Bank of Valletta (BOV) accounts for approximately 50% of Malta’s gross national product. BOV is ranked as a Systemically Important Bank, reporting to the European Central Bank (ECB).
BOV wanted to create a more modern, customer-focused, and operationally efficient financial services organization.
A 2017 report to the European Parliament found that Malta is one of the most “overbanked” jurisdictions in the European Union, in terms of assets, employees, and branches. In this competitive climate, Bank of Valletta officers understood the need to extend its focus on both the customer experience as well as operational efficiencies and simplification.
In tandem, BOV looked to reduce its risk profile and gain new agility and precision in its financial crime and compliance capabilities within a rapidly changing landscape. Also, BOV wanted to embrace digital banking and gain the agility to introduce new channels while also to meeting elevated customer expectations and increasing competition from fintechs and other non-traditional players.
To achieve these goals, BOV launched its Core Banking Transformation initiative—known alternatively as Changing the Bank Together or CBT. BOV trusted Oracle and its core banking solution, Oracle FLEXCUBE, to help make the bank’s vision a reality.
Bank of Valletta underwent a major and complex operation. This was not a straight-forward upgrade of a minor system, but it involved the decommissioning of major banking systems and replacing them within a new state-of-the-art core banking IT system—Oracle FLEXCUBE. It was the culmination of three years of hard work by our staff, from all areas of business and technology. They worked side by side so that they could implement this programme successfully.
Chief Operations Officer, Bank of Valletta
In evaluating core banking solutions, BOV wanted a market-proven solution that would continue to grow with the organization. It also wanted to work with a vendor that could provide a portfolio of solutions that extend well beyond core banking. Oracle delivered on all of these requirements.
In 2017, BOV embarked on a three-year initiative to replace its legacy core banking system, which was initially implemented 20 years ago with a number of customizations implemented over these years. In replacing a legacy infrastructure, the BOV was creating a foundation for business and service transformation that would carry it well into the future.
Going for a “big-bang” go-live versus a phased migration, meant that BOV would effectively be “closed for bricks and mortar business” while allowing ATMs to function during the cutover. As such, it was imperative that the time window be as narrow as possible to minimize the impact on customers and the broader economy.
BOV knew that success would require precise planning, various trial mock migrations, a relentless focus on change management, a comprehensive and proven technology solution, and trusted partners, which included Oracle, Bluepoint Consulting, and Deloitte.
In December 2019, the stage was set for go-live. Following more than 1,500 training sessions, 23 mock migrations, three go-live simulations, and countless hours of testing and planning, the BOV closed for two days during the end-of year period. Online banking services were up and running before the end of December and branches opened for business on January 2. In all, BOV completed the switchover project 30 hours ahead of schedule—spanning 267 business processes with no critical-for-live defects.
Today, BOV is prepared for the future. Oracle FLEXCUBE underpins all of the bank’s corporate and retail bank offerings across multiple channels, including mobile and online banking. Its new digital foundation gives BOV the capabilities and agility it needs to respond quickly to new opportunities and changing customer and regulatory landscape.
Modern payments capabilities were an important part of the transformation initiative. BOV is a direct participant on SEPA and SWIFT payments with its Oracle FLEXCUBE implementation. It also ensured Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) compliance. BOV implemented Oracle’s Open Banking (PSD2) solution on Oracle infrastructure solutions, enabling it to comply with EU obligations with a highly secure, pre-integrated solution.
The platform also helps BOV elevate data quality, which will yield several important benefits, including facilitating compliance with increasingly stringent Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements. Expanded data, along with the ability to put it into action, will help BOV to deliver more personalized products, expand cross-selling initiatives, and streamline operations to deliver a better customer experience while improving profitability.
BOV’s Oracle FLEXCUBE implementation extends the value of its existing Oracle environment, which includes Oracle Database, Oracle API Cloud Service, and Oracle Identity Cloud Services. In addition, BOV leverages Oracle Financial Services Analytical Applications to reduce risk and ensure compliance. The bank has implemented Oracle’s IFRS 9 and AnaCredit solutions and plans to deploy Oracle Financial Services Liquidity Risk Management.
You cannot have digitalization without a modern digital core. Oracle FLEXCUBE gives us a strong digital foundation. We are equipped, prepared, and on track to improve customer service, enable simpler access to information and service, as well as provide seamless navigation across channels.
Chief Technology Officer, BOV