Mediterranean Bank‘s philosophy has always been digital. In the midst of its relocation to new premises and rebranding as MeDirect, the Head of Business Development, Alanbek Yussupov and Chief Technology Officer, Kelvin Camenzuli discuss the technology at the heart of the bank.
Alanbek Yussupov is based at the bank’s London office and travels to Malta on a monthly basis. “Having an office in London gives us access to professionals whose specialist skillset and technical knowledge would be difficult to find anywhere but in a big financial centre like London. Our work within the business development team is focused on the business analysis and delivery of new products and services required by the business in both Malta and Belgium as well as supporting regulatory changes to keep the MeDirect Group in line with European banking regulations.”
“One of the biggest project so far has been setting up an online banking and wealth management platform, deploying it in Malta first and then adapting it for the needs of MeDirect Belgium. Building the platform required the development of a sophisticated structure of interconnected brokers, custodians, market data providers and technology suppliers. Customers logging into the platform do not (and nor should they) realise that behind the scenes is a complex and integrated technology which is scheduled to become even more elaborate in the near future due to ambitious new business requirements and regulations.”
“Since becoming the third largest bank in Malta and being classified as a systemic European bank, we have significantly increased investment in our regulatory compliance capability. Over the next 18 months we will be working on more than 10 major projects that will enable us to comply with regulations that are coming into force in both Malta and Belgium. One of these projects will include a significant overhaul of our retail and corporate banking platform in order to be compliant with the forthcoming Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2). PSD2 will be beneficial to customers as it makes their interaction with the bank more secure and gives them a very flexible and cost effective way of making payments and accessing all their bank accounts in one place. Our job now is to provide end users with a secure, efficient platform that complies with this new regulation and others including the second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MIFID II), which is aimed at safeguarding investors’ interests and making investment products more transparent. ”
Kelvin Camenzuli together with his team have recently moved to MedBank’s new offices at The Centre, Tigné Point, Sliema as part of the bank’s consolidation program that has seen all its administration and operations personnel relocated there.
“MedBank is a truly digital bank and this is reflected in the fact that technology is the biggest department in the bank. What we do is quite unique because instead of personnel manually processing information received from online sources, we focus on straight-through automated processing from the moment the customer applies for an account all the way until the customer carries out transactions such as trading or effecting payments. We began as a small bank in Malta, but the idea was always to be efficient through technology and we’ve always been driven by that ambition. Although MedBank has a branch network in Malta, MeDirect in Belgium is a fully online bank and we design everything knowing that our customers rely on our technology to open their accounts and invest their wealth completely online. The bank doesn’t first design a product and then figure out a way to digitise it, instead we design it digitally from the start. Similarly, the customer journey across different online banking services is designed to be user friendly and accessible to everyone. As online and mobile banking usage continues to grow, we’re focused on implementing the latest technologies that will give our customers the best possible user experience, which makes being part of our technology team really exciting because we are at the very core of the bank’s operations.”
“As part of the preparations for the relocation exercise, we also took the opportunity to overhaul and upgrade our entire network and security infrastructure so that we now have the very latest technology in place and make use of different service providers with multiple fibre optic cables connecting us to our customers in Malta and across Europe. Now that we are all based in the same office, literally sitting next to one another, collaboration between the different departments has become much easier.”
“This is a fast-paced environment with never a dull moment and there are always new projects in the pipeline, as one project is launched others are being designed. As Alanbek said, at the moment we are also working on a number of projects to implement new regulations and further automate our regulatory reporting processes which will continue to increase efficiency across our organisation.”