BNF Bank announced a strong financial performance for 2021, registering a profit before tax of €9.1 million, up from €5.3 million in 2020.

Net operating income increased by €3 million from €24.2 million in 2020 to €27.2 million in 2021 and was a key contributor to improved profitability. A comparably lower increase of €1 million in operating expenses resulted in an improved cost-to-income ratio of 62.9 per cent (2020: 66.5 per cent).

The bank also maintained its cautious provisioning stance and further increased credit provisions by €1.1 million in 2021. 

BNF Bank’s total assets grew by 11.5 per cent in 2021, totalling €1,004.7 million. Total asset growth of €103.5 million was funded primarily by an increase in amounts owed to customers of €82.2 million, an increase in amounts owed to banks and other institutions of €15.9 million, and an increase in retained earnings of €5.4 million.

The largest and main income-producing asset portfolio in 2021 remained loans and advances to customers, which made up 79 per cent of total assets. Loans and advances to customers comprised of net corporate lending of €300.3 million (2020: €276.6 million) and net retail lending amounting to €492.8 million (2020: €411.8 million).

BNF Bank’s liquidity position remained robust throughout 2021 and the bank continued to operate diversified sources of funding.

The bank’s main source of funding remained retail and commercial deposits from the Maltese market, although the bank also continued to strengthen its partnership with online deposit platforms to raise euro and pounds sterling funding from German and UK retail depositors.

The bank’s capital adequacy ratio at December 31, 2021, was 17.5 per cent and the common equity tier 1 ratio 15.6 per cent, both well above overall capital requirements and Pillar 2 guidance buffers.

Chief financial officer Mark Micallef said that key to the bank’s performance was asset growth coupled with cautious provisioning and capital planning.

“Our continued focus on serving our customers translated into another year of profitable growth for BNF Bank. In the background, to ensure that our growth is financially sustainable regular financial planning exercises are carried out to anticipate and withstand challenges that we might face,” Micallef said.

Michael Collis, the bank’s CEO and managing director, expressed his satisfaction at the bank’s performance, saying that notwithstanding the challenging environment, the team achieved the bank’s strategic objectives for the year and returned a positive financial result.

“We continued to work relentlessly towards our targets, driven by our long-term vision to take the bank to the next level. Our intention is to continue working on the key pillars of our Vision 2023 strategy of financially sustainable growth, internationalisation and technology transformation. Our core objective remains to keep our customers at the centre of everything we do, while providing a competitive suite of products delivered through an omnichannel approach.”

BNF Bank’s financial statements for 2021 are included in its annual report which can be found on the bank’s website.

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