In anticipation of the tennis tournament for representatives of banks and financial institutions, we talked with its organizer Arūnas Valickas, who shared with us the history, the changes over the past 12 years and plans for the future.
For more than ten years, the BFI Cup tennis tournament has been organized in Lithuania for representatives of banks and financial institutions. It unites players from the Baltic countries, Belarus and Sweden.
The sponsor of the event, which attracts special attention from the financial sector, is Penkių kontinentų bankinės technologijos (BS/2), owned by Penki Kontinentai. Among the employees of the group, there are also tennis players who are looking forward to meeting their business partners in an informal court environment.
In anticipation of the tennis tournament, we talked with its organizer Arūnas Valickas, who shared with us the history, the changes over the past 12 years and plans for the future.
— How did the idea of the BFI Cup tournament come about?
— When tennis began to gain popularity in Lithuania, my colleagues from several banks and I noticed, that there were many fans of this sport in the financial sector, from Board members to managers. After presenting the idea of such a tournament to the bank leaders, I received only positive feedback. They appreciated the possibility of holding their own "professional" tennis matches. In 2007, the first Lithuanian bankers' tournament started.
Three years later, we decided that it would be much more interesting if we invite colleagues from other countries. So, the international tournament was born.
— How did the number of players change?
— 8 financial institutions and about 60 players took part in the first tournament, last year — 14 organizations and more than 70 tennis players. We hope that this year their number will reach 100. Changes in the banking sector affect the number of participants: some financial institutions are closed, others combined, thus personnel changes.
— How did the tournament change throughout the years?
— Every year we try to edit the format of the tournament under the situation. Due to the decrease in the number of operating banks in Lithuania, we began to invite representatives of other financial institutions and organize various groups (for example, by age, gender).
New representatives of various financial institutions join the tournament. Our event is especially fond of participants from Latvia, only the best reviews come from them. We always try to take into account the wishes of the tennis players.
This year, a team of Belarusian financial companies headed by the Finance Minister of Belarus Maxim Yermolovich will perform on our court for the first time. We are negotiating participation in the tournament with representatives of Polish banks and Lithuanian insurance companies.
This project is being developed by the joint efforts of the organizers, authors of the idea, sponsors and the participants. We are pleased that BS/2 makes a significant contribution to the tournament, because most events, including sports, do not do without financial support from sponsors.
— Share with us the most memorable or unexpected moments of the BFI Cup.
— I most remember the tournament five years ago, when SEB Lietuva and Danske Bankas scored the same number of points. Bankers, as you know, know how to count. In the end, according to the overall results of each team, SEB was more fortunate.
— Tell us about the future of BFI Cup.
— The tournament will continue for as long as there are people who want to take part, and there is no shortage of them. We hope that the number of new teams will grow. This year, for example, Medicinos bankas will debut on the court.
We believe in the future of this event and hope to develop it at the international level. We are trying to establish partnerships with the European Bank and hope that someday its representatives will also be interested in our tournament.
— Thank you for the interview. See you at the BFI Cup on November 9-10 at the SEB Arena (Ąžuolyno st., 7, Vilnius).