On the 11th of November 1982, the financial landscape of the Maldives underwent a transformative change with the establishment of the Bank of Maldives (BML), marked by the opening of its first branch. This event marked the genesis of a financial institution that would play a climactic role in shaping the nation’s economic trajectory. As the nation’s leading bank, it is essential to reflect on the key milestones that have defined its journey.
Inception and Expansion
The Bank of Maldives (BML) navigated its formative years with unshakable determination, a period distinguished by significant achievements and strategic accomplishments. By 1982, the bank had already initiated loans and financing services, setting the stage for its role in supporting economic development. International money transfers became part of its offerings, enhancing the country’s connectivity to the global financial system. In 1983, BML expanded its footprint by opening its first atoll branch in Gan, Addu.
A Development Banking Cell was founded in the 1990s, stressing BML’s drive towards economic progress. Dhoni Banking, introduced in 1992, further facilitated financial transactions for the local population. A major technological leap occurred in 1997 with the implementation of the first core banking system, Cobas.
Entering the new millennium, BML continued to innovate. In 2000, the introduction of ATM services and cash card facilities brought convenience to customers. A strategic partnership with AMEX in 2004 strengthened the bank’s position in the market. Internet banking was rolled out in 2007, marking a significant leap in the accessibility of financial services.
The introduction of cash and cheque deposits using Deposit Machines in 2012 marked another historic moment. Following the implementation of Temenos T24 as the core banking system in 2014, BML showcased its resolve to remain at the very top of banking technology. The same year saw the initiation of Islamic Banking services.
Technological Advancements and Social Impact
In subsequent years, BML not only prioritised technological advancements but also expanded its presence to encompass every atoll by 2016. The bank garnered acclaim for its exceptional performance, earning prestigious accolades such as the Elite Quality Recognition Award from JP Morgan Chase Bank and the title of Most Innovative Banking Team Indian Ocean 2016 from Capital Finance International, London.
The bank has held several CSR events, including the BML Rewards Loyalty Programme and numerous community projects. The projects include the National Library and Maldives National Museum upgrade. BML Fehi Project spans five years to plant 50,000 trees to reforest and rejuvenate island land spaces to 5 islands each year.
BML has been recognised for its quality and innovation throughout its history. Awards such as JP Morgan Chase Bank’s Elite Quality Recognition Award and the World HRD Congress and Employer Branding Institute’s Asia’s Best Employer Brand Award attest to the bank’s excellence.
The future looks bright for BML, which celebrated its 41st anniversary in November last year. The recent launch of the Digital Wallet on the Mobile Banking App in 2022 illustrates the bank’s continuous efforts to remain at the cutting edge of digital innovation.
BML continues to be a driving force for positive change in the Maldives, from assisting local businesses through the Startup Grant Fund to investing in healthcare with the Oncology Ward at IGM Hospital. As the bank moves forward, its legacy of financial innovation and community benefit will serve as a beacon for the Maldives’ financial sector.