Bank of Valletta Group has today announced the financial results for the first six months of 2021. These results were announced by BOV Chairman Gordon Cordina, CEO Rick Hunkin and Chief Finance Officer Izabela Banas.
“The performance of the Bank during the period continued to be conditioned by the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic,” Dr Cordina explained, affirming that while the economy is showing strong potential for an effective re-start through tourism and related activities, this is likely to take place gradually. “One of the longer-term costs of the recent resilience of our economy is a higher level of public debt, which needs to be carefully managed over the coming years,” he continued.
In so far as the bank is concerned, BOV staged a revival in profitability during the first half of 2021, reporting a profit before tax of €25.9 million, representing a return on equity (pre-tax) of 4.8 per cent.
Despite Dr Cordina warning that “the return on equity, at 4.8 per cent, remains way below its longer-term potential,” the Chairman considers it nevertheless encouraging to note that Bank of Valletta remains profitable, well-capitalised and liquid, as it emerges from the stresses imposed by the pandemic on its lending portfolio and other assets.
Also, he went on to note, “greylisting has not implied any immediate significant concerns, thanks to the de-risking programme implemented by the bank which accelerated in recent months and which is expected to be completed in the current year. A significant prolongation of greylisting status could however have important longer-term implications for the bank’s performance.”
Meanwhile, CEO Rick Hunkin referred to the bank’s BOV 2023 Strategy, which he described as “a major transformation programme that will see us deliver significant improvements in our customer servicing capabilities.”
Noting the bank’s investment in new technology and streamlining processes, as well as a significant restructuring of operating models, he added that “this will be supplemented by branch redesign and refurbishment over the next two years. All of this is being delivered whilst retaining our focus on risk and compliance and continuing to address developing regulatory requirements.”
Acknowledging the fact that such transformation processes are challenging, the CEO went on to express his thanks to the teams who are having to deal with major change and challenging workloads. “Without their support and dedication such change would not be possible,” he maintains, adding that “my Executive team and I are committed to delivering our strategy as agreed with the Board and will provide all the support we can to our colleagues throughout the business.”
“As we move forward, our new approach will offer more development and progression opportunities for our staff as we seek to reduce bureaucracy and empower and reward our best talent. To do this, we will make targeted new recruits from whom our existing colleagues can learn new techniques relevant to today’s banking environment,” Mr Hunkin continued. “Our strategy is already starting to deliver early benefits and I am confident in the longer term we will deliver more for all our stakeholders.”
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