Malta’s First Digital Bank wins eBusiness award for the Best use of Technology in Business Transformation

MeDirect Bank Malta has won the “Best use of Technology in Business Transformation” category at the 2021 eBusiness Awards.

The eBusiness Awards are organised by Tech.MT and are aimed at celebrating the successes in technology and promote the most innovative initiatives in the eBusiness community in Malta. These accolades are an endorsement of Maltese success in delivering projects, initiatives, solutions or other achievements in the digital field.

The “Best use of Technology in Business Transformation” category rewards innovation, originality, scope, outcome and external impact. The award also recognises any positive contribution the innovation brings towards environmental sustainability.

“We are truly honoured and proud to be recognised for our efforts in being Malta’s first digital bank. Specifically, the eBusiness award focuses on the success of our new onboarding infrastructure that helps new clients complete their application in a matter of minutes in all countries we operate in” said Arnaud Denis, Chief Executive Officer of MeDirect Group.

MeDirect’s top priority is to provide their customers with the best experience through digital innovation and is therefore continuously adapting to respond to customers’ changing banking needs. The suite of savings and wealth products are available to customers digitally through a best-in-class mobile app and online banking platform.

In 2019, MeDirect embarked on a transformation journey to become a retail-focused digital bank. Through this journey, MeDirect’s technology underwent an impressive transformation, with the bank’s offering excelling at par with the best FinTech companies on the market.

Pawel Malukiewicz, Group Head – Channels and Customer Experience at MeDirect Bank Malta, stated: “This overhaul would not be possible without the direct insights of the Bank’s clients, who continue to push the brand to develop our products and services.”

The award is a great recognition of MeDirect’s successful transformation of the customer application process into a digital one. The new and simplified onboarding process was introduced in the last quarter of 2020, with the aim of significantly reducing onboarding time. The transformation process helped MeDirect improve both its efficiency as well as its customer reach, resulting in an increase of onboarded customers. The Group has also successfully deployed this upgraded onboarding process in Malta and Belgium.

Chris Portelli, Chief Technology Officer at MeDirect Bank Malta, said: “Such an award would not be possible without the top talent at MeDirect – this is one of the main pillars for the success of MeDirect’s technology transformation. As I thank all those involved for their dedication and hard work, I look forward to our upcoming releases within the digital onboarding space and other key initiatives MeDirect has been working on the past few months, including cards and other innovations in the investment space”.

MeDirect Bank forms part of MDB Group, Malta’s third largest banking group in terms of total assets and is a systemically important bank, supervised by the European Central Bank and Malta Financial Services Authority in Malta. The Group currently operates with a retail-centric strategy in both Belgium and Malta and offers customers a safe and convenient way to deposit their savings, together with an easy-to-use wealth platform with a wide range of investment products.


Il-Bank MeDirect jirbaħ unur tal-eBusiness għal L-Aqwa Użu tat-Teknoloġija fit-Trasformazzjoni ta’ Negozju, u jkompli jikkonferma l-pożizzjoni tiegħu bħala l-ewwel bank diġitali f’Malta

MeDirect Bank Malta għadu kif rebaħ l-unur fil-kategorija ‘L-Aqwa Użu tat-Teknoloġija fit-Trasformazzjoni tan-Negozju’ fl-eBusiness Awards tal-2021.

L-eBusiness Awards huma organizzati minn Tech.MT u huma maħsuba biex jiċċelebraw is-suċċessi fit-teknoloġija u jippromwovu l-iktar inizjattivi innovattivi fis-settur diġitali f’Malta. Dawn l-unuri jikkonfermaw is-suċċess f’Malta fil-qasam ta’ inizjattivi, proġetti, soluzzjonijiet u kisbiet oħra f’oqsma diġitali.

Il-kategorija ‘L-Aqwa Użu tat-Teknoloġija fit-Trasformazzjoni tan-Negozju’ jippremja l-innovazzjoni, l-oriġinalità, l-għan, ir-riżultat u l-impatt estern. L-unur jirrikonoxxi aspetti pożittivi li l-innovazzjoni ġġib magħha għas-sostenibbiltà ambjentali.

“Ninsabu onorati u kburin li ġejna rikonoxxuti għall-isforzi tagħna biex inkunu l-ewwel bank diġitali f’Malta. Dan l-unur jiffoka fuq is-suċċess tal-infrastruttura tal-onboarding li nedejna biex ngħinu lill-klijenti jsiru membri tal-Bank fi ftit minuti, f’kull pajjiż li noperaw fih,” qal Arnaud Denis, Kap Eżekuttiv ta’ MeDirect Group.

L-ogħla prijorità tal-bank MeDirect hu li jipprovdi l-aqwa esperjenza lill-klijenti tiegħu bis-saħħa tal-innovazzjoni diġitali u għalhekk jaddatta biex dejjem jagħti l-aħjar servizz lill-klijenti tiegħu.

Bis-saħħa tal-mobile app u l-online banking platform, il-klijenti ta’ MeDirect jistgħu jimmaniġjaw il-flus tagħhom minn kull fejn ikunu, xħin iridu.

Fl-2019, MeDirect nieda vjaġġ ta’ trasformazzjoni sabiex isir bank iffokat fuq il-ħtiġijiet tal-klijenti. Matul dan il-vjaġġ, it-teknoloġija tal-Bank MeDirect rat bidliet kbar, u l-bank beda joffri servizzi li jħabbtuha mal-aqwa kumpaniji FinTech fis-suq.

Pawel Malukiewicz, Group Head ta’ Channels & Customer Experience ta’ MeDirect Bank Malta, żied jgħid: “Dan it-tibdil ma kienx ikun possibbli mingħajr l-għajnuna tal-klijenti tal-bank tagħna li dejjem tawna r-rispons tagħhom biex inkunu nistgħu ntejbu u niżviluppaw il-prodotti u s-servizzi tagħna.”

Dan l-unur juri s-suċċess li kiseb MeDirect bis-saħħa tad-diġitilizzazzjoni tal-proċess tal-applikazzjoni għal membri ġodda. Dan il-proċess ġie mniedi fl-aħħar kwart tal-2020 bil-għan li jnaqqas b’mod sinifikanti l-ħin li wieħed jieħu biex jimla l-applikazzjoni biex isir klijent tal-Bank.

Dan il-proċess għen lil MeDirect itejjeb kemm l-effiċjenza kif ukoll kompla jilħaq iktar klijenti li wassal għal żieda ta’ klijenti ġodda li ngħaqdu mal-Bank. Il-Grupp nieda dan il-proċess aġġornat tal-onboarding f’Malta u anke fil-Belġju.

Chris Portelli, Chief Technology Officer ma’ MeDirect Bank Malta qal: “Unur bħal dan ma kienx ikun possibbli mingħajr l-aqwa ħiliet f’MeDirect. It-talent li MeDirect jimpjega huwa meqjus bħala wieħed mill-aqwa pilastri għas-suċċess fit-trasformazzjoni teknoloġika. Filwaqt li nirringrazzja lil dawk kollha involuti għad-dedikazzjoni u x-xogħol siewi tagħhom, inħares ‘il quddiem lejn proġetti ġodda fi ħdan l-onboarding u anke inizjattivi oħra li MeDirect ilu jaħdem fuqhom għal dawn l-aħħar xhur, li jinkludu l-cards u innovazzjonijiet oħra fil-qasam tal-investimenti.”

MeDirect Bank jagħmel parti minn MDB Group, it-tielet l-ikbar grupp bankarju f’Malta f’termini ta’ assi totali u huwa bank sistematikament importanti taħt is-superviżjoni tal-Bank Ċentrali Ewropew u l-Awtorità Maltija għas-Servizzi Finanzjarji f’Malta. Il-Grupp bħalissa jopera fil-Belġju u f’Malta u joffri l-klijenti tiegħu mod sikur u konvenjenti biex jiddepożitaw flushom, flimkien ma’ pjattaforma b’xelta ta’ prodotti ta’ tfaddil u investimenti.

Notes from the Trading Desk – Franklin Templeton

Franklin Templeton’s Notes from the Trading Desk offers a weekly overview of what their professional traders and analysts are watching in the markets. The European desk is manned by eight professionals based in Edinburgh, Scotland, with an average of 15 years of experience whose job it is to monitor the markets around the world. Their views are theirs alone and are not intended to be construed as investment advice.

The Digest

Equity markets paused for breath last week as earnings season wound down and investors took stock of fresh inflation data. It was also a much quieter week in terms of central bank news flow, which has been a key catalyst in prior weeks. Towards the end of the week there was some focus on rising COVID-19 cases in Europe, which weighed on travel and leisure stocks. On the week, the MSCI World Index traded down 0.3%, the S&P 500 Index was down 0.3%, while the European Stoxx 600 Index  gained 0.7% and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.8%.

Week in Review

United States

After a sustained period of positive performance for US markets, there was a couple of consecutive down days last on Tuesday and Wednesday. Last week, the S&P 500 Index fell 0.3%, the index’s first weekly decline in six weeks, although still within a whisker of the all-time high set recently. It is worth noting that electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla was a notable drag on index performance as it traded down 15% after Elon Musk sold over US$5 billion of stocks during the week.

Inflation Remains Key

Strong inflation data raised fears that the Federal Reserve (Fed) is behind the curve and would need to take more hawkish action in the future. The October Consumer Price Index CPI made a 30-year high at +6.2%, which drove the 10-year Treasury yield up 11 basis points (bps) and undermines the “transitory” inflation argument. With that, inflation concerns remain front and centre, with US President Joe Biden commenting that “everything from a gallon of gas to a loaf of bread costs more. It’s worse even though wages are going up. We still face challenges.”  You would imagine comments from the White House only add to the pressure on Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

A further sign of how inflation is weighing on sentiment came last Friday with a weak University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey. The headline reading came in at 66.8, and the report’s 12-month inflation forecast was 4.9%, the highest since 2008. Of note, it stated “one-in-four consumers cited inflationary reductions in their living standards in November, with lower income and older consumers voicing the greatest impact.” Based on this survey, US consumer sentiment is now at a 10-year low.

It is interesting contrasting that cautious consumer picture around inflation with the CNN Fear & Greed Index, which remains in Extreme Greed territory.

With earnings season and clarity around the Fed taper plan behind us, what are the next catalysts as we head into the US Thanksgiving and the quieter holiday season? The passage of the US social spending package through Congress will be a focus. Last week, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin was wary of the deal, noting that the threat posed by inflation to the American people is not transitory, and is instead getting worse. The implication being, he may not agree to new swathes of government spending in such an inflationary environment—another example of how omnipresent inflationary concerns are at the moment.

Geopolitics has to remain a focus for investors, with tension between the US/China and West/Russia simmering. However, it was announced that President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold a virtual summit, so given the recent tension between the two countries, this news helped soothe some nerves.

Of note, retail investor appetite for the market remains strong and has been a key driver behind recent gains.

The Financial Times also noted the impact of retail investing, with 5 November being a record day for trading, with US$2.6 trillion worth of options changing hands in the US market, the highest trading volume on record. Much of this trading has been in call options, derivatives allowing investors to bet that asset prices will rise.

Another supportive factor for markets is the return of corporate buybacks, as the blackout period came to an end post earnings season, allowing buybacks to resume.


European equities were better off again last week, helped by investor positioning and better-than-expected earnings reports. The European Stoxx 600 Index closed near all-time highs, up 0.7% on the week. While the US stock market performance was relatively subdued, it was interesting to see European equities failing to succumb to the same pressures. There may be a few reasons why.

Firstly, European equities aren’t nearly as well-owned, with recent flows favouring the United States. Secondly, central bank policy is more supportive for European stocks, as the European Central Bank (ECB) continues with its relatively accommodative stance. Finally, third-quarter (Q3) earnings in Europe have beaten consensus estimates overall. Bloomberg shows US and European equities neck-and-neck in terms of earnings growth, so European stocks remain interesting to investors as they are not as crowded as their US peers.

In terms of sectors, the basic resources outperformed on the week. The sector was helped by news out of China that the government was taking steps to ease restrictions on the real estate market, which triggered some strength in metal prices later in the week.

Travel and leisure stocks were particularly weak, giving back all their gains (and then some) following the Pfizer announcement the previous week. Sentiment turned negative, as German one-day COVID-19 cases topped 50,000 for the first time and as lockdowns are threatened across western Europe.

European macro data showed signs of improvement last week. The German ZEW Expectations survey came in at 31.7 vs 20.0, while the EU Sentix Investor Confidence Survey also beat expectations, coming in at 18.3. And finally, UK gross domestic product (GDP) grew by more than expected, up 0.6%.

Russian equities came under pressure at the end of last week amid reports the United States warned Europe that Russia may be planning an invasion of Ukraine. Reports noted a build-up of Russian military near the Ukrainian border. Russia’s initial response was that military deployments on its own territory are an internal matter and denied any aggressive intentions. This does potentially strain relations between the United States and Russia even further. It appears to be another pain point in relations between Russia and the West, and with that, we saw decent selling in Russian equities at the end of last week.

A surge in new COVID-19 cases in some European countries has been a concern of late. Cases have surged to new highs in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Slovenia, although hospitalisations remain below previous peaks as vaccinations and booster jabs continue to have a marked impact on patients avoiding serious illness.

However, lockdowns remain a threat to Europe’s economic recovery. The Netherlands announced a three-week partial lockdown to tackle surging cases. The temporary rules mean that bars, restaurants and supermarkets will be required to close by 8 pm; sports events are to be played in front of empty stadiums; and workers are encouraged to work from home where possible. Austria announced that it will enforce lockdown on anyone who is unvaccinated to cope with its recent surge in cases.

Asia and Pacific

Asian equities saw some relative outperformance last week for a change, with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index closing the week up 0.8% following a late rally last Friday. The overall outperformance was driven by strength in the Hang Seng Index, up 1.8%, and the Shanghai Composite Index, up 1.4%.

The main story was around the potential dialling back of restrictions on the Chinese real estate sector. Local news reports suggested that regulators may adjust existing rules to allow real estate firms to sell debt in the domestic interbank market. Other state media outlets confirmed that state-run banks had boosted lending to the sector last month. Chinese property developer Evergrande avoided default again last week after making an overdue interest repayment on a dollar bond.

Chinese inflation rose last week. Factory gate prices rose at their fastest pace in 26 years in October, as fuel shortages and rising commodity prices hurt supply. The Producer Price Index rose 13.5% compared to October 2020, higher than anticipated and the highest since 1995. Consumer price inflation also quickened, with the CPI 1.5% higher than at the same point a year ago, compared to 0.7% in September.

After some strong gains post the general election, Japanese equities were unchanged last week. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida did unveil some details of the fiscal package/stimulus headlines of c. ¥30 trillion (in line with previous pledge/reports), but some investors were disappointed the ¥100,000 handout to those under the age of 18 was not all cash (50/50 cash and coupon) and limited to family with annual income of less than ¥9.6 million.

The Week Ahead

It looks like a quiet week ahead from a macro data perspective, but there are a few highlights. In the United States, focus will be on retail sales and housing starts data. In Europe, we get GDP and inflation data across the euro area. The UK inflation data on Wednesday will garner more attention than usual given the furore over the recent Bank of England meeting.

Monday 15 November:

  • Chinese retail sales and industrial production (IP)
  • Eurozone trade balance

Tuesday 16 November:

  • Japan trade balance
  • UK claimant count & ILO unemployment rate
  • France CPI
  • Italy CPI EU
  • Netherlands GDP
  • Eurozone GDP
  • US retail sales
  • US manufacturing & IP

Wednesday 17 November:

  • UK CPI and Retail Price Index (RPI)
  • Italy trade balance
  • Eurozone CPI

Thursday 18 November:

  • Japan CPI
  • US Jobless claims

Friday 19 November:

  • Germany PPI
  • Italy industrial sales

Franklin Templeton Key risks & Disclaimers:

What Are the Risks?

All investments involve risk, including possible loss of principal. The value of investments can go down as well as up, and investors may not get back the full amount invested. Stock prices fluctuate, sometimes rapidly and dramatically, due to factors affecting individual companies, particular industries or sectors, or general market conditions. Bond prices generally move in the opposite direction of interest rates. Thus, as prices of bonds in an investment portfolio adjust to a rise in interest rates, the value of the portfolio may decline. Investments in foreign securities involve special risks including currency fluctuations, economic instability and political developments. Investments in developing markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors, in addition to those associated with their relatively small size and lesser liquidity. Past performance is not an indicator or guarantee of future performance.

This article reflects the analysis and opinions of Franklin Templeton’s European Trading Desk as of 14th November 2021, and may vary from the analysis and opinions of other investment teams, platforms, portfolio managers or strategies at Franklin Templeton. Because market and economic conditions are often subject to rapid change, the analysis and opinions provided may change without notice. An assessment of a particular country, market, region, security, investment or strategy is not intended as an investment recommendation, nor does it constitute investment advice. Statements of fact are from sources considered reliable, but no representation or warranty is made as to their completeness or accuracy. This article does not provide a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region, market, industry or security. Nothing in this document may be relied upon as investment advice or an investment recommendation. The companies named herein are used solely for illustrative purposes; any investment may or may not be currently held by any portfolio advised by Franklin Templeton. Data from third-party sources may have been used in the preparation of this material and Franklin Templeton (“FT”) has not independently verified, validated or audited such data. FT accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss arising from use of this information and reliance upon the comments, opinions and analyses in the material is at the sole discretion of the user. Products, services and information may not be available in all jurisdictions and are offered by FT affiliates and/or their distributors as local laws and regulations permit. Please consult your own professional adviser for further information on availability of products and services in your jurisdiction. 

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MeDirect Disclaimers:

This information has been accurately reproduced, as received from Franklin Templeton Investment Management Limited (FTIML). No information has been omitted which would render the reproduced information inaccurate or misleading. This information is being distributed by MeDirect Bank (Malta) plc to its customers. The information contained in this document is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or other professional advice nor does it commit MeDirect Bank (Malta) plc to any obligation whatsoever. The information available in this document is not intended to be a suggestion, recommendation or solicitation to buy, hold or sell, any securities and is not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness.

The financial instruments discussed in the document may not be suitable for all investors and investors must make their own informed decisions and seek their own advice regarding the appropriateness of investing in financial instruments or implementing strategies discussed herein.

If you invest in this product you may lose some or all of the money you invest. The value of your investment may go down as well as up. A commission or sales fee may be charged at the time of the initial purchase for an investment. Any income you get from this investment may go down as well as up. This product may be affected by changes in currency exchange rate movements thereby affecting your investment return therefrom. The performance figures quoted refer to the past and past performance is not a guarantee of future performance or a reliable guide to future performance. Any decision to invest in a mutual fund should always be based upon the details contained in the Prospectus and Key Investor Information Document (KIID), which may be obtained from MeDirect Bank (Malta) plc.


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