Community Bank Every Step of The Way


10 September 2021

 

Access the full interview with our CEO on www.forbesmiddleeast.com/; www.forbesmiddleeast.com/featured/brand-voice/bnf-bank-community-bank-every-step-of-the-way

BNF Bank is a Maltese bank with branches in Malta and London that strives to be the bank of choice for individuals and businesses, creating products that offer solutions for customers and facilitate growth. CEO of BNF Bank, Michael Collis, says that community is at the heart of the bank's business philosophy. "What we have tried to do is to embed the bank within the culture of the society here. We are not the biggest bank on the island, but we try to be a community bank. We have 12 branches around the island and each branch is heavily involved with the local community. The best achievement in terms of the long-term stability and brand recognition is embedding the bank within the community in which it serves."

BNF Bank has been recognized as Bank of the Year 2020, an achievement that demonstrates their dedication to community is what sets them apart from competitors. Collis says, "We are very proud of that achievement. For us, the essence of the bank is to put the customer at the center and to be connected to the community." Through this vision, BNF Bank's products are then designed with the consumer in mind, creating long-lasting relationships through every stage of life. Collis continues, "Take, for example, the home loan. It is a simple product, but a very powerful one because the connection you get with the customer will last 25 or even 30 years. The idea is to develop a suite of products that takes customers through a life journey: from when you are a student to when you retire so that they see the bank as a partner. That's what we do, and for a bank of our size, as opposed to being the biggest player, we can be the most connected with the customers." For BNF Bank, the objective is to be a bank of a lifetime.

On the business side of BNF Bank, their services range from small start-ups to the largest companies in Malta, aiding business owners along their journeys as well. "Again, the closeness of the relationships that you have," says Collis," is very important because of the nature of the companies you're dealing with. It's families' livelihoods and their businesses, it's an important thing." The pandemic, as well, has had an impact on the bank's relationship with businesses in Malta. "We see a lot of people who either want to start a business or want to expand their existing businesses. Small businesses are a very significant part of what happens in Malta. We have special facilities in place in conjunction with the European Investment Fund and the Malta Development Bank to assist people who start a business. SMEs are at the center of our focus."

BNF Bank's adherence to its values of ambition, responsibility, and empathy was especially key during the Covid-19 pandemic. During a time of increased uncertainty, BNF Bank quickly evolved to meet the consumer's needs during the unprecedented year. Collis says, "We stayed open all the time. In a very practical way, all the branches stayed open all the way through the pandemic. We had to adapt our business operationally to ensure that could happen, but from a client's perspective, they probably wouldn't notice the difference in terms of the day-to-day operations and our relationships with them. Although that sounds simple, there was a lot of hard work to make that happen."

Emerging from the pandemic, Malta is ready for investment and poised for great economic expansion. Collis says, "Malta has significant industrial activity, the economy is well diversified with very strong sectors, and is an attractive place to invest and do business." As a foreign investor, BNF Bank should be the bank of choice as it is majority-owned by foreign investors itself. "We know what it's like to come here as a foreign investor so we can be a solid partner in that respect. I am very positive about the future here. We know how the island is developing and what the opportunities are."

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