer, including crypto exchange and accepting crypto payments for your business. In short, we are very well integrated and could often offer our clients a complete solution in payments.

 

4. What direction is the EMI’s industry going in terms of growth after the explosion of companies in the last few years?

Electronic money institution license opens a lot of opportunities for fintech upstarts to create innovative solutions in digital wallet and payment spaces. Quite a few brave ideas will probably will not withstand the market test and most ‘experimental’ EMIs will not remain in the medium-term, especially, given that the amount of EMIs makes the market extremely competitive. While for basic everyday financial needs this is enough in most cases, banking services remain out of reach for EMIs. It is safe to assume, that most of successful EMIs will at least explore the possibility to enter banking market and joining the ranks of neo-banks.

 

5. Can you describe what are the 3 main opportunities in the banking industry in Europe?

Understanding the needs of clients from digital sectors, bridging the gap between traditional and decentralized finance and introducing proper XXI century technology into banking are definitely the opportunities that are far from being exhausted not only in the European banking industry but in the whole world.

 

6. How do you cope with the regulation and your regulator?

Regulation and supervision of financial markets has been around for so long that it is not seen as something that has to be ‘coped with’. At least for us, compliance is part of our culture and we see it as an integral part of what being a responsible financial market participant consists of. We take great pride in our compliance know-how which enables us to provide services for digital-first or digital-only clients even with the most complex corporate setups. And we are absolutely sure, that our customers can rely on our services being available in the long-term because of our responsible compliance approach.

 

7. How to do you see your industry 3 years from now?

I think it is very safe to assume that quite a few market participants will have to withdraw from the market just because they take an opportunistic approach regarding compliance. Other than that, it seems that even entrenched (‘older’) financial institutions are shifting towards financial products based on decentralized technologies. In three years, we might even witness first proper government issued digital currencies. I would not go as far as to say that traditional financial institutions or the demand for their services will disappear but it is clear that the future of finance is going to be much more decentralized than in non-connected past.

 

8. Bankera:

A. What are your most valuable strengths?

We are extremely flexible and have first-hand experience from boundaries-pushing digital industries such as virtual currency. This, coupled with our willingness to help customers that sometimes can find themselves overwhelmed by compliance requirements makes us a perfect choice for customers from underserved industries or clients with the need for non-standard solutions.

B. Which industries do you focus on?

We have our sights on iGaming, virtual (crypto) currency, electronic commerce industries and undertakings focusing on creating marketplaces for virtual goods. We are very comfortable working with digital-only businesses, so hosting, IT, trading and similar industries are also very welcome.

C. What make you unique in the financial institution industry?

As a company we have our roots in virtual currency exchange business which is really not that common even among innovative EMIs. This not only allows us to better understand customers from the aforementioned and related sectors, but has also shaped our culture which values innovation, speed and flexibility. Last but not least, we find that our customers find it very important that we are willing to go an extra mile in order to understand their businesses, especially in cases where our competitors would rather dismiss them due to complexity.

D. How to do you see Bankera 3 years from now

Bankera is definitely going to be a fully-fledged bank that offers accessible and convenient payment and banking services in 3 years from now on. With the shifting regulatory sentiment regarding decentralized finance, we will be offering services that allow clients to seamlessly access both traditional and crypto services from a safe and user-friendly environment at extremely attractive prices.

E. What do you think clients tell about you?

We have a number of clients, both business and individuals, so probably there is no single opinion. Our live support team is active 24/7, so clients can tell us what they think directly to us. We especially appreciate client feedback regarding what features they’d like to see us develop.

 

Our team is currently at 100+ people, so we are big enough to have most  functionalities you may need in place, and we are small enough to accommodate your specific requests. Talk to us regarding payments accounts or white label  solutions – we are very flexible in addressing the needs you may have.

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