Monday 21st January 2008 marks an important event in Malta’s banking history – the launch of Banif banking operations in Malta. The first branch was inaugurated in St. Julian’s by His Excellency the President of Malta Dr. Edward Fenech Adami during a ceremony hosted by the Banif Financial Group Chairman, Comendador Horácio Roque in the presence of the Banif Bank (Malta) plc Chairman Mr. Joseph Sammut, and Mr. Joaquim Silva Pinto, CEO of the Bank.
During his welcome speech about Banif’s new venture in Malta, Comendador Horácio Roque said, “Banif Bank (Malta) plc strives to become a key player in the Maltese market by capitalising on the knowledge and expertise gained from other countries with the same economic and social characteristics of Malta, like Azores and Madeira. The Bank will offer fully-fledged financial services through a differentiation strategy based upon high quality of service standards; innovative product portfolio; and advanced banking technology oriented towards efficiency gains, with the aim to bring more prosperity to the Maltese market”.
The Bank’s initial priority is to create a strong business structure based on solid internal processes. The next step will then be to focus on new customer acquisition and cross-selling, which will lead to network expansion and increased market share gains. This will enable the Bank to consolidate itself and focus on improving the financial well-being of its loyal customers.
Comendador Horácio Roque gave an overview of the Group’s dimension. Banif S.A. (Banco Internacional do Funchal) was established on the 15 January 1988 in Funchal, an autonomous region of Madeira in Portugal, following the take over of Caixa Económica do Funchal, a regional savings bank which was founded in Funchal, back in 1879.
With total assets of €10.3 billion, Banif Group employs 4,500 people in 450 branches, including 57 insurance offices, with more than 1,000,000 clients representing an overall market share of around 3.6% of the Portuguese financial services sector. However in Madeira and Azores, the Bank has a market share of 26% and 34% respectively, thus making it the market leader in those Islands.
Through a series of mergers and acquisitions, the Banif Group has expanded its operations and is now the 7th largest Financial Group in Portugal. Banif SGPS, SA (the Parent Holding Company of the Banif Group) operates in banking, insurance, leasing, consumer credit, factoring, renting, investment banking, asset management, international and off-shore banking business.
On the 15th January, Banif Financial Group celebrated its 20th anniversary with a major rebranding exercise endorsed by the brand signature – power of believing, which will provide the platform for further growth.
“The recent A-2 rating by Moodys and the election of Banif as one of the leaders of the future by Standard & Poor's, encourages us to go even further” added Comendador Horácio Roque.
Internationalisation has been a core element of the Group’s strategy over the last years, not only by leveraging the Portuguese community presence in the World but also by creating an adequate platform for the sharing of banking and insurance competencies across geographies.
Over the years, Banif expanded its operations outside Portugal and now serves the large emigrant communities from the Islands of Madeira and Azores through representative offices in Caracas (Venezuela), London (UK), S. Paulo (Brazil), Miami, Newark, San José and Fall River (United States), Toronto (Canada), South Africa and Bermuda. The Banif Group is also present in the Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Spain, Cape Verde and now in Malta through Banif Bank (Malta) plc.
The celebrations ended with a dinner at the Casino Maltese attended by the Banif Group local and foreign directors, shareholders, members of parliament and other important dignitaries representing constitutional and regulatory bodies. Singer Raquel Tavares and her band entertained the audience with a performance of Fado music.