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Portuguese challenger bank hits profitability on strength of innovative product focus

BNI Europa completes turnaround, thanks in part to fintech partnership strategy.

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Portuguese challenger bank BNI Europa has bounced back to recover from sustaining losses in 2016. The bank has reported 36.7 per cent growth during the first half of 2017, taking its total assets to almost €500m in June. Its total revenue grew 146.2 per cent to €6.6m, with net profits of €2.7m, allowing the bank to recover losses sustained during 2016.

In explaining the improved performance, the bank cited a complete change in strategy that has hinged upon a focus on “innovative products”. That focus has included several partnerships with fintech lending firms as a means of deploying capital. BNI announced a £45m funding deal with UK invoice finance platform MarketInvoice in May, shortly before signing a €10m deal with nascent Portuguese lending platform RAIZE.

The bank has struck twelve partnerships with European fintech lenders across various countries to date. The products encompassed by these partnerships span consumer loans, student loans, SME medium term loans, SME revolving credit, invoice finance and bridging loans.

BNI has stated its intention to continue its focus on fintech partnerships, and says that it plans to launch four new products in the consumer and SME credit space prior to year-end.

The challenger bank has also touted the successful launches of its “Cereja” reverse mortgage product and digital consumer credit offering “Puzzle”, which is focused on independent workers.

“It has been a great achievement by the team to be able to reach profitability in such a short period of time,” said Pedro Pinto Coelho, executive chairman of BNI Europa. “BNI Europa is a living proof that banks are better off by opening its platform and embrace innovation rather than trying to build everything from within.”

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