BML will remain as Bank of Choice for Maldivians: CEO

National bank, the Bank of Maldives (BML)’s CEO and Managing Director Karl Stumke has said the bank would continue to remain the bank of choice for Maldives.

Speaking at the bank’s Annual General Meeting on Monday night, Karl Stumke highlighted the bank’s future vision and strategy built on the three core pillars of Treating Customers Fairly, Digitalization, and Sustainability.

“Treating Customers Fairly needs to be central to our corporate culture. We need to ensure that our products and services perform to the standard that the customer expects and are designed to meet the needs of the specific target segments. This year, we have significantly reduced interest rates on our student loans to 5% and reduced the overdue interest fee to 2% per month. Despite the Federal Reserve increasing interest rates nine times over the past year, the Bank has not increased local rates and instead, absorbed these additional costs to ease the interest burden to our customers,” he explained.

On Digitalization, Karl said although the bank had progressed, its digital journey must continue. It is only through full automation that errors can be reduced and efficiencies improved while also giving customers the control to decide when, how, and where they want to bank, he noted. He said the bank planned to bring positive changes to many of the products and services that currently require manual intervention and, at the same time, add new security controls and increase its digital support platforms.

Karl also spoke on the importance of a committed and engaged ESG journey as part of the Bank’s strategy on Sustainability.

“Our strategy will evolve over time, and as we follow our own path, we will ensure we do our part to reduce our impact on the environment. This year, 56 new ATMs are planned to be installed, and we will ensure that all are operated through solar panels and all new renovations works to our branches retrofits the use of sustainable energy as far as possible,” he said.

Commenting on the Bank’s future, Karl stated while competition is expected and inevitable, the bank would strive to remain as the Bank of Choice in the Maldives. While BML’s dominance in the domestic market constrains its ability to grow exponentially, it would need to seek new avenues and external markets for income generation, he noted. The bank’s success will be measured by the customers ‘wanting’ to bank with BML versus ‘having’ to bank with them, he said.