President: Banks need to improve e-residency services or lose all customers

President Kersti Kaljulaid.
President Kersti Kaljulaid. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

President Kersti Kaljulaid says that bottlenecks in Estonia's e-residency program still exist, particularly in the banking sector, with many e-residents experiencing difficulty in opening accounts, something which the larger banks should heed.

Speaking at an event on Saturday marking the 5th anniversary of the unveiling of the e-residency program, the president noted that the numbers of e-residents was significant, online portal Delfi reports (link in Estonian) and roughly equals the number of children both in Estonia in the past five years (a little under 70,000), adding that there have been plenty of challenges, including changes in the international fintech sector even as banks tend to continued to focus on domestic markets.

President Kaljulaid said that it was thanks to fintech companies that e-residency continues to exist, noting that banks ought to listen or run the risk of losing not only e-residents' business but that of the broader public.

The president also noted how the program, created in late 2014 with the aim of providing citizens of foreign countries with secure access to the Estonian state's e-services, was a good example of how the public sector can turn a profit.

E-Residents received a digital ID and card, can digitally sign documents and log in to all portals and systems which recognize the Estonian ID card, though e-residency – thought to have brought in ove €30 million in direct revenues to the Estonian economy since it was founded – does not constitute citizenship, tax residence, or a residence or entry permit either to Estonia or the EU.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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