The Malta Development Bank (MDB) has successfully facilitated loans exceeding €20 million under its specialised education financing schemes, the Further Studies Made Affordable (FSMA) and the Further Studies Made Affordable Plus (FSMA+). These loans are a testament to the Bank’s commitment to drive human capital growth, skills and innovation.
By the end of November 2023, the two schemes generated €20.8 million in loans, supporting 545 students in their endeavours, supporting a diverse array of study areas with the most popular courses relating to aviation (29%), economics and finance (26%), and medicine or health related subjects (11%). IT, arts and law-related courses also feature regularly in the courses supported by the Bank.
The MDB’s FSMA+ scheme is the successor to the original FSMA scheme, with the two schemes designed to help individuals who are committed to advance their abilities and expertise. Through these schemes, the Bank continues to play a pivotal role in bridging gaps between banks and the Maltese community.
Dedicated to foster the pursuit of further education, these two MDB loan schemes specifically targeted students seeking specialist courses, and particularly those not readily available within our shores. This accomplishment reflects the Bank's commitment to provide financial solutions where there are market gaps in the Maltese financial and credit markets.
The Managing Authority (MA) allocated funds to support these two schemes, thanks to the European Social Fund and European Social Fund Plus. The MDB was entrusted by the MA to implement the schemes as a blended financial instrument, combining two components: a grant element in the form of an interest rate subsidy that makes the instrument more appealing for students, and a guarantee that enhances student access to bank financing by absorbing a substantial part of the risks. This is making educational loans significantly more accessible and affordable for hundreds of students in Malta, intermediated by MDB’s partnering commercial bank, Bank of Valletta plc.
Mr Leo Brincat, MDB’s newly appointed Chairperson, expressed his satisfaction and appreciation of the bank having achieved this important milestone, stating that, "At the Malta Development Bank, we strongly believe in the transformative power of education for the Maltese economy. Our commitment to provide financial support and guarantees for specialised courses has plugged a market gap in Malta and is a testament to the Bank’s dedication to fostering economic growth and development.”
Mr Paul V. Azzopardi, Chief Executive Officer, remarked how “Before these schemes, education related loans were often beyond the reach of many students. The two schemes have opened widely access to education, whatever a student’s resources, ultimately increasing human productivity through greater egalitarianism."
In a time where access to specific educational opportunities is of crucial importance, the MDB remains steadfast in its mission to make the financial and credit markets in Malta work better.
The Bank also looks forward to continuing its support to education, with the MDB FSMA+ scheme still open to enable even more individuals to embark on transformative educational journeys.