Bank of Maldives appoints first female chairperson

The Bank of Maldives has appointed Fareeha Shareef as the first female chairperson of the national bank.

The bank’s board of directors decided to appoint Fareeha at a meeting on Thursday. The post had been vacant since last year.

According to the bank, Fareeha is a founder and former managing partner (2010 to 2014) of FJS Associates LLP where she currently holds the position of senior partner.

“She is also a director at FJS Consulting Pvt Ltd and has been an independent consultant of Adam Smith International since 2012,” the bank said in a press release.

She also served six years as a board member of the Maldives Pension Administration Office

“Ms Fareeha has professional experience in various fields such as auditing, accountancy, financial management and governance. In addition, she has vast experience in financial modelling, including banking, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and socioeconomic research in Maldives and in the international arena,” the press release continued.

“Ms Fareeha is a Fellow Member of CPA (Certified Public Accountants, UK) and ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, UK) and a member of the Institute of International Auditors and Certified Fraud Examiners. She holds a Master of Management Studies (First Class) degree from the University of Waikato, New Zealand.”


Bank of Maldives introduces new loan scheme for teachers

The Bank of Maldives launched a new loan scheme today dedicated for Maldivian teachers and lecturers, offering loans up to MVR100,000 for a period of five years.

The new scheme offers teachers loans ranging from MVR 50,000 to MVR 100,000 at a 15 percent interest rate per year, the national bank said today.

“The purpose of the loan is to encourage the development of teachers, whether it is a training program or further studies or to purchase additional equipment such as laptops,” reads a statement by the bank.

Education Minister Dr Aishath Shiham praised the bank for its contribution to the development of teachers.

“Teachers play a pivotal role in our community by nurturing, moulding and shaping the future generations of the nation. As the national bank, we’re proud to launch this customised loan product for this special group of people in our society,” said the bank’s CEO and managing director, Andrew Healy.


Bank of Maldives introduces Islamic banking services

With additional reporting by Mohamed Said Fathih and Ismail Humaam Hamid

The Bank of Maldives (BML) has introduced Islamic Banking Services today (January 22).

The service inaugurated by Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed will be operated under the name ‘BML Islamic’ which will offer its personal and business customers with deposit and financing products.

“This is a big and proud day for our Bank,” said BML’s CEO and Managing Director Andrew Healy. “Today we start to provide alternatives to those who wish to strictly follow Islamic principles in their banking.”

“We look forward to rolling out a broad range of products and services – for both personal and business customers – over the next two years”.

Islamic banking and capital market services – compliant with Islamic Shariah – were introduced in the Maldives in 2011, with the opening of the Maldives Islamic Bank.

The Capital Market Development Authority began reporting on the Islamic Capital Market for the first time last year, while Maldives Monetary Authority Governor Dr Azeema Adam said that the industry’s potential was still being realised.

“One of the reasons for the phenomenal growth of Islamic finance is the perception that it is more ethical, compared to conventional finance, which is traditionally viewed as predatory when needed,” Azeema told the Maldives’ first Islamic banking conference last September.

BML CEO Andrew Healy

The new BML service will be provided by existing branches of the bank but Islamic bank accounts and finances will be “fully segregated from the rest of the Bank’s Services”, explained a BML press release.

“ATMs and card machines and will be fully Shari’ah-compliant, with Islamic accounts,” the statement continued, while Wadi’ah accounts can now be opened at any BML branch.

Prominent Islamic scholars have expressed their support for the move, with Dr Aishath Muneeza, Sheikh Fayyaz Ali Manik, and former Islamic minister Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari all contributing to BML’s promotional campaign.

“I believe this is a service which has been much needed for the people of Maldives. This allow lot of people across the country to go about their financial transactions as per Islamic Sharia,” said Sheikh Fayyaz.

Islamic minister Shaheem today described the move as “great news for many Maldivians”, saying that “BML’s commencement of Islamic financial services, to coincide with the day Maldives embraced Islam, is a memorable occasion”.

Other recent changes to services provided by the national bank included 22 state-of-the-art ATMs across Malé in November as well as the bank’s first US dollar ATM at its main branch the following month.

Related to this story

Potential of Islamic finance yet to be fully explored in Maldives, suggests MMA governor

Maldives “ideally placed” to be international financial centre, says CMDA chief


BML increases its banking fees

The Bank of Maldives (BML) has increased its fees for rufiyaa and US dollar accounts starting from last Thursday (January 1), reports Haveeru.

The national bank is reported to have increased the minimum amount of money to be held in the accounts from MVR100 to MVR200 in rufiyaa accounts, and from US$10 to US$50 in dollar accounts.

According to Haveeru, a new schedule of charges released by BML states that current and savings accounts are now opened with a fee of MVR200, while dollar accounts are opened with a fee of US$50.

In addition, BML is to charge inactive rufiyaa accounts with MVR30 per month while charging US$3 from dollar accounts.

Haveeru also reported that the bank has decided to charge MVR5 for transactions under MVR10,000 at bank counters while charging US$1 for transactions under US$640.

Source: Haveeru


Bank of Maldives to introduce US$ ATMs

The Bank of Maldives Plc Ltd (BML) on Tuesday (November 11) announced plans to introduce ATMs to withdraw and deposit US dollars.

At a press conference, BML CEO Andrew Healy said that the ATMs would initially be installed at the ground floor of the bank’s main headquarters in  Malé.

“The introduction of US Dollar ATMs will represent an obvious and important way of tackling those queues and will provide a convenient way to access dollars for our customers,” he told the press yesterday.

“I expect the service to be very popular. Our first dollar ATM will be up and running in our Headquarters building before the end of the year.”

He added that BML customers could also deposit, make payments, pay utility bills and make loan or credit card payments from existing ATMs.


Bank of Maldives’ net profit increases 105 percent in third quarter

The Bank of Maldives Plc Ltd (BML) has announced a net profit of MVR205 million (US$13.2 million) for the third quarter of 2014, an increase of 105 percent on the previous quarter.

The national bank noted in a press that sources of income increased while “costs were well controlled and the quality of the loan book continued to improve.”

“The Bank continues to move in the right direction across most key yardsticks. Financial performance is solid. During the quarter we demonstrated our commitment to step up financial inclusion as we launched point-of-sale cash withdrawal services in 9 islands which previously had novbanking facilities – this figure will rise to 50 islands by year end,” CEO and Managing Director Andrew Healy stated.

He also noted that the bank had taken important steps towards modernisation and improving customer service through the introduction of new technology systems.

“This is very important technology which gives the Bank much greater flexibility in terms of the services we can provide to customers. I would like to say thank you to our customers for your patience as we moved from one system to another. We are confident you will see the benefits of the changes we have made moving forward,” said Healy.


Bank of Maldives operating profits up 65 percent

The Bank of Maldives (BML) has announced that operating profit in the second quarter of 2014 increased 65 percent from the previous quarter, reaching MVR353 million (US$23 million).

“The Bank continues to move in the right direction. We are steadily building a sustainable financial base to support our strategic pillars of financial inclusion, customer service and support for business,” CEO and Managing Director Andrew Healy was quoted as saying in a press release.

“Since announcing these strategic priorities at its AGM in May, the bank has made a number of positive changes including the introduction of free cash withdrawals at ATMs and free transfers from one branch to another,” the press release continued.

“It has also recommenced issuing Visa Debit cards for rufiyaa accounts. Furthermore, the bank has started a programme to bring banking services to all inhabited islands across the country.”

“As part of its strategy, Bank of Maldives is also heavily investing in state-of-the-art technology and went live with T24, one of the world’s most advanced Branch Banking Systems on last Sunday, 3rd August 2014.”

Majlis approves reintroducing car allowance for ministers

The People’s Majlis approved a revision to the state’s wage structure recommended by the public accounts committee (PAC) to reintroduce a discontinued car allowance for cabinet ministers.

The PAC report (Dhivehi) was passed with 58 votes in favour and 20 against.

On July 14, the PAC approved a request by President Abdulla Yameen to reintroduce the MVR6,500 (US$422) monthly salary for drivers of ministers’ cars as well as a MVR1,000 (US$65) allowance for petrol cost.

Parliament also granted an extension to an MVR50 million (US$3.2 million) overdraft facility provided to the State Electricity Company (STELCO) by the Bank of Maldives.

A recommendation by the PAC (Dhivehi) to extend the duration of the overdraft facility until March 2015 was passed unanimously with 80 votes in favour.

Parliamentary approval for the extension was required under the Public Finance Act.


BML to issue visa debit cards to all Maldivian customers

Bank of Maldives Pvt Ltd (BML) has announced that it will be issuing visa debit cards to all Maldivian customers from July 2014.

The bank currently only issues the card to holders of dollar accounts at the bank.

The bank stated that while the card will be issued to all Maldivians, students studying abroad will be given higher priority.

Customers using a visa debit card will be allowed to withdraw a maximum of MVR10,000 locally and US$200 from ATMs in foreign countries.