Interview with Joe Faddoul, Chairman and Founding Partner of BML Istisharat
Let’s start discussion with new contracts that you are looking at and new potential clients for the markets themselves.
We have just completed a contract in Guinea-Conakry as well as one in Malta and apparently it went very well. That was our first banking system implementation for both West Africa and Malta. We are now expecting some new contracts from Tunisia as well as more from Malta. We have had multiple enquiries coming in from Malta for new banking systems. We also have some contacts in the UK for potential new contracts. We are now at a preliminary phase where we do demonstrations and we answer questions etc. We have also started something in Guatemala. We have two people in Guatemala and we recently sponsored a banking event there. We think that in 2017 we will have our first clients from Central America.
What are some of the new certifications or awards that you have granted?
Recently we have been certified for EXA data and EXA logic by Oracle. As you know Oracle now has both hardware and software. They bought a company that was called Sun Computers. They have optimised the implementation of Oracle on their hardware and we certified our products on it. We had a good performance improvement on EXA logic and EXA data and we’ve been certified for those by Oracle.
We think that in 2017 we will have our first clients from Central America.
How about your rankings? We read that with your ICBS you are ranking 6th worldwide in banking for the time being.
We’ve been ranked 6th by the International Banking System (IBS) in London for Universal Banking. We’ve also been selected by Gartner in the Magic Quadrant recently with a very good place and very positive comments about our capacity to deliver. We have also been termed as "Solid Players" by Forrester who are also a ranking or rating institution for banking systems. It was rather good for 2016.
Have you added any new technical capabilities?
We have recently added a Java layer on our banking system and we are now doing the same for our insurance system. We’ve also completed the mobility functions for our banking system and it is almost completed for our insurance system. Now ICBS users are able to do most of their banking transactions on their iPhones or android phones.
What are the new trends in the core banking industry?
The buzzwords at the moment seem to be mobility and digitization. Those functions are already included in ICBS.
Could you summarize your key priorities for 2016 and where do you see BML Istisharat heading?
We are trying new markets mainly in the UK as well as Central America. This is something we are hoping to open up for 2017 rather than 2016. For 2016 we intend to complete what we have in hand. We just went live in Malaysia and in Malta as well as Guinea. We are also "inheriting", if I can use that word, new clients from one big international competitor that I won’t mention right now because we are not allowed to say negative things about our competition but we had already "inherited" 2 local banks from that international company.
How did this inheritance process happen?
Apparently their new release or their new system is very expensive and lacks main functions used in banking practice in many countries in Europe and the Middle East.
We feel that with the new low prices in oil meaning less revenue in the Gulf countries, it plays in our favour because people in the Gulf countries have begun being much more cost conscious.
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