BOV Supports Caritas in San Blas Major Renovation Project

In a significant demonstration of its commitment to social responsibility, Bank of Valletta announced its support to Caritas by spearheading a complete overhaul and refurbishment of the kitchen and dining area of the men’s quarters at the San Blas Drug Rehabilitation Unit. The upgraded facilities will provide a more comfortable and welcoming environment for those utilising the men’s quarters, enhancing their overall well-being and quality of life as they journey through their rehabilitation program.

This initiative forms part of the Bank’s 50th-anniversary program and reflects the importance that the Bank attributes to the vulnerable members of our society.

The announcement was made during a visit to Caritas by Kenneth Farrugia, the Bank’s CEO, and Ernest Agius, Chief Operations Officer, who were welcomed by Anthony Gatt, Director at Caritas and his team. The visit was highly welcomed by the residents as they shared the plights that they are facing and how Caritas is proving to be invaluable in supporting them overcome these challenges.

Speaking about the initiative, the CEO highlighted the Bank’s longstanding commitment to giving back to the community. “We are extremely pleased to support Caritas in this important renovation project. Our support to Caritas, and other similar organisations, underscores our dedication to corporate social responsibility and the community that we service, as we continue to celebrate our 50-year history. This initiative and others of the same ilk reinforces our positioning as a caring Bank particularly when it comes to challenges being faced by the vulnerable members of our society.  This project builds upon an initiative undertaken a few years ago, that was also supported by the Bank, which saw the complete refurbishment of the men’s quarters. We hope that the upgraded kitchen and dining area will now provide a more welcoming and dignified space for the residents at Caritas, and I look forward to seeing such an important project come to fruition,” said Kenneth Farrugia.

Corroborating further, Ernest Agius emphasised, “I am incredibly proud of our team’s collective efforts and the impact of our longstanding CSR initiatives. This project underscores the strong corporate values of the Bank and reinforces our beliefs in the power and value of giving back to society. We are truly honoured to be part of this initiative and look forward to continuing to champion positive change through our community partnerships.”

Speaking at the end of the visit, Anthony Gatt said, “We are profoundly grateful for the unwavering support not only of Bank of Valletta as an institution, but also of its people who have always responded promptly to any call for help from our end. The kitchen has always been the heart of any household. Likewise, this project not only enhances the physical space of our rehab unit, but also symbolises a deeper commitment to improving the lives of those we serve. The Bank’s dedication to community welfare through its CSR program sets a remarkable example for corporate social responsibility, and we are grateful for this partnership which is supporting us in creating a more compassionate and inclusive society. All this is happening while San Blas is celebrating 35 years since it opened its doors and started offering renewed hope to hundreds who have participated in this rehabilitation programme.”

Malta Business Bureau Congratulates Newly Elected MEPs

The Malta Business Bureau (MBB) congratulates the six newly elected Maltese Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and emphasized the critical role they will play in representing Malta’s interests at the European level.

MBB looks forward to collaborating closely with the new MEPs throughout the upcoming EU legislature. It strongly urges them to work diligently to promote Malta’s priorities within the EU, contribute towards policy discussions that impact our economy, and tackle head-on the disadvantages which Malta faces as a small island state.

The organisation further encourages MEPs to establish consistent communication with Maltese stakeholders on key policy matters. This will enable them to understand the realities on the ground and present a strong position in Brussels.

Prior to last Saturday’s election, MBB identified several key areas of focus for EU policymakers in a publication outlining business priorities ahead of the next EU term. The publication is structured around three main pillars: (i) Competitiveness and Growth, (ii) the Green Transition, and (iii) the Digital Transition. It advocates for measures to alleviate regulatory burdens, secure adequate funding, prioritize subsidiarity and proportionality, address geographical challenges, and resolve labour shortages, among other issues.
The publication repeatedly underscores the importance of competitiveness, which is expected to become increasingly prominent in EU policy dialogues in the next term.

MBB strongly urges the elected MEPs to actively engage with these priorities within the European Parliament and help ensure that Malta’s business interests are heard and addressed at the EU level.
The full publication may be viewed on www.mbb.org.mt. Those interested in further information are encouraged to contact the MBB EU policy team on infobrussels@mbb.org.mt.

The Malta Business Bureau is the EU business advisory organisation of The Malta Chamber and The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. It is also a partner of the Enterprise Europe Network.

Announcing the Bootcamps & Events 2024 Training Programmes

The eSkills Malta Foundation is proud to announce an extensive list of training programmes for Bootcamps & Events 2024. These programmes diligently cater to a diverse audience, ranging from adolescents to senior adults, and target groups including females, SME employees, ICT professionals, teachers, and educators. With a focus on empowering participants with cutting-edge digital skills and knowledge, the 2024 training programmes promise to bridge the digital divide and foster a more inclusive digital economy.



List of Training Programmes:

  1. AppVisionaries: Empowering Girls in Mobile App Development
  2. Artificial Intelligence for Assessment
  3. Artificial Intelligence for Teaching
  4. Artificial Intelligence for Teaching & Learning
  5. Artificial Intelligence: Powering Your SME’s Success
  6. Business Intelligence Fundamentals for SME Employees
  7. ChatGPT: Zero To Hero for Educators
  8. ChatGPT: Zero To Heroes for Employees
  9. Create Beautiful Educational Material like a Pro Designer with Canva
  10. Cyber Savvy: Navigating the Digital World Safely
  11. Cybersecurity to the Next Level – A Training Course for IT Professionals Working in SMEs
  12. Digital Empowerment: Integrating AI and IoT in Healthcare
  13. Digital Skills for Hospitality Success: Empowering Women in the Industry
  14. Digital Skills for the Artificial Intelligence Revolution DS4AIR
  15. Digital Skills: Youths & Adults
  16. Digitalise Your Small Business
  17. Education and Beyond: Integrating AI into Your Teaching Practice
  18. Emerging Technologies for the Digital Transformation
  19. Empowering Citizens with Emerging Technology: A Focus on AI
  20. Empowering Vulnerable Females through Technology
  21. Foundations of Coding and Computational Thinking for Educators
  22. Gamify Your Classroom
  23. Innovazzjoni Digital għaż-Żagħżagħ
  24. Introductory Digital Literacy for Senior Citizens
  25. Intermediate Digital Literacy for Senior Citizens
    Press Release 02/2024: Announcing the Bootcamps & Events 2024 Training Programmes
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  26. Navigating Digital Transformation: Equipping Leaders for Transversal Excellence
  27. Programming Basics with Python
  28. Programming Basics with Python for Females
  29. Social Media Marketing Course to Boost Your Small Business with AI
  30. The Future of Data-Driven Automation – Alteryx
  31. Women Transforming STEAM

These programmes cover a broad spectrum of contemporary digital skills, including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, digital literacy, and programming, ensuring participants are well-equipped to navigate and thrive in the digital landscape.

Programme Highlights:

  • Inclusive Training: A special focus on empowering vulnerable groups, including women and senior citizens, and ensuring equal opportunities for all.
  • Industry-Relevant Skills: Courses designed to meet the needs of various sectors, including education, healthcare, and small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
  • Innovative Learning: Emphasis on the latest technological advancements such as AI, IoT, and digital transformation strategies.
    About eSkills Malta Foundation
    The eSkills Malta Foundation actively promotes and develops digital skills in Malta. By providing various training programmes and events, the foundation aims to enhance the digital literacy of the Maltese population and support the nation’s transition to a digital economy.
    For more information about the training programmes and to register, please visit our website at https://eskills.org.mt/initiative/digital-skills-bootcamps-and-events-2024/.

BOV announces further improvements across its branch network

Additional digital services also enhanced

In a bid to continue refining the service it offers to customers, Bank of Valletta recently introduced further improvements to a number of customer-facing touchpoints across Malta and Gozo. These improvements provide more flexible solutions that positively impact the customer experience from the Bank’s branch network, while at the same time improving a number of digital services.

Enhanced Opening Hours from fourteen locations

During the past weeks, BOV introduced longer opening hours in a number of additional branches, bringing the total number to fourteen. Fgura, Marsaskala, Naxxar, Santa Venera, Qormi, Żebbuġ and Żejtun have been added to the other branches that already offered such services, namely Buġibba, Mosta, Paola, San Ġwann, Sliema, Victoria and Żurrieq.

All the branches offering extended hours accept different banking requests, including updating personal details, investments, home and personal loan applications, credit cards, account opening and other general queries except cashiering. This service is being offered every Thursday until 6 pm.

The largest fully functional ATM fleet across Malta and Gozo

Apart from recognising the importance that some of the Bank’s customers give to physical interaction, the Bank remains committed to upgrading and improving its existing ATM fleet, which is the largest fully functional fleet across Malta and Gozo offering both cash withdrawal and instant deposit-taking services, transfer between accounts, mobile top-up for all major mobile network providers in Malta and real-time statement and balance queries amongst other services.

Late last month BOV installed a new deposit-taking ATM in Xagħra, strengthening BOV’s presence in Gozo and bringing the total number of Bank ATMs to 94. Several important enhancements are also in the pipeline. The Bank is in the process of replacing 29 of its current ATMs with new, modern, and faster machines. In the medium term, the majority of the BOV ATMs will start accepting contactless technology, and the Bank also envisages gradually rolling out new ATMs that accept bulk deposits.

Online Booking System for all Branch Appointments

Following a highly successful trial period, an online booking system for Branches is now available across the Bank’s entire network. Through this booking system, customers who wish to make an appointment with any BOV Branch can do so easily and comfortably, without having to call or personally visit a branch.

The online booking system available through https://myappointment.bov.com offers many user-friendly and convenient features. It allows users to identify available time slots within the calendar of their preferred Branch, select the desired time, input details, and confirm the appointment. Users can also modify appointments made and set up automated notifications and reminders. The online booking system caters for appointments for all banking services including during the extended service on Thursday evenings.

Speaking about these enhancements, BOV’s Head of Personal Banking Channels, Mr Geoffrey Ghigo said “We recognise that some customers prefer the personal touch, while others prefer remote and online banking services. Our strategy for the current three-year period revolves around our customers and their preferences, through innovation across these various touch points. It is interesting to note that our ATMs currently process 62% of all ATM cash withdrawals and 42% of all ATM cash deposits in Malta. By enhancing our ATM network, extending opening hours and introducing innovative solutions, we continue to deliver on our promise to elevate the customer experience across all the Bank’s touchpoints, be it physical, digital or hybrid”.

A healthy minds focus for the BNF team during may

Taking cue from May being Mental Health Awareness Month, BNF Bank rolled out several activities among its employees to strongly push the importance of physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Driven by its ESG Employee Wellness Pillar, the Bank’s human resources team crafted a series of events aimed at addressing different strands that contribute towards positive mental health, while pushing home the importance of being self-aware as a pivotal element in the individual’s understanding of their behaviour as part of their general wellbeing.


Staff attended an online talk about the importance of nutrition delivered by Antonella Grima, a public health specialist and registered nutritionist. The presentation was an interactive event through which employees were reminded of the benefits of nutrition and how what we eat greatly impacts our mental health.


Another insightful online discussion for staff was led by Patrick Psaila, managing partner, warranted psychologist and training consultant at PsyPotential. The talk offered practical tips and techniques to follow in one’s journey to wellbeing and the tools available that can enrich this journey and stay on track.
Others still took to the outdoors on a bright sunny morning for a rejuvenating fitness session aimed at connecting with inner vitality. Led by a BNF employee, Lara Sciberras, the class focused on physical awareness, stretching and working on muscles to stimulate and reinvigorate energy.


An event that was a resounding success was a visit to the offices from service dogs. The docile yet alert dogs provided therapeutic presence and petting these gentle animals gave everybody a sense of serenity and mindfulness. The therapeutic power of animals is well documented and hosting these special guests was a very welcome break in the working day.


And to keep the importance of good mental health top of mind, laptop lockscreens gave out regular empowering and thoughtful messages to encourage staff in their daily efforts at the desk.


Alison Grech, Head of Human Resources Management and Development Unit at BNF said: “Even with so much awareness out there of the importance of mental health, our busy lifestyles present constant challenges. We need to regularly stop to think about where we’re at in our mental health lifecycle. The activities we prepared were intended for this reason and served as reminders that our efforts towards this end should be constant, if we are to lead happy, balanced lives both at work and with our families.”

PwC Malta’s Real Estate survey confirms preference for home ownership and potential pressures in the rental market

PwC Malta’s 5th edition of the Real Estate Survey, which was conducted towards the end of 2023, reveals that almost half of the respondents (Q4 2023: 49%; Q1 2023: 42%) indicate that they have plans to buy property.

Demand to rent property has dropped when compared to the last edition of the Survey, from 31% to 11%. Such decline is particularly evident in the younger demographic, suggesting that this cohort in the population is more interested in purchasing a permanent residency rather than renting property. Government incentives and regulatory developments are expected to further drive property ownership amongst young people. This is in line with recent data released by the National Statistics Office in 2023, which highlights that promise of sale agreements experienced a year-on-year increase of 9%.

The latest PwC survey indicates a decrease in the share of respondents who intend to purchase property as sole owners (Q4 2023: 51%; Q1 2023: 60%). Against this backdrop, published statistics indicate that young Maltese people are moving out of their parents’ home later when compared to other EU countries. According to the most recent local statistics, in 2022, the average age of people moving out of their family home was 30.1 years, compared to a European average age of 26.4 years.

In the context of an increasing awareness on sustainability, the survey registered a positive shift in the percentage of prospective buyers (Q4 2023: 70%; Q1 2023: 59%) who give weight to sustainability factors in their property purchase decision. Furthermore, whilst in Q1 of 2023 54% of respondents stated that they would not pay more for a property which has sustainability features, the latest results now indicate that 59% are willing to pay a premium for a property that carries such features.

The full results of the survey, which targeted a representative sample of residents and has a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of 5%, can be accessed here.

BOV holds its 50th Annual General Meeting

Bank of Valletta held its 50th Annual General Meeting during which, BOV Chairman Dr Gordon Cordina, and CEO Kenneth Farrugia, together with the Bank’s Directors, met with shareholders to present the BOV Group performance for 2023 and propose several resolutions for approval to the shareholders of the Bank, which included the final gross dividend of €0.1162 per share (representing a gross payment of €67.9 million), consisting of the interim dividend of €0.0462 per share (representing a gross payment of €27.0 million) already paid to shareholders on 6 December 2023 and the dividend proposed of €0.0700 per share (representing a gross payment of €40.9 million). All resolutions proposed for shareholders’ consideration were approved.

The Annual General Meeting also brought the directorship term of Kevin J. Borg and Elizabeth Camilleri to an end, after they chose not to seek re-appointment to the Board. This led to two vacant Non-Executive Director positions, where Dr Christian Bonnici West and Dr Jonathan Spiteri were appointed to the Board. Their appointment is subject to regulatory approval and will become effective from the date of approval.

Sustaining our commitment to our shareholders, our clients and Malta – Dr Gordon Cordina
Addressing shareholders during the meeting, Dr Cordina commented that “2023 was a very positive year for the Bank of Valletta Group, which registered healthy profits in a situation of positive interest rates. The Bank’s performance can be seen within the context of an economic scenario that, despite the headwinds of high interest rates, elevated inflation, and uncertainty, saw the Maltese economy continue to grow at a sustained pace”.

Dr Cordina commented on the Bank’s balance sheet, that exceeded €14 billion at the end of 2023. “The Bank’s balance sheet accounts for almost half the total assets of Malta’s core domestic banks. BOV’s market share for 2023 was slightly above 40% with respect to corporate loans and household deposits, and slightly less in the case of home loans. These statistics clearly highlight the systemic importance of BOV, and the crucial role that the Bank plays in sustaining the local economy.

The resumption of a dividend payment, supported by the safety offered by the Bank’s strong capitalisation and liquidity, was also a key accomplishment in 2023. The dividend payout in 2023 was one of the highest dividend distributions paid in recent years. This has been distributed after taking into consideration the Bank’s growth ambition and corresponding capital requirements, affordability, as well as regulatory and shareholder expectations. This structured approach is aimed to ensure the sustainability of dividend payouts in the future and supportive of our commitment to all our stakeholders, including our shareholders, clients, and the economy at large.”

50 Years Shaping Malta’s Economy – Kenneth Farrugia
During his address, CEO Kenneth Farrugia expressed his satisfaction on the remarkable performance registered by the Bank in 2023. “Bank of Valletta’s financial performance was undoubtedly one of the best experienced during its 50-year history, with strong income growth achieved across all core business lines. The increase in interest rates, the strength of our balance sheet, our robust risk management framework, and organic growth in core business lines, were all key enablers of the financial results registered during the year.”

Kenneth Farrugia also referred to the strategic objectives set by the Bank for the period 2024-2026 and commented that several foundational changes are in place to strengthen the Bank’s business and operational model, supporting the key strategic thrusts over the next three years.

One of the areas where BOV has been taking a more prominent role is in the area of ESG, with Kenneth Farrugia citing the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility program, improvement in operational efficiencies, as well growth in green commercial and personal lending. “I am pleased to note the leadership position that the Bank is taking on ESG matters. In 2023 we saw 33% of the total facilities sanctioned in loans with green credentials. We have introduced incentives in our credit pricing model to support our customers in their transition to ‘Green’, while on the investment side we have seen 9.3% of total purchased instruments carried out in Sustainable Treasury Investments. Apart from our focus on ESG we continue to focus on our customers. The digitalisation of our operational model remains a high priority and various initiatives are in progress to ensure that across our physical, digital, and hybrid channels, we deliver the service experience expected by our customers.”

In his closing remarks he expressed gratitude to the Bank’s shareholders, employees, valued customers and fellow Board and Executive Committee Members for their commitment, passion, enthusiasm, and unwavering support, as the Bank continues its trajectory towards continued growth and success.

Composition of the new Board
With Mr Kevin J Borg and Ms Elizabeth Camilleri not seeking their re-appointments to the Board of Directors, and with the nomination of Dr Christian Bonnici West and Dr Jonathan Spiteri to occupy the role of Non-Executive Directors, the new Board will be composed as follows:

GORDON CORDINA NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND CHAIRMAN
NICOLA ANGELI NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
CHRISTIAN BONNICI WEST* NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
DIANE BUGEJA NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
ANATOLI GRECH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
JAMES GRECH NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
KENNETH FARRUGIA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
ANITA MANGION NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
DEBORAH SCHEMBRI NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
JONATHAN SPITERI* NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
ROBERT SUBAN NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
GODFREY SWAIN NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Subject to regulatory approval and the appointment date shall be deemed to be the date of receipt of regulatory approval.

BOV enhancing close business ties between Malta and France

‘Malta economic performance is standing out when compared to European counterparts and as the major financial institution in the country, we strongly believe in our critical role in continuing to shape and develop the economy and facilitate international business’. This was stated by Kenneth Farrugia, CEO at Bank of Valletta during ‘Malta – France – Aligning Business, Securing the Future’, an event organised by the Maltese French Chamber of Commerce addressed by H.E. Agnès Von Der Mühll, Ambassador of France to Malta and Mr Joseph Bugeja, President of the Malta French Chamber.

‘Bank of Valletta, as Malta’s largest Bank is pleased to sustain its support to the Maltese French Chamber of Commerce aiming to facilitate and enhance trade between the two countries which is currently on a positive growth trajectory. This year is an important one for the Bank as we celebrate our 50th year of operation. Over this period, the Bank has played a significant role in shaping our economy where we continue to support our personal customers as they go through the various stages of their lifecycle, as well as business customers in taking forward their projects both in Malta and outside of Malta. The Bank also continues to play a leadership role in attracting and supporting foreign direct investment towards our shores working closely with the Malta Enterpise’ said the BOV CEO. ‘Foreign Direct Investment is of the utmost importance as it significantly contributes to our economic growth and development this leading to social prosperity. The CEO went on to say that “within the context of these developments, the Bank is also attributing significant importance to the role and importance of ESG in the process and introducing various incentives that are contributing to the greenification of our economy.”

Bank of Valletta can proudly say that it has been partnering with the Maltese French Chamber for a number of years now, and it is one of the most active chambers on our island. At BOV, we commit ourselves to provide timely support to all businesses to ensure that we help the economic actors to continue contributing to our economic growth,’ continued Mr Farrugia. ‘Our forward-looking strategy is centered around those areas where we can create and generate economic and commercial value with a strong focus around Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), which now has an overarching role across the Bank’s business and operational arenas.’

BOV’s commitment to improving our customers’ financial wellbeing and our active involvement in the community are all contributing to sustaining our reputation as the Bank of Choice in Malta.

Business session on labour & skills shortages highlights importance of adequate traineeships and labour mobility

This week, the Malta Business Bureau (MBB) held an informational webinar in which it presented and discussed with Maltese businesses numerous European initiatives to tackle the labour and skills shortage crisis.

These aim to establish and refine the EU’s holistic approach to mobilise and upskill the workforce, particularly for sectors and job categories experiencing the most severe shortages, including healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality, and information technologies. The initiatives also aim to equip the future workforce with the necessary skills required for the twin transition, including by ensuring better traineeship standards, intra-EU mobility, and legal migration from third countries (the latter through a dedicated EU Talent Pool recruitment tool).

Kicking-off the event, MBB President Alison Mizzi highlighted the importance of the EU developing a resilient and future-proof labour market, which requires constant re-skilling and up-skilling cycles. Ms. Mizzi stated, “The EU must seek to bridge the gap between education and employment by ensuring fair, transparent, and high-quality traineeships that provide young people with essential skills and experience.” She also pointed out that the EU needs to look towards mobilising inactive groups, such as senior workers that require re-skilling, and third country nationals searching for employment opportunities in Europe that can fulfil roles that are experiencing shortages.

Lawrence Zammit, MISCO Founding Partner & Director, agreed that Member States need to strike a balance between economic resilience and social responsibility. “It is key to activate the under-represented people within the labour market, (to reach the EU objectives of an employment rate of at least 78%, and to have at least 60% of adults attending training courses every year by 2030),” he added.

Fabianne Ruggier, RSM Malta Director, advocated for the strategic utilization of the ESF+ to encourage employers across the EU to enhance training opportunities for their workforce. She underscored the importance of boosting intra-EU labour mobility, and also the need to continue streamlining legal migration from third countries to address shortages in specific job categories. On the EU Talent Pool, Ms Ruggier stated that, “the EU must seek long-term collaboration with recruitment agencies to promote the platform while ensuring that all involved intermediaries are reputable and compliant with the law to protect third country applicants”.

The session was moderated by MBB Policy Advisor Michele Agius, who also presented the key components of the three EU policy initiatives.

The Malta Business Bureau is the EU business advisory of The Malta Chamber and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. It is also a partner of the Enterprise Europe Network.