Malta-based Mediterranean Bank has branched out into Belgium by converting its local online branch into a licensed credit institution.
The new bank will retain the Me Direct brand and will be a separately capitalised entity, employing 10 staff, including those with regulatory-imposed functions, Times of Malta has reported.
The branch will offer the same products as its Malta savings and wealth management businesses for the mass affluent market, comprising people with between EUR50,000 and EUR1m to invest.
The Belgian unit’s operations will be supported from Malta, which handles 95% of the functions, ranging from the call centre to legal services.
Mediterranean Bank CEO Mark Watson said: "The online branch had 11,000 customers with EUR350m in deposits and the take-up of our offering was accelerating, particularly in the last six months. We believe that this is a better commercial proposition because our Belgian customers are more comfortable dealing with a local entity.
"We want to use Malta as an efficient operating hub and use a scalable business model to expand to other countries. Our staff might be too big for where we are now. But we see it as an investment in capabilities that we are building for the future. We have everything in place to support a vastly larger client base."