Kennet Farrugia

During a panel discussion on affordability concerns, Bank of Valletta (BOV) CEO Kenneth Farrugia stressed the importance to incentivise the development of sustainable properties, with a particular focus on the social elements of ESG, that complement environmental incentives and good governance principles.

The panel discussions followed the presentation of the latest Construction Industry and Property Market Report, conducted by KPMG and co-sponsored by BOV long with other local banks and sponsors.

Insights of the report show that prospective homeowners who plan to buy their property by means of a bank loan tend to give high importance to sustainability incentives offered by banks.

“BOV is experiencing an increase in the demand for sustainable properties, covering both commercial and residential developments. Within this context, the bank has introduced attractive green financing solutions, such as the Business Energy Loan. Such incentives will certainly make access to finance more attractive and affordable,” the CEO said.

Mr Farrugia also mentioned that, given the importance that prospective homeowners give to flexibility and accessibility in the home loan process, Bank of Valletta introduced a digital home loan application portal that offers a better experience for those customers wishing to apply for their loans online.

With regards to property affordability and current inflationary concerns, Mr Farrugia said that the Maltese economy has remained somewhat shielded from challenging external factors, with Malta registering an economic growth of four per cent and unemployment levels at their lowest ever. “This has enabled BOV to keep bank-based interest rates stable over this period.”

During a separate panel discussion titled ‘The Implications of a New Economic Model’ BOV chairman and leading economist Gordon Cordina said that there is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to reinvesting economic models. “It is somewhat a natural process that economic models need to be revisited every so often. What the country is currently experiencing, are growing pains that are part of the growth process as the country continues to evolve,” Dr Cordina remarked.

He went on to stress the importance of landowners to act responsibly for the greater common good. “ESG requirements are becoming ever more a reality in today’s world and will become even more stringent in the near future. Good governance should be the order of the day and all parties involved in land development should also be responsible for assessing the impact on other factors such as traffic generation and pollution,” he concluded.

Featured Image:

Background: Frank Salt Real Estate. Inset: BOV/ Mark Cassar

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