Banco Nacional Ultramarino (BNU) is the first note- issuing bank in Macau and serves a customer base comprising over one-third of Macau’s population With expert knowledge of the regional market, BNU has brought success to its customers’ businesses and projects across a range of sectors, including retail, real estate, manufacturing, transportation, construction, public utilities and international trade. BNU supports thousands of companies, both large and small across
Banco Nacional Ultramarino or BNU’s main strategic focus is to maintain its existing customer base by constantly improving its offering; although the bank has also seen an increase in its customer base of about 24% over recent years to around 236,000 – approximately 36% of Macau’s total population.
In the period between 2011 and 2016, BNU’s business has more than doubled. The main focus of the bank’s expansion has been servicing SMEs and the retail banking sector. BNU has been primarily concentrating on Macau’s residents and businesses, while also exploring synergies with its parent bank’s (CGD Group) network across the Portuguese-speaking countries.
Banco Nacional Ultramarino prides itself on its diverse background and Portuguese heritage. One particular advantage that the bank holds is the linguistic expertise of its staff, allowing it to overcome cultural and language challenges for its clients in Chinese and Portuguese- speaking markets, thus removing barriers to business. BNU offers tri-lingual services to its customers. BNU’s communication materials are in English, Chinese and Portuguese. The bank’s front-line staff are proficient in English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Portuguese. BNU is one of the few banks in Macau to provide a 24-hour, customer service centre – which is not outsourced – to handle customer enquiries. It also has one of the biggest ATM networks in Macau, as well as state-of-the-art, internet and mobile banking platforms.
Banco Nacional Ultramarino is part of the CGD Group, the leading bank in Portugal. CGD Group’s presence expands throughout many countries, from America to Asia, passing through Europe and Africa. It is a European financial group with a truly worldwide representation.
CGD is present in seven Portuguese Speaking Countries (PSCs) with a leadership position in five: Portugal, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé
and Príncipe and East Timor. No bank in Macau knows PSCs as well as BNU. With BNU’s close links with PSCs via the CGD Group extensive banking network, the bank is in a unique position to promote bilateral trade between China and PSCs to support Chinese investors, as well as companies from PSCs seeking to expand into China.
BNU clearly understands that the bulk of trade and investment relations with PSCs is through China. With the opening of a BNU branch in Hengqin – an island located in Guangdong, Mainland China – and a Representative Office in Shanghai, CGD Group will play an even more active role in promoting business between Macau, China and PSCs. As the first international financial group to enter the Hengqin Free Trade Area, BNU is highly confident about Hengqin’s future as a key component to the overall development of the Pearl River Delta Region. The strategy will attract entrepreneurs from East and West to support Macau’s ambitious five-year plan.
Providing vital links
BNU also acts as a bridge for the economic and financial cooperation between China and PSCs, by providing financial cooperation between Guangdong and Macau, under the “China and Portugal financial services platform” and “Sino- Portuguese RMB clearing centre” policies.
CGD Group is already providing its clients, particularly those in the trade business sector, a suite of well sought- after services in RMB, such as payments to suppliers in China, deposits, financing, invoicing and payments to established companies.
BNU is a strong believer and supporter to China and Macau government’s mission to make Macau a platform for closer commercial relations between China and PSCs. This development has been enhanced by Macau’s commitment in several initiatives like the “Guangdong- Hong Kong-Macau Great Bay” and the “Belt and Road”, which BNU is certain will contribute to the development of all sectors of the territory and serve as platforms to further diversify the Macau economy.
Macau is the ideal partner for linking China and PSCs on trade and investment as it is a free port and adopts a simple and low tax system. Macau’s economy is back on an upward trend again after the slowdown of the past few years. The growth of Macau’s trade and investment environment is impressive and sustainable. Tourism continues to flourish with more than 32 million tourists visiting every year recently. In addition, new investment in infrastructure, such as the ferry terminal, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and the Macau light rail will bring in new opportunities and result in even closer ties with China.
Macau also holds annual events that are designed to promote trade and business partnerships, especially between companies in China and PSCs. An important example is the Macao International Fair – MIF, an international event where one pavilion is usually dedicated for the PSCs.
Macau’s importance in the development of relationship between China and PSCs is enhanced by the relocation of the headquarter of the Fund for Co-operation and Development between China and PSCs to Macau and the recent launch of three strategic centres in the city – a business and trade service centre for the SMEs in PSCs; a distribution centre for PSC goods; and a convention and exhibition center for economic and trade cooperation between China, Macau and PSCs.
The Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) agreement lowers threshold for Macau incorporated companies to enter into certain sectors of the China market and receive the same treatment as a local national entity. This puts Macau in a strong position to attract the interest of PSC companies if they consider entering into the Chinese market. BNU has seen many enterprises from PSCs to set up offices, or contact points in the territory to market their products to the Chinese mainland in order to enjoy the preferential treatment under the Macau and Mainland CEPA.
This dynamic approach, based on close ties to Portuguese-speaking African countries (Lusophone countries), together with a strong balance sheet and ample liquidity available, ensure Banco Nacional Ultramarino has a continued commitment to maintain the support to its clients and to this financial platform.