Banco BNI Europa was launched in July 2014 and is Portugal’s fastest growing, entirely digital bank. Banco BNI Europa aims to challenge the traditional banking sector through strategic partnerships with fast-moving fintech companies, enabling them to launch new products and employ the most advanced technology in terms of risk analysis, consumer experience and rapid market entry.
This strategic orientation allows the bank to identify itself as a “challenger bank”, driven by open architecture and bespoke innovation. It also allows Banco BNI Europa to provide a benchmark for a new generation of European fintech banks and achieve significant growth rates.
In the last couple of years, by embracing technology and partnering with many fintech companies across Europe, Banco BNI Europa has emerged both in Portugal and internationally as a reference point for a new concept in banking. The success is driven by the belief that offering products through advanced platforms will allow the customer to have the best experience.
Banco BNI Europa has faced a challenging economic environment at home, as Portugal has redefined its approach to banking. With a small balance sheet of 100m euros the bank realised the only way to become profitable is by growing in niche markets. It also had the challenge of boosting its growth in the shortest period possible. With this in mind, the bank’s management decided to implement an aggressive two-pronged growth strategy: becoming Europe’s reference digital bank and attracting clients for term deposits across Portugal, Germany, Holland and Austria. It also developed a new digital consumer credit platform that allows clients to get credit approval instantly and the cash in less than 24 hours.
Meanwhile, as it was developing this platform, the bank used the existing liquidity to create a portfolio of credit across the UK, Germany, France, Holland and Belgium and credit products that are facilitated by fintech, such as consumer credit, SME lending, invoice discounting, student lending, etc. BNI Europa is now one of the most active institutional investors in the alternative finance market.
As a result of its growth, the bank now has three solid pillars that allows it to develop and continue enlarging its range of products. First, it will continue increasing its expertise on the credit investment side by expanding its investments across more regions. Secondly, it will continue developing its online consumer credit platform by adding new channels, such as e-commerce, stores, companies HR departments etc. Finally, the bank will continue to be open to partnerships with fintech firms to offer other niche credit in selected geographies starting in Portugal and moving to other countries. This will allow the bank to broaden its business with a limited investment and benefit from state-of-the-art technology.
While becoming a global reference point for “challenger banks” Banco BNI Europa has also been specialising in the management of alternative solutions for raising funds and credit and has already established partnerships with 18 European fintech companies. Through these partnerships the bank makes deposits and finances credit operations in several European jurisdictions: Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Austria, France and Belgium. The type of credit operations financed include consumer credit to individuals and students, credit to SMEs, factoring and real estate financing.
In 2017, only three years after opening, Banco BNI Europa reached profitability. 2017 was once again characterised by the significant growth of the bank’s activity, achieving a 41% increase in assets (from 362,034m euros in 2016 to 509,474m euros in 2017), 16% in customer deposits (from 262,234m euros to 305,148m euros) and 379% in banking income (2.75m euros to 13.18m euros).
With a net profit income of 2.286m euros, and equity capital amounting to 23.303m euros, the solvency ratio is comfortably above the statutory limit of 13%.
Pedro Pinto Coelho, BNI Europa Executive Chairman says: “It has been a great achievement by the team to be able to reach profitability in such a short period of time. BNI Europa is proof that banks are better off by opening its platform and embracing innovation, rather than trying to build everything from within.
“It is a great honour to have received the ‘Most Innovative Bank of the Year – 2018 and Bank of the Year – 2018’ awards this year, as part of The European’s Business Awards. I believe in permanent learning, innovation and focus to be successful. BNI Europa has a very motivated team and with this team effort we have been able to grow fast and be a reference in the new wave of challenger banks.”