Bank of Valletta (BOV) is in the process of closing its overseas network of representative branches, which at one point included locations as far afield as the United Kingdom (London), Belgium (Brussels), Italy (Milan), Libya (Tripoli) and Egypt (Cairo), BusinessNow.mt can reveal.
The “worldwide” network, through which the bank was said to have built the necessary backbone to service its international customers and customers abroad with banking and trade transaction services, is closing.
It came to light as the heads of all three currently open branches have in recent months said they will either be moving on to other positions within the bank, or departing.
Simone Meneghini, the BOV Group Representative for Italy and Switzerland, who was responsible for a branch in Milan, took to social media to inform his network of the closure, and his departure from the branch he “had the honour to manage for over a decade.”
BusinessNow.mt has reached out to BOV asking for further details about the reasons for the closure, and will update this article as replies are received, but it is notable that some local banks, such as HSBC Malta, have announced a downsizing, closing several local branches.
While BOV has not announced any broad planned downsizing (instead planning the renovation and upgrades on a number of branches), it did recently announce the closure off its St Julian’s location, citing a decreased number of customers requiring in-person service from the branch.
The most recently active branches consisted of one in Brussels, one in Milan, and one in London.
The most recent branch to open was the London branch, which was inaugurated in 2018, during an event attended by former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, BOV’s former chairperson Deo Scerri, late BOV CEO Mario Mallia, and former Maltese High Commissioner in London, Norman Hamilton.
In a brief speech at the event Mr Scerri expressed his satisfaction that, “BOV now has a physical presence in London, the cosmopolitan hub of financial services.”
“Our presence in London is driven by the Bank’s corporate strategy which sees this office as an important link in our existing network of representative offices which make Bank of Valletta accessible to a wider customer base,” he added.
The head of this branch was Dipak Chouhan, whose professional LinkedIn profile shows him departing the position in November of this year to take up the role of head of business generation retail banking.
The Brussels branch opened in 2012. It was headed by Mark Scicluna Bartoli, whose LinkedIn profile shows that since June he has been working as product development executive for business banking at BOV.
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