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What banks are there in Malta? An overview

Each client of Dr Werner & Partner who founds an LTD in Malta sooner or later needs a bank account to guarantee the company’s payment transactions. In so doing it is not, however, absolutely necessary to open an account in Malta. Thus we have some clients who maintain their bank accounts with an international bank outside Malta. However, if the client wishes to open a Maltese bank account, our colleague Mr Darren Borg will lend her support by preparing documentation. She is also happy to help in communicating with the bank.

Below you will find an overview of the banks available in Malta. The descriptions that follow are not intended to constitute an evaluation, but rather reflect our subjective experiences with the banks in question.

General information

Following the recent influx of foreign companies and their demand for foreign skilled employees, Malta has experienced an economic expansion. This brought with it an increase in the demand for local banking services, to support such opportunities that were created within the local financial sector.

In fact, Malta is considered as an International Banking centre and it is esteemed just as other countries within the Mediterranean region. Here in Malta there are more than 20 operating Banks and each one of them can maintain the domestic funding in the market and credits for local and foreign individuals and companies in Malta. There is a clear distinction between the local retail banks that offer a wide range of financial services to corporate and private clients, and the internationally focused, specialised foreign banks that have been set up in Malta and which have almost no interaction with the domestic economy. Below you can find a list of current operating Banks in Malta: Agri Bank, AKBANK, APSbank, BOV Bank of Valetta, BNF Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Credit Europe Bank, credorax, ECCM Bank plc, Ferratum, FCM Bank, FIMBANK, HSBC, IIG Bank (Malta) Ltd, Izola Bank, LOMBARD, medidirect, MerkantiBank, NBG BANK MALTA, novum Bank, Sparkasse Bank Malta plc, Garanti BBVA, YapiKredi.

An Individual willing to setup a company in Malta will find the banking services being offered by local institutions convenient to both his or her personal and business needs. Many local banks offer a convenient broad banking experience through their vast range of products, services and expertise. The products and services being offered for both retail and corporate clients varies from business current accounts, savings account, term deposits, credit line facilities, business overdrafts, debit/credit cards, trade finance, foreign currency accounts, foreign exchange services, direct credit, internet banking, cash letters, cheque books and ATMs. Below one can find some information about major local Banks providing tailor made services to individuals willing to open either a personal or corporate account:

Bank Of Valletta p.l.c

Bank of Valletta p.l.c. is a public limited company regulated by the MFSA and is licensed to carry out the business of banking and investment services in terms of the Banking Act (Cap. 371 of the Laws of Malta) and the Investment Services Act (Cap.370. of the Laws of Malta). BOV was formed in 1974 following an agreement between the Government of Malta and the Malta Development Corporation. The Bank’s financial services are offered through a network of 36 branches, 1 satellite branch and 4 agencies in Malta and Gozo, and through a number of subsidiaries. It has also developed a worldwide network of correspondent banks and has 4 representative offices in UK(London), Brussels (Belgium), Italy (Milan) and Libya (Tripoli). Through these networks, the Bank has built the necessary backbone to service its customers in international banking and trade transactions.

The Bank of Valletta Group (the Group) comprises Bank of Valletta p.l.c. (the Bank) and two subsidiary companies namely BOV Asset Management Limited (BOVAM) and BOV Fund Services Limited (BOVFS). The Group also has two equity-accounted investee companies, MAPFRE Middlesea p.l.c. and MAPFRE MSV Life p.l.c. The Group’s principal activities are set out below.

The Group offers banking, financial and investment services and connected activities within the domestic Maltese market. The principal activities of the Bank comprise the following:

  • The receipt and acceptance of customers’ monies for deposit in current, savings and term accounts which may be denominated in Euro and other major currencies,
  • The provision of loans and advances to a wide array of customers, and
  • The provision of investment services, covering a comprehensive suite of investment products and services that meet the customers’ needs throughout their lifecycle, including stockbroking, advisory and discretionary portfolio management services.
  • The Group also provides a number of other services, including, bancassurance, corporate advisory, fund management, fund administration, and other services, such as 24-hour internet banking service, issuance of major credit cards, night safe facilities, automated teller machines, foreign exchange transactions, outward and inward payment transfers.

HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c

HSBC Bank Malta plc was registered in Malta under the name Mid-Med Bank Limited. The bank’s ordinary shares were listed on the Official List of the Malta Stock Exchange in 1993.

The status of the bank was changed to that of a public limited liability company in 1997. In the same year it changed its name to Mid-Med Bank plc. In 1999 the bank changed its name again to HSBC Bank Malta plc. The bank provides a comprehensive range of financial services including Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking and Global Banking and Markets. Through a number of specialised subsidiary companies, the bank is also active in the areas of life assurance and fund management, as per the below:

  • HSBC Life Assurance (Malta) Limited – A company authorised by the Malta Financial Services Authority to carry on the business of insurance in Malta under the Insurance Business Act, 1998. A range of protection and investment life assurance products are distributed mainly through HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c. which is enrolled as a tied insurance intermediary under the Insurance Intermediaries Act 2006.
  • HSBC Global Asset Management (Malta) Limited – A company managing a range of funds which have exposure to both Maltese and international financial markets. It is the distributor for HSBC Global Asset Management’s fund range and also specialises in the provision of tailormade discretionary portfolio management services for institutions and family offices.

BNF Bank p.l.c

BNF Bank plc, formerly known as Banif Bank (Malta) plc, started operations in Malta in 2008 and has been estabalished as a key player in the Maltese banking sector.

BNF Bank plc offers personal and business clients a highly personalised service through their network of twelve retail branches spread across the Maltese Islands and a Corporate and Business Banking Centre along with a local trading room.

JUD Investment Group Ltd, a subsidiary of Al Faisal Holding Group, one of Qatar’s largest private diversified groups, is BNF Bank’s majority shareholder having 92.4% stake in the Bank. The remaining 7.6% of shares are held by four Maltese shareholders: PG Holdings Ltd, Virtu Investments Ltd, Sak Ltd and Mizzi Capital Projects.

They have launched our new brand identity in October 2017 – BNF Bank – a brand that reflects their re-energised vision of increasing market share, taking the Bank across new frontiers, with a desire to build a new future.

Lombard Bank Malta p.l.c

 Lombard Bank was founded in 1955, when Lombard North Central of the UK was active in Malta by accepting deposits through agents.  In 1969 Lombard Bank (Malta) Limited was registered as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lombard North Central p.l.c.

Today, Lombard Bank Malta p.l.c. is listed on the Malta Stock Exchange and is licensed and regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority as a credit institution and as an investment service provider.

The Bank is an authorised currency dealer and a financial intermediary on the Malta Stock Exchange, as well as a member of the Depositor Compensation Scheme and the Investor Compensation Scheme.

Lombard Bank focuses on corporate and personal banking while developing a personalised and customised service. It offers the full range of traditional retail and commercial banking activities, including also home loans, deposit accounts, credit and debit cards, trade finance and asset management.

APS Bank p.l.c

 APS Bank is a Maltese bank established since 1910, with majority shareholding held by the Archdiocese of Malta and the Diocese of Gozo.

They offer a complete range of personal banking services including savings accounts, home loans and personal loans. They also provide comprehensive banking services for corporate customers. The Bank also provides Wealth Management Services since it is licensed as an investment services firm and is also registered as a Tied Insurance Intermediary. Such Wealth Management Services provide access to a selected range of products linked to APS Funds SICAV p.l.c. and other 3rd party product providers.

The Bank was incorporated into a private limited liability company in 1970 and granted a commercial banking licence in 1990. Since then, operations have vastly expanded and today the Bank employs over 400 staff working at a modern head office building located in Birkirkara (Swatar) and eleven branches across Malta and Gozo.

APS Bank is well known for its ethical banking tradition and exemplary corporate social responsibility practices supporting Maltese culture, art and various charitable causes.

Medirect Bank (Malta) p.l.c

 MeDirect Bank Malta plc, previously known as Mediterranean Bank is now considered as the third largest Bank in Malta having an equity of around Euro 170 million and is under the supervision of European Central Bank (ECB) and Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). The Head office of Medirect is located in Sliema and one can also find another Branch in Victoria Gozo.

Medirect Bank Malta plc mainly focus on savings, investments and wealth management for both retail and corporate clients. MeDirect SA/NV a subsidiary Bank of Medirect Bank Malta plc is situated in Belgium and is offering online investments opportunities and other saving products to retail investors.

All the above-mentioned banks take their compliance mandate very seriously, i.e. they check all directors and shareholders with great care. In this context we do not simply mean a thorough examination of submitted documents, but also comprehensive background checks in the internal banking system.

Conclusion

Anyone contemplating establishing a company in Malta and wishing to engage the services of Dr Werner & Partner for this purpose can be assured that we have in-depth knowledge of the banks available in Malta and can offer our clients active support in selecting the right bank. Help in opening a bank account is one of the core elements of our service package for company establishment in Malta.

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Author of the post

Philipp M. Sauerborn

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