By mid 1993, the number of commercial banks in Latvia had exceeded 60. Then, the number has declined to almost one third of that figure, due to several reasons, including banking crises of the years 1995 and 1999. The banking crisis of 1996 involved the loss of about 40 percent of the banking system’s assets and liabilities.
At the end of 2007, according to the 2007 Annual Report of the FCMC, there were 21 banks and four branches of foreign banks operating in Latvia. Today, there are 27 banks operating in Latvia, large percent of them is owned by banks from Sweden and other Nordic countries, six banks are branches of foreign banks. Many banks have significant base of nonresident deposits. The remaining banks are domestically owned. Some of them operate as full range banking service providers, all the others work in certain niche markets with specialized services.
According to the information published by the Association of Latvian Commercial Banks, in the second quarter of 2010 the leading bank is Swedbank, it is the first by various kinds of activities — by the amount of assets (market share 21.1%), deposits (14.7%), issued loans (24.2%). SEB Banka ranks the second by all indices, with 14.2% of the market by assets, 11.7% by deposits, 14.5% by loans. The other banks that rank in the first places by different indices are Nordea Bank Finland Latvia branch, DnB NORD Banka, Aizkraukles banka and Rietumu banka.
Generally, the year 2010 was begun by the Latvian banks with unpresedented losses, non-performing loans and the unsolved problem of JSC Parex Banka influencing the market, but at the end of the year the situation in Latvian banking sector looked much more positive.