The Leading Core Banking Software: BML Istisharat to Improve Its IBS And Gartner Ranking

“We are very flexible. Our software runs in countries as different as the United Kingdom and Somalia, France and Bahrain.”

Interview with Joe Faddoul, Chairman of BML Istisharat

Joe Faddoul, Chairman of BML Istisharat

How is the regional situation impacting doing business in Lebanon and how does it impact BML Istisharat?

As you may know, we are exporting more than 85% of our production so we don’t really feel the impact on Lebanon. The clear result is that we are directing our exports to different countries from the countries where there are problems. Our last exports were in Bahrain, Guinea, and Somalia and obviously not in Syria.

With regards to this market, are there any new regions BML Istisharat, the leading core banking software provider, is looking at expanding into?

First of all we are trying to consolidate ourselves in our main market which is the MENA region. Yes we are looking at new markets; we are just waiting to complete the implementation of our first client in Malaysia before trying to conclude what is in the pipeline for other banks in Malaysia. The same thing applies to Malta.

How have you grown this year? What are the trends?

Our growth rate in 2014 was around 14%, we think that this year the growth rate will be in the range of 7 to 9%. We obtained the Malta deal because of our ranking in IBS and Gartner. We didn’t used to have a distributor in Malta. Now we are very enthusiastic about this market; we think there will be at least two or three more banks in the next five years who are going to change their core application system and we are confident that we will have our share in this potential market.

We are exporting more than 85% of our production so we don’t really feel the impact on Lebanon.

What are your strong points? Where does this confidence come from?

We are very flexible. Our software runs in countries as different as the United Kingdom and Somalia, France and Bahrain. We think that we have reached a stage where the parametrisation and flexibility of the system is very high. We also have clients with more than ten million clients and clients with just 50 thousand clients. Obviously we are also flexible in terms of the size of our clients. Furthermore our main marketers are our clients. A big part of our new clients come from referrals from old clients. Since in Malta we have a satisfied client we think that we will gain more clients.

You mentioned that the Malta deal happened in part because of your grade ranking in the IBS and Gartner Magic Quadrant. What ranking are you currently targeting?

We have in front of us the big players, companies with 5,000 employees etc. so we are not targeting to be number one but we are aiming to keep our ranking or to improve it a little bit. I think that this year in 2015 our ranking will improve in both IBS and Gartner.

When you compare your products to other competitors, what are the differentials?

First of all it is not a matter of quality, it is a matter of convenience; a small or a mid-sized bank cannot afford to spend 5 years to implement a new core banking system. Most of all big competitors have very good products, but they are very good products for very big banks. We think that for the mid-sized banks and the small banks we have a more convenient product that is easier to implement, more flexible as it can be adapted to different environments and one that is more cost effective.

Let’s discuss the bank assurance industry.

As you may know the deregulation which took place over the last years allowed the banks to also sell insurance products. In parallel most of the insurance products are now financial products and not purely insurance products. The products can be assimilated to saving products or something like that with an insurance policy. Since we also have insurance systems, both life and non-life, it was very easy for us to interface and to make the interaction between our banking product and our insurance product very effective. Several banks tried this with us and we are now a recognised player in the bank assurance market.

Is that with regards to Lebanon or further afield also?

No, our insurance products are up and running in the US, Europe, the Middle East and of course in Lebanon.

What is your 2016 vision for BML Istisharat?

I would like to see new markets, a better ranking and better profits.

BML Istisharat has a better price-quality ratio than our competitors. The functionality of our products is very well recognised. Each time a prospect compares function to function they end up selecting us.

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