The journey to operational excellence is often nuanced and complex, and as Chief Operations Officer, at APS Bank, Edward Calleja plays a central role in leading effective governance and stewardship of the Bank’s Operations and managing the day-to-day operational functions. With over 30 years’ experience at APS in various positions, he is well placed to lead his team in organising and directing operations in the most productive way, implementing the right changes, while aiming for operational excellence within the regulatory framework.
With links to almost every part of the Bank, Edward sees his role as a builder of bridges within the Bank, with the ultimate purpose of having a successful business process that executes better, faster and more cost effectively in delivering value to customers to improve their banking experience.
Operations management is one of the main capabilities for the Bank’s future success, with the main objective of ultimately delivering better processes and an enhanced customer experience. As part of the Bank’s first line of defence, one of the key areas Edward’s team is involved in is supporting the Bank’s front-line operations, through various initiatives that contribute towards a higher quality of service and efficiency for the Bank’s customers. From cash operations, credit and investment operations, cards and payments and customer onboarding to customer reviews, KYC and data quality and transaction monitoring - all these essential functions form an integral part of the banking service chain, that enable the centralisation of various tasks, all with the aim of improving customer experience in a seamless manner. He goes on explaining how operations is more than just about productivity, it’s about how well this productivity performs. This means having the right structures in place and the right talent to deliver the best service and optimal organisational change, within the regulatory framework.
“As I see it, the Operations Department is central to the smooth running of the extensive services offered by the Bank, in line with our corporate culture, incorporating middle and back-office functions, which support front- office operations, to deliver the best possible service to our customers.”
Edward is equally passionate about the Bank’s purpose which has always put the customer first. As a result, the overall strategic direction places customer experience at the forefront, complemented by a customer-centric work force that can address and pre-empt customer needs, and a banking service set up to deliver seamless experience across multiple channels. Increased training for evolving new skill sets, and diverse employee engagement initiatives ensure a collaborative workforce and enhanced accountability from all who work at the Bank.
While the Bank’s digital transformation journey takes its lead from the Chief Technology Officer, the operations function sees technology as the enabler that will facilitate the simplification of banking services across different channels in a seamless manner. As Edward explains it, financial services have transformed and technological developments have lowered the barriers of entry for Fintech and introduced new functions, which have improved and automated traditional banking services. He cites the myAPS mobile app, as an example for convenience and security, as well as other innovative projects in the pipeline, which aim to make everyday banking simple, personal, secure, and convenient. In fact, as part of the Bank’s journey to digitise banking documentation, Edward led the centralisation and digitisation of security custodianship for the lending portfolio back in 2009. The introduction of electronic payment systems, and relative outsourcing enable efficient electronic payments in every sense, while the digitisation process is leading us towards paperless branches, paving the way for improved use of office space, and facilitating a more personal interaction with customers.
As the Bank continues to grow and look to the future, Edward sees the role of operations also encompassing visionary capabilities that enable strategic operating models and customer experiences previously unseen in the financial services, with a greater focus on enabling technologies and the entire digital ecosystem, while adhering to the Bank’s commitment to being the community Bank, it has been for over a century.
About Edward Calleja
Edward Calleja joined the Bank in 1992, where he was responsible for the setting up of the Bank’s lending function and the centralisation of key operations through the implementation of a Loans Processing System in 2009. He was appointed to his current position in August 2021, having started his career at Mid-Med Bank in 1981. Edward holds a B.A. (Hons) Accountancy from the University of Malta (1990), a Diploma in Management (2003) and an MBA from Henley Management College, UK (2005). He obtained his warrant as CPA in 1991 and became a fellow of the Malta Institute of Accountants in 2011.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of APS Bank plc