Deputy Governor Fusha: CBK is advancing the regulatory framework and infrastructure for payment services towards inclusiveness and financial integration

21/02/2024

The Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo is in the process of advancing the regulatory and supervisory framework and infrastructure in the field of digital payment services and the FinTech sector, stated the Deputy Governor for Banking Operations, Mr. Dardan Fusha at the founding ceremony of FinTech Kosova (FIKS).

Deputy Governor Fusha emphasized in his welcoming speech that the continuous digitization of financial services creates opportunities for more efficient, more accessible and more comprehensive financial services, thus promoting the economic development of the country.

“The application of digital technology in the field of financial services, or known also as FinTechs, are making major changes in the form and manner of providing financial services, processes that were accelerated during the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic”, emphasized Deputy Governor Fusha.

“The FinTech sector has undergone tremendous growth over the past few years, changing payment systems and traditional banking in many countries. In Kosovo, so far, four non-bank financial institutions have been licensed in the field of digital payments and three existing institutions have expanded their activity, as a result of regulatory changes based on EU standards, to enable the operation of FinTechs and innovative services in the local market”, added Deputy Governor Fusha.

According to Deputy Governor Fusha, in recent years, the FinTech ecosystem has had a rapid expansion in the Republic of Kosovo.

“The ecosystem of FinTechs has expanded in the last 2-3 years in the Republic of Kosovo, which has made it possible to attract investments for local and foreign companies, mainly in payment services and international transfers of small value, including remittances. CBK has shown readiness to advance in the construction of a friendly environment for developments and innovation, where many FinTechs see it as an opportunity to expand in the Western Balkans market”, emphasized Deputy Governor Fusha.

The Deputy Governor for Banking Operations has added that the financial system of the Republic of Kosovo is undergoing a rapid change in the field of innovation and migration towards digital payments and services.

“CBK, as a regulator but also a catalyst, is determined to expand opportunities and adapt international rules and best practices that enable the provision of new digital services to businesses and consumers. Financial services enabled by these technological developments are growing constantly from banks, but also from FinTechs and new non-bank financial institutions,” said the Deputy Governor for Banking Operations at the CBK.

However, Deputy Governor Fusha pointed out that these benefits must be carefully weighed against the new risks that come from providers of completely digital services, especially the risk from cyber-attacks and misuse of data.

In this regard, financial institutions licensed by the CBK, in order to advance the payment system and increase the quality and efficiency of payment services for their customers, are encouraged as follows:

  • Invest in infrastructure and build human capacity;
  • Advance risk management policies, procedures and processes to ensure business continuity, as well as confidentiality and integrity of information when outsourcing services;
  • Address cyber risks through close cooperation with the CBK and the state authorities responsible for cyber security at the state level; and
  • Increase attention to the external ownership and origins of funds of potential clients and investors, through the observation mechanisms (Investor's Screening Mechanism), taking into account the current geostrategic risks. 

Regarding projects aimed at improving services to citizens, Deputy Governor Fusha emphasized that CBK is in the process of investing in building infrastructure capacities and human resources. CBK is engaged in the following as well:

  • To develop and create opportunities for access to the payment system of non-bank service providers, to increase competitiveness after enabling the possession of IBAN, to increase access to finance, within the new concept of “account for payments”;
  • To develop the technical infrastructure for enabling fast payments 24/7, the creation of the national QR Code and the standardization of the API for the interconnection of systems;
  • To advance the regulatory and supervisory framework for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, related to payment and transfer services; and
  • To strengthen the National Council of Payments at the country level, where the meeting was recently held with the expanded membership of the council, including representatives of NBFIs. 

“These developments will affect the strengthening of the supervision of FinTechs, for which the CBK has established the special function for the supervision of information systems and cyber risk for financial institutions, the function for the supervision of the practices of providing services by financial institutions, as well as the strengthening of financial education, as a tool for the correct and fair handling of the requests arising from such services”, emphasized Deputy Governor Fusha.

In the end, Deputy Governor Fusha encouraged that financial institutions licensed by the CBK, in order to advance the payment system and increase the quality and efficiency of payment services for their customers, to increase cooperation with a focus on creating interoperability between systems and their services, as well as the harmonization and standardization of the way of communication and exchange of data and financial messages.