“Most people remember where they were when the financial crash came,” says Georg Ludviksson, CEO and co-founder of the digital banking solutions provider Meniga.
In his case, he had just returned to Reykjavik with an MBA from the U.S. to take up a new post with an Icelandic bank. The collapse of Iceland’s banking system put paid to that.
“Living on a tiny island where the biggest banks’ balance sheet was over ten times that of the value of the national GDP, when the crash came, its impact was enormous,” Ludviksson says.
After the banks collapsed, $85 billion in debt, 50,000 peoples had their savings wiped out. As the Icelandic krona plunged by 80%, capital controls were imposed on businesses, pensioners and individuals that would last till 2017.
“The banks here had expanded very aggressively,” says Ludviksson, in his office overlooking Kópavogur. “They were complacent – they didn’t have to try. The banks found it easy to recruit all the brightest people.”
“The crash changed everything,” he says. “Now people don’t want to work in banks, they want to be part of something meaningful and feel they are working for themselves.”
Ludviksson saw at first hand the impact that financial…