Macau’s Banco Nacional Ultramarino (BNU) is looking to increase support for the more than 40,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the territory, said Carlos Cid Álvares, the bank’s chief executive told the Tribuna de Macau newspaper.
“The bank has to be closer to small and medium-sized companies although it is difficult to do that immediately,” said Álvares, who said there was a need to overcome some difficulties, especially internal ones, hiring staff working in this sector due to the lack of a risk centre to inform banks about customers.
With this in mind, the BNU is taking on specialised staff to provide a more effective response when small and medium-sized entrepreneurs use the bank for financial support.
Álvares, in the interview with the newspaper, said the BNU also aims to become more attractive to Macau’s youth and revealed that a bank branch will be opened later this month at the University of Macau, the bank’s twenty-first, which is attended by 15,000 students in exactly the age range the bank wants to attract.
The CEO of BNU also revealed that precisely to reach the youngest people in Macau the bank has launched a new application for mobile phones.
“Through the telephone customers have access to the bank and can carry out a variety of transactions in a very simple and modern application, which for young people is very good. We already have the QR code working with our merchants and I hope in the short term to have it for our entire customer base as well,” he said.
Álvares also said that the bank will also target private banking clients who, given the growth of the economy, have more capacity for certain investments – not only in deposits – but also for funds, stocks and insurance.
“There is a pillar that is related to a major component of the region’s economy, the casinos. The BNU was one of the entities that provided the bank guarantees that allowed these businesses to emerge and to grow when casinos were first set up. There is a strong relationship with the six concessionaires and sub-concessionaires at a corporate level but also at the level of all their employees,” which is now fundamental for the bank, he said.
The role of BNU Macau in the strategic position of the territory as a bridge between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries was also mentioned by Álvares in the interview with Tribuna de Macau, saying that the bank could be a working platform with the Portuguese-speaking countries in response to guidelines put forward by the central government of China and Macau.
Álvares also gave assurances that there is great room for growth in the role that both Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD) and BNU Macau can play in relation to the strategic position of Macau as a platform.
“There is a very strong connection through our parent company. We have entered into a protocol with CGD to streamline this whole business, which is a result of speeding up the opening of accounts, streamlining the flow of funds between different countries – Macau or the Chinese mainland – and referencing customers. This business is growing by double digits, which is quite interesting, but there is always a chance to do more and better,” he said.
The BNU CEO also said that the bank “has been conducting operations with Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe but I believe it is possible to do more operations through Brazil and Angola.”
Banco Nacional Ultramarino de Macau is one of the issuing banks of the Macau Special Administrative Region along with the Bank of China. It has a base of 240,000 customers in a population of 600,000 people and in 2017 posted profits of 705.69 million patacas (US$88.2 million), a year-on-year increase of 25.9%.
BNU opened in Macau 117 years ago. (macauhub)