As it celebrates its 25th anniversary in Malta, HSBC Bank Malta continues to open a world of opportunity for customers on the island as part of its leading global banking brand. CEO Geoffrey Fichte is committed to ensuring the bank remains a key player across Europe and beyond, while helping it stay true to its core values and purpose.

HSBC Bank Malta CEO Geoffrey Fichte was serving as the CEO of HSBC Bank Uruguay when an unmissable opportunity arose. “I wasn’t actively looking for a change and was happy in Latin America, but the opportunity to work in Europe – in a leading bank in a prestigious jurisdiction like Malta – was too good to pass up,” he recalls.

When Geoffrey relocated to Malta and assumed the roles of CEO and Executive Director of HSBC Bank Malta in May 2023, it marked the latest milestone in his career with one of the world’s most recognised and highly respected names in banking. His journey includes a five-year tenure at the helm of HSBC Bank Uruguay, along with roles as Head of Business Banking in HSBC Mexico, Senior Executive in Corporate Development and Global Strategy at HSBC Group in London, UK, and Senior Manager International at HSBC Asia Pacific in Hong Kong.

In addition to his extensive financial services experience across retail, commercial and corporate banking, Geoffrey brings a wealth of qualifications to his senior roles within HSBC Group. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, complemented by strategy and leadership training from Harvard Business School and London Business School.

In all his roles, one consistent focal point has been the customer. “I aim to build upon the customer-centric dynamic that has always existed here at HSBC Bank Malta,” he shares. “My priority is to continue improving our customer service through digital transformation and maintaining the team’s signature personalised service style.”

Geoffrey’s leadership approach likewise prioritises the people he regards as the lifeblood of HSBC’s worldwide success. “I want to bring out the best in our team and ensure our colleagues can perform at their highest level. I know I can delegate to our very capable people and give them the authority and flexibility to carry out a task as they see fit. I’m the seventh CEO here, but the first American – so I’m naturally blunt – but I also make sure people know I am always available to support them. Our people shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes – they can simply raise their hand, and as a team, we face challenges together,” he affirms.

Geoffrey counts the satisfaction of helping customers and colleagues to achieve success – both professionally and personally – as one of several milestones he has achieved while leading HSBC Bank Malta so far. On 1 August 2023, he presented the bank’s interim results for the first time to its 10,000 local shareholders and the investor community. This significant event coincided with his 20th anniversary with HSBC Group. The impressive performance results presented that day continued to improve throughout the year, culminating in a pre-tax profit of €100.8 million for the first nine months of 2023 – a notable increase of €67.9 million from the previous year’s figures for the same period.

“Our third-quarter results prove the success of HSBC Bank Malta’s turnaround strategy,” confirms Geoffrey. “As we celebrate HSBC Bank’s 25th anniversary in Malta this year, we recognise our customers and our staff who have all supported us throughout these 25 years.

“We are a community bank, supporting all sectors of the population across Malta and Gozo. At the same time, we have the competitive advantage as part of the world’s leading banking brand. We bring the best of international banking to Malta – along with global investors and clients – and we help Maltese customers to expand and trade abroad. We know we play an important role in both Maltese society and the economy, and we take that role extremely seriously.”

While registering such notable financial results, 2023 also marked an award-winning year for HSBC Bank Malta, when it was named as the overall Market Leader and Best Service Provider in the Euromoney Cash Management Survey 2023. “This was a proud moment for HSBC Bank Malta and a clear indication of the strength of our teams and our commitment to delivering service excellence,” says Geoffrey.

November 2023 also brought another highly sought accolade, when the UK’s Financial Times named HSBC Bank Malta as the Best Bank in Malta – an award that Geoffrey proudly received alongside members of the Executive Team at a gala event held in London in November.

Yet, this local and international recognition of HSBC Bank Malta’s success does not mean that it can relax its efforts, Geoffrey insists. “Banking is dynamic – as are the needs of our customers – so we are continuously evolving and investing to reflect their changing needs. The most valuable thing we all have is our time, so more transactions are now made online. However, we insist on maintaining that personalised touch of banking that has become the hallmark of HSBC. We are focused on how we can support customers with the best technology and digital services possible, while ensuring they can still discuss their decisions, issues, goals, and ambitions in person. I believe this will keep HSBC Bank Malta in good stead for the future,” he affirms.

Indeed, Geoffrey’s plans for the Malta arm build upon HSBC Group’s purpose to ‘open up a world of opportunity’ for customers and its four value statements of ‘We value difference’, ‘We succeed together’, ‘We take responsibility’, and ‘We get it done’. “These core values speak to the group’s commitment to seeking out different perspectives, collaborating across boundaries, holding ourselves accountable, and moving apace with our customers to make things happen,” he explains.

In keeping with these values, HSBC Bank Malta continues to invest in Malta over the coming year. The first quarter of 2024 will feature the inauguration of the new, state-of-the-art office building in Qormi that will serve as HSBC Bank Malta’s official headquarters. “HSBC Hub in Qormi is a €30 million investment to ensure that our team can collaborate more easily to provide the best solutions for our customers,” Geoffrey reveals, adding that the relocation will support the bank’s ESG goals to achieve net zero, as well as HSBC Malta Foundation’s recent partnership with the NGO MOVE to advocate for sustainable practices in banking.

Another major investment also promises to revolutionise the digital banking experience for local HSBC customers. “We are currently replacing and upgrading our entire fleet of ATMs across Malta and Gozo to incorporate the latest global technologies available. These modern ATMs will offer our customers better multi-functionality beyond the traditional service hours.”

With such a busy year ahead for HSBC Bank Malta, Geoffrey is confident that Malta’s economy and financial services industry will remain dynamic throughout 2024. “Malta currently has a stable, liquid, well-capitalised, and very competitive banking sector, with some of the lowest mortgage rates and corporate lending rates in all Europe and a thriving local bond market.

I predict that the economy will remain resilient amid ongoing global challenges, giving HSBC further opportunities to get closer to our customers and help them achieve their hopes and dreams, while staying active in the community through the HSBC Malta Foundation,” the CEO concludes. “My objective for 2024 is the same as that of the entire HSBC Bank Malta team: to reinforce our digital transformation and keep making banking simpler, and to improve the banking experience for customers in Malta.”

This article is part of the serialisation of 50 interviews featured in MaltaCEOs 2024 – the sister brand to MaltaCEOs.mt and an annual high-end publication bringing together some of the country’s most influential business leaders

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