How Ukrainian fintech companies should work in martial law situation?
A short version of this article for the most busy readers — you should work. Competently, honestly and in the legal field. So you need to work always in that way, regardless of the presence of martial law. Difficulties give rise to innovation. Innovation overcomes difficulties. It’s simple.
So, martial law was declared in Ukraine, — on a part of the territory, but still the next month Ukraine is in a situation that seems to be something unnatural for an innovative payment industry. Why is that? Fintech sphere as much as possible involves themself in the information flow of the most developed part of the planet. The one where there are no wars, where there is the rule of law and where the situation with military confrontation seems to be an echo of the distant past, frightening, but supposedly impossible at the end of the second decade of the XXI century. The Western world worked long and hard to achieve this result. We need to do this too. Here I systematized different answers to the questions of friends in one article.
Minimum panic, maximum analytics. And it’s better not to panic at all.
We omit the basic facts about the fact that martial law was imposed for 30 days, and its extension is possible only through repeated approval by the parliament. We will understand better in documents.
So, we have four regulatory documents:
- Law of Ukraine “On the regime of martial law”;
- Plan of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on the implementation of the rules;
- Decisions of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine;
- Decree of the President of Ukraine.
The main points for us are points 1 and 4, since they are the primary sources of something new, and not implementation.
The law “On the regime of martial law”: there are several restrictions on the articles of the Constitution, which should be followed.
Article 31: Telephone tapping and / or withdrawal of correspondence may be conducted. But in a specific case. This is not a «witch hunt».
Articles 41 and 42: Restrictions on title are allowed. Ok, this is theory. But how authority in practice can come to your office and say: “We need your server, a couple of IT people and laptops for them”? Remember: private property can be alienated only in the case of full reimbursement of value in accordance with the established compensation procedure. The cost is indicated in the act of evaluation, payment is carried out at the expense of the state budget.
You should also pay attention to paragraph 10 of the Law, according to which the cyber security of the state is enhanced. It concerns everyone who is somehow involved in IT, e-commerce or fintech.
Presidential Decree: no restrictions on the rights of citizens and business are not spelled out.
What can happen?
Martial law has primarily a psychological effect on the consumer sector. There is no curfew and forced labor service, therefore there are no real reasons why the transactional business operations may suffer. Nevertheless, users of payment services, buyers of online stores feel the pressure of a situation they have never seen or felt before.
The first is a reduction in demand for certain types of purchases and payment services. Users will postpone / cancel spending on digital goods, because now it is more relevant to have real things or money.
The second is to increase the role of money transfer services. Users optimize their costs, non-cash funds can be transferred to one account, and then the choice of payment service will depend on the degree of benefit you’ll provide them.
Third — the growth in demand for foreign currency. This should have been the first point, but the forecasts in this matter are the most unpredictable. Banks are clearly doing everything to make existing deposit portfolios in foreign and national currency so profitable so the desire to get this benefit can outweigh the panic.
What do fintech companies do?
To be an island of stability and adapt to the new situation ASAP. The market will not wait, neither your customers.
Optimizing the costs: native ad special projects, new projects and updates, in which you are not sure — this can be postponed. Support for high-quality operating work and the most profitable projects comes first. After that, invest only in what develops your company or project in perspective, because constant development should not stop.
Maintain loyal customers in this difficult time. One of your two most valuable assets is your loyal customers, whether you work in b2b or b2c. Those, who work with money, should understand, how their value is growing now — and the responsibility to customers grown with it. Make a commission a little less, or a small bonus on popular categories of payments, strengthen the loyalty program — all this will show the user you care amount him. And he/she will remember this when the storm subsides.
Maintain your team. The second most valuable asset is employees. Each of them may have their own personal history due to the martial law: relatives, real estate, planned trips, etc. Maintain a consultation with everyone on legal aspects, neutralize a possible panic and clarify incomprehensible moments, help in case of urgent need with a bonus vacation or money bonus. It is important to keep the team as productive as possible and with a working attitude. Yes, even arrange a party, the main thing is to rally people around the idea that carries them.
The powers of the law enforcement agencies is huge, and there are few possible restrictions on rights and freedoms. However, it is not spelled out, neither of which will be limited, nor the specific mechanisms of this kind. Here the case component is very important. In other words — we will not see the problem until it happens. One thing is important: you don’t have to sit waiting and do nothing. In short, Keep Calm and Carry On. Otherwise, your main problem wiln’t be martial law, but your low business efficiency.