Kenneth Farrugia

Bank of Valletta (BOV) CEO Kenneth Farrugia has pointed towards risks of further cybersecurity threats as potentially one of the biggest challenges that the banking sector will face in the coming year.

Cybersecurity has been a prominent topic within the wider business landscape for the past years. However, given technology’s rapid development and a staggering increase of digital services – partly due to COVID-19 making digitalisation all the more essential – online threats have arguably never been as devastating as they are today.

Over the past few months, scammers have found new and sleeker ways of accessing information from different organisations, including banks. These include SMS messages being sent to customers, appearing to be coming from banks, containing links to fake websites, requiring potential victims to click on a link to unlock their cards and passwords.

There have also been a number of cases of organisations and business leaders having their social media and email accounts hacked and compromised, prompting increased investment in cybersecurity. Despite this investment, 2024 is expected to see more technological developments, potentially resulting in more elaborate cyberattacks.

Banks are not only responsible for holding the funds of the customers, but they also have vast amounts of personal information and data that would be of interest to hackers. Meanwhile, client funds lost to online scams and fraud creates a lose-lose situation for both. This makes cybersecurity one of the top priorities for the banking sector.

Cybersecurity, together with a number of other challenges that the new year will bring, were some of the topics we discussed with Mr Farrugia for MaltaCEOs.mt’s end-of-year series for 2024. In addition, we also looked into the 2023 accomplishments he’s most proud of, as well as his New Year plans.

Since he joined BOV in 1985, Mr Farrugia has served in a number top executive roles, before being appointed CEO over a year ago. Being at the helm of one of Malta’s largest banks comes with its perks and struggles, and so the start of a new year represents a time of reflection and some much-needed family time.

What three words would you use to sum up your 2023?

Accomplishments, exciting, and dynamic.

What personal accomplishment from the past year are you most proud of?

The financial results achieved by the bank during the year, together with improved customer service experience, as well as having an increasingly energised and motivated workforce.

What are you most grateful for this year?

Having good health.

How are you going to spend the New Year?

I’m going to spend it with my family and friends.

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges you believe 2024 will bring about?

In terms of opportunities, I’d say the ability to strengthen the core business of the bank and exceed customer service expectations.

When it comes to challenges, these are mainly ongoing international geopolitical tensions, as well as increased threats to cybersecurity.

Is there a particular skill you’d like to develop in the new year?

I’d like to be much more knowledgeable on AI and its application.

Is there something you’d like to change about your daily routine?

I want to spend more time with my familly.

Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?

Doing more than what I am doing today.

Featured Image:

BOV CEO Kenneth Farrugia

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