As APS launches its first TV campaign in a decade, CEO Marcel Cassar underlines why now – even more than ever – the bank is dedicated to providing support for the community, value-banking driven services, and a modern strategy for assisting its clients on their life journey.

This is the return of APS to TV – what inspired the decision?

Market sentiment, confirmed by the last Broadcasting Authority surveys late in 2020, suggested that TV viewership in Malta remained popular with 93 per cent of those questioned saying that they watched TV regularly. More than 45 per cent of viewers, aged 12 to 60, said they watched an average of one to two hours of Maltese TV a day. It wasn’t a question of if but of when.

The campaign is very much focused on APS as an important support system for society. Why is the support side of banking so important to APS?

Our ethos as a bank, reinforced by our vision and values, is that of being the community bank in Malta. This is best expressed through our mission of making the banking experience simpler and more personal, inspired by our commitment to social, economic and environmental progress. If, as bankers, we don’t support the community in the widest sense possible, then what are we here for?

What aspects of APS do you think your clients relied on most in the pandemic? How have you been able to support them?

The coronavirus pandemic brought our values to the fore as we stood by our employees and customers, and their dependants, first and foremost. We continued with our operations relentlessly, maintaining over 90 per cent of the branch network active while upscaling heavily our technology and digital presence. And we were constantly in touch with our customers, supporting them with moratoria, credit facilities and advice as needed.

So, community is critical to the APS ethos. What role does banking play in thriving communities? And how does this tie into the history of the bank?

Being involved in the community should not only be part of our DNA but a differentiator. Our market focus is predominantly the Maltese Islands so we see it as one big community – individuals, families, business firms, and others. When the community does well, we all do well. Which is why our philosophy is built around relationships which drive everything that we do. This is how our project started over a century ago, this what we are today.

Being involved in the community should not only be part of our DNA but a differentiator

The TV advert also signals a strategy shift for APS at this time. Can you explain more about that shift, and where you hope it will take the bank into the future?

The idea of a black-and-white campaign is intended to lead viewers to focus on the simple, essential and defining elements of APS Bank. We want to get across our message through the eyes of a cross-section of customers as they journey through life, with a specific touch of colour that sets us apart from the competition.

APS is a very established bank with a long reputation of service. Why is reliability so important in banking?

Our business is all about trust in the integrity of the product and quality of the service. If the trust is lost then confidence disappears. So reputation, especially in banking, is everything. From having honest and professional staff to offering excellent services. It takes long to build but very little to tarnish it. How can we present ourselves as reliable bankers if we have an iffy reputation?

APS has made a number of key improvements and modernised various aspects of its service in recent years in recent years. Which ones are key to you?

I have often described our strategy of growth and development of recent years as ‘taking the bank to the next level’. Now that’s a rather abstract expression because ‘the next level’ is a moving target. But I single out the transformation of our delivery channels, our enhanced digital presence, the modernisation of our branch network and being a front-runner with our range of products and services.

Speaking of branch network: do you plan to grow or reduce it – or what?

We have 10 branches in Malta and one in Gozo, giving us good coverage. It’s a small network which has not grown under my tenure, except for the closing of our small Floriana office and the opening of a new branch at St Paul’s Bay. Our focus has been to transform our offices in line with the needs of our customers, who still look at us for financial advice and counselling. So our branches are looking more like modern living rooms with a range of meeting facilities. I’m very proud of this transformation programme which will soon move to Paola and Żejtun.

What lasting message do you want the TV advert to deliver?

Simple: we are the bank that accompanies its customers through their life journey. It does not mean that we can be everything to everyone – that would be wrong to propose! But we continue to believe in forging relationships that last with our customers. Hence, ‘Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow’.

APS Bank plc is regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority as a Credit Institution under the Banking Act 1994 and to carry out Investment Services activities under the Investment Services Act 1994. The Bank is also registered as a Tied Insurance Intermediary under the Insurance Distribution Act 2018.

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.