Among the many goals that drive BNF Bank, to be the bank of choice for businesses and individuals in Malta will always lead the way
It has been five years since JUD Investment Group, a subsidiary of Al Faisal Holding Group, acquired 75% of Banif Bank (Malta). Now known as BNF Bank (BNF), the period since the acquisition has been prosperous and productive, with BNF strengthening its capital base, sustaining growth and enhancing its core banking system. The injection of fresh capital, effectively bringing JUD Investment Group’s shareholding to 92.4%, has been crucial to the bank’s strategy, enabling it to build on solid foundations, while evolving the brand’s new, enriched identity. Preserving BNF’s core values of credibility and trust has remained at the forefront, and it is through these values that BNF has created a niche in the local community. The bank currently operates 12 branches across Malta and Gozo, a dedicated Corporate Business Office, and has recently opened a branch in London.
BNF’s drive to continually enhance its offering is reflected in the figures: performance is strong across the board, with tier 1 capital up from €40.82m in 2017 to €90.64m in 2020. Assets rose from €567.74m to €901.21m during the same period, and net profits up from €868,000 to €4.48m; return on equity is well above 6.3% in 2020.
It is now well documented that the Covid pandemic has disrupted the global economy, requiring banks to innovate, while standing shoulder to shoulder with their customers. This has been the reality for BNF, yet it has seized upon the chance to accelerate its digital transformation by upgrading the bank’s technology platforms to meet current demands. Thanks to the dedication and expertise of the bank’s staff, legacy systems have been brought up to speed and new technology rolled out. The bank has significantly upgraded its online platform and has introduced a new app tailored for handheld devices.
BNF sees the future of banking as mobile and recently announced its Vision 2023 programme, which will see it achieve full digital transformation in partnership with one of the world’s leading software suppliers. The process has already begun through the introduction of a chatbot to speed up response times to customer queries, and to help the bank reach out through various touchpoints, which improve accessibility in a fast-paced environment. These enhancements to the core banking system have not only helped alleviate the burden of the pandemic, but have also put BNF in a strong position to embrace a new era of digital banking.
Investment in the bank’s customer-facing assets has also been a primary focus. Over the last year, the deployment of contactless debit and credit cards has been in full swing, and all newly issued cards will be contactless by the end of 2020. The bank’s ATM network has also been upgraded with a new interface, while offering 24/7 express deposit machines in four of its main branches to give maximum flexibility.
CSR and ESG: A long-term vision
BNF Bank works closely with government, regulators and its partners in the financial services sector to embrace a greener future. The bank recognises the need for the global economy to be less reliant on fossil fuels and is developing a long-term vision to engage with initiatives that put the planet before profits. The transition to a green economy will not happen overnight, but it is important that all stakeholders understand the direction of travel and share a vision that safeguards the planet for future generations. The work starts at home, and making Malta a better place to do business and enhancing the quality of life for its citizens are the key drivers behind BNF’s ESG functions. The bank’s carbon footprint, purchasing policies and physical infrastructure are constantly monitored to ensure it falls in line with the values and expectations of the Maltese community.
BNF’s CSR policy identifies areas of society and the environment that require funding and support. The bank supports a broad range of charitable and non-profit organisations that play a pivotal role in providing education, empowerment and care to those most in need. It is important that banks remain faithful to their original purpose of serving the community, therefore BNF’s CSR strategy is built on five pillars: education, health, environment, philanthropy, and culture & heritage. The bank supports programmes that have a positive social impact by partnering with relevant stakeholders to focus on each area.
BNF is proud of its customer-centric approach, which has resulted in long-standing relationships based on trust and loyalty. These dynamics reflect the boutique approach that underpins BNF service: every customer, whether a business or individual is valued, and all are treated according to their unique requirements. To ensure the best possible outcomes, BNF invests in its staff and puts personal development and training high on the agenda. The last 12 months have not been easy, but BNF has shown what is achievable by investing in team values. And the work has not gone unnoticed, with BNF receiving two major accolades from The European.
Reflecting on this recent recognition, Michael Collis, CEO and Managing Director of BNF Bank said: “We are proud to be recognised as ‘Best Bank Malta’ for a second year in a row and ‘Most Innovative Digital Transformation Bank 2021’. These accolades are a testimony of the sustainable development of the bank over the last few years.”
“Special praise goes to the BNF team for their dedication, motivation and professionalism, and the bank will continue to invest significantly in both technology and branch network to expand its activities and client base, ensuring an integrated omnichannel offering.”