BML records over MVR 1bln in profit

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Bank of Maldives (BML) on Thursday released its audited financial statements and annual report for 2017, recording over one billion in profit.

BML recorded its best ever financial performance while simultaneously doubling its investment in local communities in 2017.

Profit Before Tax was MVR 1.416 billion, an increase of 4% in absolute terms and up 20% on an underlying basis when compared to the prior year. The ratio of non-performing to total loans reduced from 7.0% to 4.1%, while new lending of MVR 4.4 billion helped a large number of local individuals and businesses. Deposits increased by 15% which was well ahead of market growth levels, while capital and liquidity ratios were comfortably in excess of
regulatory requirements.

The past year has seen BML implement its largest ever program of investment in local communities under its ‘Aharenge Bank’ initiative. This program reached out to all corners of the country via more than 50 distinct projects which supported charitable, educational, sports and environmental causes.

The bank also opened three new branches in the atolls as well as 14 new Self-Service Banking Centres. Additionally, its network of agents providing services to those island communities without a branch or ATM was increased from 191 to 230.

BML CEO and Managing Director, Andrew Healy commented, “the past year has further strengthened our confidence in the Bank’s strategic direction. The results show an increasingly robust bank which is continuing to simultaneously grow and invest. I would like to extend my thanks to our wonderful team of staff for their extraordinary dedication during the year. Thank you also to all our customers, old and new, for your support. You can be assured we will continue to work hard and humbly to meet your expectations.”

Healy also highlighted the deposit growth and improved loan book quality, saying that it was particularly pleasing to see deposit growth of 15% which was also well ahead of the market. BML had supported a number of local individuals and businesses and very importantly, recorded a substantial improvement in loan book quality with ratio of nonperforming to total loans falling from 7.0% to 4.1%. Andrew noted that the Bank’s improved financial performance has facilitated its increased
investment in communities.

Commenting on customer service, Andrew highlighted some encouraging trends, as well.

“As in other countries, banking customer behaviors in Maldives are changing, with less reliance on branches
and ever-increasing demand for online services. An integral part of our customer service strategy has been to offer the convenience of 24/7 banking via a range of self-service channels. At the same time, we have been adapting our branches to become more welcoming “advice centres” when face to face contact is required. The increased adoption of online banking channels during the year – more than 90% of all transactions were conducted online, while 10 million deposits and withdrawals were through ATMs – has helped reduce branch footfall, leading to a better overall customer experience. In fact, recent independent research indicates that satisfaction among our Bank’s customer base is well ahead of the regional average which is very heartening.”

Referring to the Bank’s fledgling Islamic banking arm, Andrew continued, “Bank of Maldives may be relatively new to Islamic banking but BML Islamic grew strongly during the year. Our deposit base increased significantly and helped to put us in a position to launch a suite of home financing products which are proving very popular. There is a clear appetite in the country for Shari’ah compliant banking and we are on course to achieve our goal of providing a Shari’ah-compliant alternative to all of our conventional products by the end of 2018.”

Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Saeeda Umar also expressed positive trajectory on the Bank’s
performance stating that the business has given the platform to propose to shareholders a record dividend for 2017.

Saeeda commented on plans for international expansion. “The Bank has worked hard over recent years to implement a strategy designed to deliver the highest international standards in every aspect of our business. We feel we have made good progress and that now is the right time to look beyond the shores of the Maldives. Our main focus will of course always be on our home country where our business growth and extensive ongoing investment program demonstrate our commitment. However, overseas expansion makes sense as it will bring much needed diversification benefits and it will generate revenue to support our investments at home. I am happy to advise that we are in the process of applying for a banking license in another Asian country and
it is hoped we will be up and running before the end of the year.”

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