Challenger bank’s fintech-centric strategy lures equity investor

By Ryan Weeks on Thursday 5 April 2018

Editor's PickDigital Banking

The controlling stake in Banco BNI Europa is expected to change hands after a year of significant growth.

After a strong 2017, challenger bank Banco BNI Europa is close to a deal with a major new equity investor.

The Portuguese bank is best-known for having established an array of lending partnerships with business finance platforms across Europe, including MarketInvoice, CrossLend, Fellow Finance, Creditshelf, Ebedex and Raize. Its fintech-heavy strategy carried it to profitability in the first half of 2017.

BNI’s net income reached €2.3m in 2017. Its regulatory capital increased to €23.3m during the period, bringing its solvency ratio to “comfortably above” the statutory limit at 13 per cent.

The bank has announced significant growth for 2017 as a whole, highlighted by a 41 per cent growth in assets versus the previous year (from €362m to €509), a 16 per cent growth in deposits (from €262m to €305m) and a 379 per cent in banking income (from €2.8m to €13.2m).

In addition to its lending partnerships, BNI also established Puzzle, which it describes as the first fully digital credit platform in Portugal. It anticipates introducing further innovations via this platform during the course of 2018, allowing it to focus on “segments that are not being explored by other financial institutions”.

BNI has now attracted the attention of several equity investors. Banco de Negócios Internacional, SA, its major shareholder, has entered into an agreement with an unnamed foreign investor to sell a controlling stake in the bank for an undisclosed fee. A statement released by BNI implies that this transaction would also entail a “subsequent capital increase”.

The completion of this transaction remains subject to regulatory approval.


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