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MeDirect Bank continues to invest in technology and deliver growth within a rapidly evolving market environment

During 2021, MeDirect Group moved forward dynamically in the implementation of its strategic roadmap and demonstrated continued resilience and ability in responding to a rapidly evolving market environment through its transformation and technology strategy.

When announcing the full-year 2021 financial results, MeDirect stated that it continued to transform its balance sheet, developed its WealthTech platform by launching its new Wealth SuperApp in both Malta and Belgium, launched a number of new asset classes such as Belgian and Maltese mortgages and built its capital buffers to historically high levels.

“Our strategic goal is to create a pan-European WealthTech leader and grow a complementary specialised mortgage platform as the two main sources of value creation. The successful delivery of that strategy rests on the ability to build our WealthTech platform, grow our retail franchise focused on affluent customers, de-risk and diversify our balance sheet through mortgages and strengthen the operating model,” said Arnaud Denis, Chief Executive Officer of MeDirect Group.

One core development that took place in 2021 was the continued development of MeDirect’s Wealth SuperApp, designed to meet the needs of the underserved affluent market segment for wealth services. The aim is to offer, on a single platform with open architecture, a broad range of online investment solutions, superior user experience and attractive pricing, combined with high quality transactional banking capabilities. Customers can choose from amongst more than 1,500 mutual funds, as well as 500 ETFs, 3,000 equities and 300 bonds, trading on 17 stock exchanges around the world.

This package of investment services is complemented by seamless and easy-to-use mobile banking with multi-currency capabilities. Later in 2022, MeDirect intends to launch its virtual and physical card product. Through one attractive and easy-to-use platform, MeDirect provides its clients with the choice of how they want to invest and grow their money, while giving them the possibility to use the app seamlessly for everyday banking.

Mr Denis added: “The Group operates as a tech company on par with fintech standards. MeDirect has evolved as a service aggregator with a cloud-agnostic platform designed with scale in-mind and substantial room for growth. As one of its core advantages, MeDirect owns the intellectual property of critical elements of its value proposition, including all client-touchpoints and service aggregation capabilities. This has enabled the delivery of a true omni-channel solution available on both web and mobile.”

He said that the Group’s performance was achieved in a year marked by the extreme disruptions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as economic and geo-political dislocations including higher inflation, supply chain disruptions and increased international tensions.

Michael A. Bussey, Chairman of MeDirect Group stated that “notwithstanding these 2021 headwinds, MeDirect Group continued to increase its business activity and recorded rapid growth in its client base in the jurisdictions in which it operates whilst achieving high levels of customer satisfaction. Our Group will continue to develop and deploy new products and improved user experience by leveraging its advanced tech platform.”

MeDirect’s customer base grew to 102,000 in 2021, up 37% from year-end 2020. In addition, a 165% increase in new customers was recorded in 2021, with 30,000 new customers acquired during the year. The Group’s customers accounted for Eur4.5 billion of client financial assets, of which Eur1.5 billion were investments held in custody with MeDirect.

In Belgium, MeDirect was once again rated in the top five banks for digital investing and savings by spaargids.be. In Malta, MeDirect’s digital onboarding solution was the Winner of Tech.MT’s award for Best Use of Technology in Business Transformation.

MeDirect Group continued the de-risking and diversification of its balance sheet, a process that started in 2019. As a result, the Group’s international corporate lending portfolio has been reduced to Eur0.6 billion at year-end 2021, down from a peak of Eur1.8 billion in March 2019.

The capital released has been used to strengthen MeDirect’s capital ratios and to reinvest in mortgage products in the Netherlands and more recently in Malta and Belgium. MeDirect’s low-risk Dutch government guaranteed mortgage portfolio reached Eur1.7 billion by year-end 2021.

MeDirect’s total capital ratio has increased to 19.2%, the highest since it began to be regulated by the European Central Bank as part of the Single Supervisory Mechanism in 2016. MeDirect also maintains ample liquidity, with a Liquidity Coverage Ratio of 363% as of year-end 2021. Such ratios are in excess of all regulatory requirements, recommendations and management buffers.

Overall, borrowers in our corporate credit portfolio have evidenced an improved operating performance during 2021 following the economic recovery during the year. Considering the prudent level of provisioning already applied in 2020 due to the pandemic, impairment losses have been significantly reduced from Eur65 million in 2020 to Eur2 million in 2021.

Notwithstanding significant continuing investment in its technology platform and the growth of its operations, MeDirect has managed to maintain its fixed cost base almost flat when compared to the previous year. As a percentage of total assets, fixed costs were reduced from 1.50% in 2020 to 1.24% in 2021.

The reduction in impairments referred to earlier and cost discipline contributed to a significantly improved financial performance, from a loss before tax of Eur75 million in 2020 to a loss before tax of Eur14 million in 2021, while continuing to significantly invest in the platform.

MeDirect Group has intensified its focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives, with the appointment of a Group Head of Sustainability and the set-up of an ESG Committee. In addition, it continues to integrate ESG principles into the business and raise ESG awareness within the organisation. In the context of workplace diversity, MeDirect employs the nationals of over 22 countries and has a workforce that is 41% female, including a number of senior executives.

Mr Denis concluded: “In summary, 2021 witnessed the Group’s recovery from the extraordinary challenges of 2020. In spite of a volatile macroeconomic environment, MeDirect continued to show highly disciplined execution of its strategic transformation roadmap. Notwithstanding the macro-economic challenges, the Group is confident that it can create a sustainable business model by executing its business plan and deploying its leading WealthTech platform at a pan-European level.”


Il-Bank MeDirect ikompli jinvesti fit-teknoloġija u jespandi f’suq li qed jevolvi b’rata mgħaġġla

Matul l-2021 il-Grupp MeDirect mexa ‘l quddiem b’mod dinamiku bl-implimentazzjoni tal-pjan strateġiku tiegħu u wera aktar reżiljenza u ħila biex jilqa’ għall-isfidi u bidliet mgħaġġla li qed iseħħu fis-suq, bis-saħħa tal-istrateġija tat-trasformazzjoni u tat-teknoloġija tiegħu.

Meta ħabbar ir-riżultati finanzjarji annwali tiegħu tal-2021, MeDirect spjega kif kompla jittrasforma l-balance sheet, żviluppa l-pjattaforma WealthTech tiegħu bis-saħħa tal-Wealth SuperApp il-ġdida li tnediet kemm f’Malta kif ukoll fil-Belġju, nieda wkoll servizzi ġodda bħal self għal xiri ta’ djar (home loans) fiż-żewġ pajjiżi, u bena wkoll ir-riservi tal-kapital tiegħu għall- għola livelli li qatt kienu.

Arnaud Denis, il-Kap Eżekuttiv tal-Grupp MeDirect, qal: “L-għan strateġiku tagħna hu li noħolqu bank Ewropew b’ WealthTech li tkun fost l-aqwa li jeżistu u li magħha niżviluppaw ukoll pjattaforma speċjalizzata għal self għax-xiri ta’ djar u li flimkien ikunu ż-żewġ sorsi ewlenin li minnhom il-bank joħloq l-akbar u l-aħjar valur. Biex jirnexxilna nagħmlu dan ikun jiddependi minn kemm inkunu kapaċi li nibnu l-pjattaforma WealthTech tagħna, inkabbru l-frankiġja mal-klijenti li tkun tiffoka fuq nies għonja (affluent), innaqqsu r-riskji u niddiversifikaw il-balance sheet billi nagħtu self għax-xiri tal-proprjetá u nsaħħu l-mod kif noperaw.”

Pass ewlieni li seħħ matul l-2021 kien l-iżvilupp kontinwu tal-Wealth SuperApp ta’ MeDirect. Din tfasslet biex jintlaħqu l-ħtiġijiet tal-qasam tas-suq tal-klijenti affluwenti, li mhux moqdi fis-servizzi ta’ investiment. L-għan huwa li toffri, fuq pjattaforma waħda b’arkitettura miftuħa, firxa wiesgħa ta’ possibiltajiet ta’ investimenti online, waqt li toffri esperjenza mill-aqwa lil min jużaha, bi prezzijiet attraenti, kif ukoll li tkun kapaċi tagħmel tranżazzjonijiet bankarji ta’ kwalità għolja, kollox fl-istess App. Fiha l-klijenti jistgħu jagħżlu minn fost aktar minn 1,500 mutual fund, kif ukoll 500 ETF (exchange traded funds), 3,000 ekwità (shares) u 300 bond li jiġu  negozjati fi 17-il borża madwar id-dinja.

Dan il-pakkett ta’ servizzi ta’ investiment hu kkumplimentat b’servizz ta’ mobile banking, li hu faċli biex tużah, fil-muniti differenti ewlenin. Aktar tard fl-2022, MeDirect għandu l-ħsieb li jniedi l-prodott tal-kard virtwali u anke dik fiżika. Permezz ta’ pjattaforma waħda attraenti, li hi faċli biex tużaha, MeDirect qed joffri lill-klijenti għażla sħiħa kif jistgħu jinvestu u jkabbru flushom, filwaqt li tagħtihom il-possibbiltà li jużaw l-app għas-servizzi bankarji li jkollhom bżonn ta’ kuljum, mingħajr xkiel.

Is-Sur Denis qal ukoll li: “Il-Grupp jopera bħala kumpanija tat-teknoloġija bl-istess mod mal-istandards ta’ kumpanija fintech. MeDirect evolva f’service aggregator bi pjattaforma cloud-agnostic (fejn il-Bank qed jibni sistemi li mhumiex dipendenti minn xi provider speċifiku) imfassla apposta bi skala u bi spazju sostanzjali għat-tkabbir. Wieħed mill-vantaġġi ewlenin ta’ MeDirect hu li jipposjedi l-propjetà intellettwali tal-elementi kritiċi tal-proposta tal-valur tiegħu stess, inklużi il-client-touchpoints u l-kapaċitajiet ta’ service aggregation capabilities. B’hekk il-Bank indipendentement jista’ jwassal soluzzjoni omni-channel mill-aqwa, kemm f’verżjoni web kif ukoll mobile.”

Hu semma li din il-prestazzjoni tal-Grupp inkisbet minkejja li s-sena kienet ikkaratterizzata mill-pandemija tal-Covid-19 flimkien ma’ sfidi ekonomiċi u ġeopolitiċi, inklużi l-inflazzjoni, tħarbit fit-twassil tal-provvisti u aktar tensjonijiet internazzjonali.

Michael A. Bussey, Chairman ta-Grupp MeDirect qal: “Minkejja dawn l-ostakli fl-2021, il-Grupp MeDirect baqa’ jżid l-attività kummerċjali tiegħu u rreġistra tkabbir qawwi fin-numru ta’ klijenti fil-ġuriżdizzjonijiet li jopera fihom, kif ukoll livelli għolja ta’ sodisfazzjon tal-istess klijenti. Il-Grupp tagħna se jkompli jiżviluppa u jniedi prodotti ġodda ħalli jkompli jtejjeb l-esperjenza tal-klijenti billi jisfrutta l-pjattaforma teknoloġika avvanzata tiegħu.”

Il-numru ta’ klijenti ta’ MeDirect fl-2021 kiber għal 102,000 ruħ, żieda ta’ 37% minn tmiem is-sena 2020. Barra minn hekk, fl-2021 kien hemm tkabbir ta’ 165% fi klijenti ġodda fuq is-sena ta’ qabel, tant li l-Bank kellu 30,000 klijent ġdid matul is-sena. B’kollox, sal-aħħar tal-2021, il-klijenti tal-Grupp bejniethom kellhom Eur4.5 biljun f’assi finanzjarji, li Eur1.5 biljun minnhom kienu investimenti miżmuma f’kustodja ma’ MeDirect.

Fil-Belġju, MeDirect reġa’ kklassifika mal-aqwa ħames banek ta’ investiment u tfaddil diġitali minn spaargids.be. F’Malta, is-soluzzjoni diġitali ta’ onboarding (kif wieħed japplika biex isir klijent ġdid) ta’ MeDirect rebħet il-Premju ta’ Tech.MT għall-Aħjar Użu tat-Teknoloġija għat-Trasformazzjoni tan-Negozju.

Il-Grupp MeDirect kompla jnaqqas ir-riskji u jiddiversifika l-balance sheet tiegħu, proċess li beda fl-2019. B’riżultat ta’ dan, il-portafoll ta’ self korporattiv internazzjonali tal-Grupp niżel għal Eur0.6 biljun fi tmiem l-2021, mqabbel ma’ Eur1.8 biljun, meta kien l-iktar għoli, f’ Marzu tal-2019.

Il-kapital intuża biex jissaħħu l-capital ratios ta’ MeDirect kif ukoll biex jiffinanzja self għax-xiri ta’ djar fl-Olanda u aktar riċcentement f’Malta u l-Belġju. Il-portafoll ta’ self ta’ dat-tip fl-Olanda jġorr riskju baxx billi huwa garantit mill-gvern Olandiż u sal-aħħar tas-sena laħaq Eur1.7 biljun.

Il-capital ratio totali ta’ MeDirect żdied għal 19.2%, l-ogħla li qatt kien minn meta l-Bank beda jiġi regolat mill-Bank Ċentrali Ewropew bħala parti mill-Mekkaniżmu Superviżorju Uniku fl-2016. MeDirect iżomm ukoll biżżejjed likwidità, u fi tmiem l-2021 il-Liquidity Coverage Ratio kien ta’ 363%. Dan huwa ogħla minn kwalunkwe rekwiżiti, rakkomandazzjonijiet u buffers regolatorji.

B’mod ġenerali, fl-2021 il-klijenti korporattivi li ssellfu mill-bank kellhom sena aħjar minn dik ta’ qabel fl-operat tagħhom, fejn raw irkuprament ekonomiku. Meta wieħed iqis il-livell prudenti ta’ provvediment li applika l-Bank fl-2020 minħabba l-pandemija, it-telf minn indeboliment (impairment losses) tnaqqas b’mod sinifikanti minn Eur65 miljun fl-2020 għal biss Eur2 miljun fl-2021.

Minkejja l-investiment kontinwu sinifikanti fil-pjattaforma teknoloġika tiegħu u t-tkabbir tal-operat, MeDirect irnexxielu jżomm kważi fl-istess livell il-bażi tal-ispejjeż fissi meta mqabbla mas-sena ta’ qabel. Bħala perċentwali tal-assi totali, l-ispejjeż fissi tnaqqsu minn 1.50% fl-2020 għal 1.24% fl-2021.

It-tnaqqis fit-telf minn indeboliment li ssemma qabel u l-kontroll fl-ispejjeż ikkontribwew għal titjib fil-prestazzjoni finanzjarja tal-Grupp: minn Eur75 miljun f’telf qabel it-taxxa fl-2020 għal telf qabel it-taxxa ta’ Eur14-il miljun fl-2021, filwaqt li kompla jinvesti b’mod sinifikanti fil-pjattaforma.

Il-Grupp MeDirect intensifika l-attenzjoni tiegħu fuq inizjattivi ambjentali, soċjali u ta’ governanza (ESG) u anke bil-ħatra ġdida ta’ Kap tas-Sostenibbiltà u t-twaqqif ta’ Kumitat ESG. Barra minn hekk, qed ikompli jintegra l-prinċipji ESG fin-negozju u jqajjem kuxjenza fuq il-kriterji ESG fi ħdan l-organizzazzjoni. Fil-kuntest tad-diversità fuq il-post tax-xogħol, MeDirect jimpjega ċittadini minn 22 pajjiż differenti u 41% tal-ħaddiema huma nisa, u fost dawn hemm uħud li jokkupaw karigi eżekuttivi għolja.

Is-Sur Denis ikkonkluda li: “Fil-qosor, l-2021 rat lill-Grupp jirkupra mill-isfidi straordinarji tal-2020. Minkejja ambjent makroekonomiku volatili, MeDirect baqa’ juri dixxiplina bil-mod kif qed jesewixxi l-pjan tat-trasformazzjoni strateġika tiegħu. Lil hinn minn dawn l-isfidi makroekonomiċi, il-Grupp huwa kunfidenti li jista’ joħloq mudell ta’ negozju sostenibbli billi jimplimenta l-pjan tiegħu u jiżviluppa l-pjattaforma WealthTech, bl-ogħla standards, f’livell pan-Ewropew.”


MeDirect Bank (Malta) plc, is licensed to undertake the business of banking in terms of the Banking Act (Cap. 371) and investment services under the Investment Services Act (Cap. 370).

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