The Bank of Maldives Ltd. (BML) has significantly bolstered its cybersecurity measures, a crucial step in ensuring the safety of its stakeholders’ investments and transactions, and has expanded its services over the past year, CEO and Managing Director Karl Stumke said while speaking at the bank’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday.

Stumke expressed pride in the bank’s achievements over the past year, which included significant investments in customer service, infrastructure, and digital solutions. He also highlighted the bank’s commitment to sustainability and community support.

In response to a recent uptick in fraudulent activities and scams, BML sent over 4.7 million SMS alerts and issued over 100 social media warnings in the past year. “We have provided two-factor authentication through both OTP and the use of tokens but have noticed that the uptake on the latter is disappointingly low,” Stumke said. Despite this, he reassured customers that there had been no breach of bank systems and emphasised the ongoing priority of cybersecurity.

Stumke also highlighted the bank’s efforts to reduce the use of physical cash and promote online banking, which is a long-term strategy of the institution. Due to the community’s current needs, however, BML introduced ATM services to seven islands, including Hulhumalé Phase II, bringing the total number of ATMs to 142, accounting for 75 percent of all ATMs in the country. “To further expand our network, we have plans to roll out 57 more ATMs across the islands this year,” he added.

In 2023, BML posted its highest-ever net profit of MVR 2.07 billion, a milestone attributed to effective liquidity management, increased investment in Treasury bills, and expansion of the loan portfolio. “Our customer deposits grew by MVR 1.6 billion, solidifying our position as the leading bank in the Maldives with over 55 percent of the market share and reflecting the trust our customers place in us,” Stumke said.

The bank has also adapted to meet the evolving needs of its customers, recently configuring its system to facilitate transactions in both the Emirati Dirham (AED) and the Chinese Yuan (Renminbi). “We are now able to provide Renminbi accounts to our customers who would like to receive Renminbi settlements and use this for future payment obligations,” added Stumke.

Looking to the future, Stumke emphasised BML’s commitment to becoming the preferred bank in the Maldives. The bank will persist in maintaining top-notch governance and customer focus, prioritising digitalisation, and endeavouring to establish a more sustainable and inclusive future for all, he said.