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SHAREHOLDERS APPROVE DIVIDEND OF RS 7.50 PER SHARE 18% GROWTH OBSERVED IN PROFIT

The 68th Annual General Meeting of National Bank of Pakistan was held at a local hotel in Karachi on Thursday, March 30th, 2017. The meeting was well attended by the shareholders. President of the Bank, Mr. Saeed Ahmad chaired the meeting. The shareholders approved financial statements and cash dividend of Rs.7.50/- per share as recommended by the Board of Directors of the bank. This translates into 78% dividend payout of the bank’s distributable profit for the year 2016 (after statutory reserve allocation).

The shareholders were informed that the Bank achieved 12% growth in pre-tax profit for the year as it increased by Rs. 3,925 million from Rs. 33,216 million for the year 2015 to Rs. 37,141 million for the year 2016. After-tax profit amounted to Rs. 22,752 million i.e. 18% higher than Rs. 19,219 million of prior year. This is highest ever profit in history of the bank translating into Rs. 10.69 earnings per share. Despite a generally difficult year for the banking industry, the Bank succeeded to record growth in both interest / mark-up income and fee based income. The bank achieved a commendable 16% growth in deposits and a 13% growth in advances; whereas its capital & reserves increased to Rs. 177 billion as of December 31, 2016.

It was presented to the shareholders that the improved results were achieved through effective execution of strategies which encompass improving deposit-mix, earning assets optimisation and re-profiling, better cost controls, and expansion of market footprint in both conventional and Islamic business.

PAKISTAN’S LIQUID FOREIGN RESERVES POSITION

The total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at US$21,795.9 million on 24 March 2017.

The break-up of the foreign reserves position is as under:-

i) Foreign reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan: US$16,730.3 million
ii) Net foreign reserves held by commercial banks: US$5,065.6 million
iii) Total liquid foreign reserves: US$21,795.9 million

During the week ending 24 March 2017, SBP’s reserves decreased by US$230 million to US$16,730 million.

MCB BANK’S AGM HELD

The 69th Annual General Meeting of the shareholders of MCB Bank Limited was held on March 29, 2017 at Pearl – Continental Hotel Lahore under the Chairmanship of Mr. Muhammad Ali Zeb.

The Chairman informed the members that the Bank continued with its strong performance on account of low cost deposits base, significant uptick in advances, controlled operating expenditure and significant contribution from non-markup income. Despite compression in interest rate spreads coupled with significant maturities in high yielding government bonds, MCB Bank Limited reported Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 36.07 billion and Profit After Tax (PAT) of Rs. 21.89 billion. Net markup income of the Bank was reported at Rs. 43.8 billion, down by 11.25% over last year. On the gross markup income side, the Bank reported a decrease of Rs. 12.97 billion which was mainly on account of decreased yields on advances and investments in-line with interest rate movements. On the non-markup income front, the Bank reported a base of Rs. 16.22 billion with major contributions from fees & commissions, capital gains and dividend income. On the interest expense side, the Bank registered a decrease of Rs. 7.42 billion over last year, which commensurate with the decreasing interest rate environment and Bankís strategy to taper off its high cost deposits during the year.

The administrative expense base (excluding pension fund reversal) recorded a nominal decrease of 0.67% over last year depicting continued focus on cost control and deployment of cost-effective measures. On the provision front, the Bank subjectively downgraded its portfolio in the last quarter of 2016 on prudent basis.

The total asset base of the Bank was reported at Rs. 1,051.81 billion presenting an increase of 4.72% over 2015. Analysis of the asset mix highlights that net investments have decreased by Rs. 9.77 billion (-1.73%) with net advances increased by Rs. 43.86 billion (+14.42%) over December 31, 2015. The coverage and infection ratios of the Bank improved to 90.82% and 5.90% respectively. On the liabilities side, the deposit base of the Bank recorded an increase of Rs. 84.63 billion (+12.14%) over December 2015. MCB Bank Limited continued to enjoy one of the highest CASA mixes in the banking industry of 94.13% with current deposits increasing by 16% and savings deposits by 11% over December 2015. Strategic focus on current accounts resulted in increase in concentration level to 38% of the total deposit base.

Earnings per share (EPS) for the year were declared at Rs. 19.67 as compared to Rs. 22.95 for 2015. Return on Assets and Return on Equity were reported at 2.13% and 18.94% respectively, whereas book value per share stood at Rs. 105.97.

The Chairman further added that Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (PACRA) through its notification dated June 24, 2016, has maintained Bank’s long term credit rating of AAA [Triple A] and short-term credit rating of A1+ [A one plus].

The Bank remained a well-capitalized institution with a capital base well above the regulatory limits and Basel capital requirements. While complying with the regulatory capital requirements, the Bank has the highest cash dividend per share in the industry with regular interim dividends and remains one of the prime stocks traded in the Pakistani equity markets. Bankís total Capital Adequacy Ratio is 19.33% against the requirement of 10.65% (including capital conservation buffer of 0.65%). Quality of the capital is evident from Bankís Common Equity Tier-1 (CET1) to total risk weighted assets ratio which comes to 16.79% against the requirement of 6.00%. Bankís well capitalization also resulted in a leverage ratio of 8.59% which is well above the regulatory limit of 3.0%.

The audited financial statements of MCB Bank Limited and its subsidiaries were adopted by the shareholders at the AGM and final cash dividend @ 40% recommended by the Board of Directors, in addition to 120% interim dividends already paid, was approved. Moreover, M/s KPMG Taseer Hadi & Company Chartered Accountants were appointed as the auditors of the Bank for the next financial year.

KHUSHHALI MICROFINANCE BANK TO OVERHAUL CORE BANKING

Khushhali Microfinance Bank, the largest microfinance bank in Pakistan, today announced that they have signed an agreement to acquire the leading Core Banking System by Temenos (the software specialist for banking and finance). The system will be implemented by National Data Consultant (NDC) a specialized Fintech solution provider and Temenos Certified Partner in the MEA region.

With Khushhalibank’s selection of Temenos Core Banking system along with Pakistan Model Bank for its Retail and MSME services the bank will also implement Temenos connect, FCM, Insight and Risk as their new digital solution.

A.F.F. Ferguson & Co. has provided consultancy services for Khushhalibank’s core banking application system (CBAS) in its selection and implementation phase.

KHUSHHALI will be the 11th Bank to acquire Temenos Core Banking system in Pakistan. On the occasion, President Khushhali Microfinance Bank said, “Our ambition to reach out to the financially excluded with quality products & services will be facilitated by the investment in a strong technology foundation. We look forward to working with Temenos & NDC on this transformational journey”.

Mr Jean-Paul Mergeai Managing Director, Temenos Middle East & Africa Temenos said, “Temenos is extremely honoured to have been selected by Khushhali Microfinance Bank as their Technology partner to enable Khushhali’s Operations on strategic Business initiatives for the transformation of their core banking system. As our 11th signing in Pakistan, Khushhali Microfinance Bank is an important milestone in the continuous development and Commitment of our business and the delivery of value to the Pakistani banking industry”.

Ms Ammara Masood; President and CEO of NDC said “we look forward to further deepening the relationship as a strategic collaborator and implementer during the transformation program at Khushhali. Microfinance Bank It is an integral part of our economy and this digital transformation process which is intrinsically linked to the banks’ strategy for financial inclusion will help further assist in expediting growth for the bank”

IBA HOLDS GRADUATION CEREMONY

IBA AMAN CED organized the graduation ceremony of its incubatee STEMMERS at the Aman Center for Entrepreneurship Development (CED), IBA Main Campus. STEMMERS is an initiative to provide Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Management (STEMM) education to learners of grade 4 and above and to produce tech-savvy future leaders in Pakistan. They offer basic, intermediate and advanced level courses in which students have the opportunity and resources to learn cutting edge technologies in robotics, programming, 3D printing and even game development.

STEMMERS was incubated at AMAN CED-IBA in September 2015 and since then it has seen progressive growth with time. Several schools collaborated with STEMMERS to offer STEM based courses in their schools.

The ceremony commenced with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran by Dr. Imran Khan, Assistant Professor, Computer Science. Following this, a glorious welcome note was presented by Dr. Shahid Qureshi, Director IBA AMAN CED. Dr. Shahid Qureshi welcomed the guests and thanked them for their presence. He talked about the Effectuation Theory, which encourages people to have smaller dreams. ’When you dream small, and manage to achieve these dreams, then the ability to see big dreams will develop,’ he further elaborated. It is essential to instill this concept, since it allows for the utilization of fewer resources. He also mentioned how the absence of money is a resource as it encourages creativity. For instance, there have been start-ups in CED managing their businesses with amounts as low as Rs. 5000-10,000. Mr. Azad Ahmed Manager Incubation and Outreach Activities, then gave a brief introduction of how STEMMERS was launched at IBA AMAN CED.

Following this, Mr. Ahmed Paracha, founder of Stemmers, mentioned how STEM education is taught at the primary level in schools abroad, but not in Pakistan. He talked about the journey – how it was founded in September 2015 and gradually began to expand across well-known universities such as NUST. ‘Our target is to reach a level at which students can contribute to society,’ he stated. The aim is also to develop entrepreneurial skills in children – indicating the change from the original name STEMERS (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to STEMMERS (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Management). Mr. Paracha elaborated that several schools collaborated with STEMMERS to offer STEM based courses in their schools. A Summer Camp was also offered, in June-July 2016 in collaboration with AMAN CED in which over 200 students were catered to. Recently STEMMERS has acquired a designed facility in DHA Karachi, focusing on the CITIZEN SCIENCES concept and first Maker’s Studio for school level students in Pakistan. Mr. Paracha then thanked Dr. Shahid, Dr. Imran, and all current and past members of the team.

Towards the end, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Mr. Ahmed Paracha and a private investor, Mr. Mohammad Rashid.

BANK ALFALAH POSTS EPS OF RS. 4.96, IMPROVING 4.8 PERCENT YEAR ON YEAR

Bank Alfalah’s 25th Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held in Karachi on Tuesday, where the Bank’s shareholders approved the financial results for the year ended 31 December 2016, with the Bank registering Profit after tax of Rs. 7.900 Billion in December 2016 as against Rs. 7.523 Billion in December 2015.

Earnings per Share were reported at Rs. 4.96, improving by 4.8 percent from Rs. 4.73 reported in December 2015.

The AGM was chaired by Abdulla Khalil Al Mutawa, Director of the Bank and attended by other Board members including Khalid Mana Saeed Al Otaiba, Efstratios Georgios Arapoglou, Khalid Qurashi, Kamran Y. Mirza and Atif Bajwa.

During the briefing on the key aspects of the financial performance, the Shareholders were informed that the year 2016 remained challenging for the industry in general, due to the continued low interest rate regime and narrowing spreads. Despite the challenges, the Bankís Profit after Tax reflected an increase of 5 percent from last year. With pressure on core revenues, cost of fund was actively managed, so as to minimize impact of falling spreads on the net interest income.

The shareholders were informed that the Bankís net provisions decreased by 48% to Rs. 1.2bn, aided by higher recoveries against Bad Loans. Active and Effective Risk Management kept the Bankís Asset quality at Acceptable levels. The Bankís gross ADR was reported at 62 percent, one of the highest amongst peers. The shareholders were further informed that at the year end, the Bankís NPL ratio remained at 4.8 percent, and more importantly, the coverage ratio was reflected at 86 percent, both of which compare well with the best in the industry.

The Bankís total assets at December 2016 were reported at Rs. 917 Billion as against Rs. 903 Billion last year. In line with the Bankís strategy for mobilizing core and stable deposits and to reduce the overall cost of deposits, total Deposits remained at the level of Rs. 640 Billion, with overall CASA mix improving to 83 percent and Current Accounts increasing by 19 percent. The Bankís lending activity continued to remain healthy with Gross Advances improving by 13 percent to Rs. 396 Billion in December 2016.

The Bankís Chief Executive Officer, Atif Bajwa said, “The Bankís performance in 2016 reflects yet another year of sound financial results amidst a continuously challenging business environment. We have strived to promote financial and digital inclusion in the country through various initiatives, and with a continued focus on improving productivity and bringing in efficiency; we remain committed to expand our impact further and to touch the lives of as many people as possible.”

TAKAFUL OPERATIONS SIGN BANCA TAKAFUL AGREEMENT

Askari Bank Limited – Islamic Banking Services Division signed Banca Takaful agreement with Adamjee Life Assurance Company Ltd. – window Takaful Operations at a ceremony attended by the top management of both organizations and a large contingent of Media.

Under this arrangement Askari Islamic Banking Services and Adamjee family takaful will jointly develop and distribute highly innovative, consumer focused Shariah compliant protection and investment solutions for Askari Islamic Banking Services Customers.

Askari Islamic serves the banking needs of the valued customers through its 94 dedicated Islamic Banking branches in major cities of the country. The Bank, under its new sponsors and the new management is actively pursuing the growth of Shariah compliant banking in Pakistan

Adamjee Life Assurance Co. Ltd, which initiated its window takaful operations last year is a top player in the Life insurance industry and was launched 2009 through collaboration between globally recognized insurance giant Hollard International South Africa and Nishat group the largest business conglomerate of Pakistan.

While addressing the audience Mr. Fahad Sardar Khan (Country Head Askari Islamic Banking Services) said “Askari Bank has a long history of outstanding customer Service and carries an impeccable and unmatched legacy of trust. We continuously want to introduce new and innovative shariah compliant Financial solutions for our customers and this new arrangement is another positive step in that direction”

Mr. Fredrik De Beer (CEO-Adamjee Life & Adamjee Family Takaful) said, we are redefining the insurance and takaful paradigm by focusing on customers first, which is evident by our product and serving strategy. We believe that not just locally but even on the global front Islamic banking and Takaful are making great strides and we as an organization are completely geared to take on this challenge. Askari Bank Ltd. – Islamic Banking Services is an ideal partner in this regard as they are not only committed to the growth of Shariah compliant Financial Solutions in Pakistan, but is a bank that does not compromise on the quality of products or service that its customers receive.”

KHUSHHALIBANK COLLABORATES WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES

Khushhalibank collaborates with two leading companies in the insurance sector of Pakistan, namely Adamjee Life Assurance Company Limited and Jubilee Life Insurance (JLI). The two agreements were signed in order to facilitate valued customers and provide them with more benefits of life insurance cover packages.

As per agreement with Adamjee Life Assurance, flexible premium investment-linked assurance plans will be offered under the Bancassurance arrangement. The Bank will offer an access to professionally managed unit funds. Clients can choose to pay premiums on monthly, quarterly, half yearly and yearly basis with premiums starting from PKR 8,000 to 36,000 annually.

Speaking on the Occasion, Jehanzeb Zafar, Chief Strategy Officer, Adamjee Life Assurance Company said, “Our customers will have the luxury of selecting the package that best suits their requirements. Premiums will be used to purchase units in the unit funds.”

In partnership with Jubilee Life Insurance, Khushhalibank and JLI has enhanced the insurance product proposition, Sehat Khushhali being offered by the Bank to its customers. Under this scheme the clients are provided hospitalization coverage of PKR 40,000 in one year time on a premium of PKR 750. In addition both parties also agreed to launch and establish necessary support for operations efficiency through Bank’s branches.

On this partnership, Sohail Fakhar, Group Head, Jubilee Life Insurance expressed his views, “The alliance between the two organizations is a great move and both parties have their consent in establishing necessary support towards enhanced operations efficiency.”

On the occasion, President Khushhalibank, Ghalib Nishtar, said, “These partnerships will set new standards for marketing the insurance products and the Bank will ensure best quality service to its customers.”

TAMEER MICROFINANCE BANK IS NOW TELENOR MICROFINANCE BANK

After about a year of its 100% acquisition by the Telenor Group, Tameer Microfinance Bank has been rebranded as Telenor Microfinance Bank. The Bank, established in 2005, is best known for its joint venture with Telenor Pakistan for the launch of Pakistan’s first and now the largest branchless banking service Easypaisa, in 2009.

Mr. Ali Riaz Chaudhry, President & CEO of the bank, announced the new corporate identity at a media briefing. He added, “Our new name represents a significant foreign direct investment in Pakistan’s banking sector. We are proud of pioneering the journey of innovating financial services ecosystem in Pakistan, which started with the launch of Easypaisa – our mobile banking platform and a catalyst of future banking. As we continue to grow, we remain committed to empowering the underserved people of Pakistan through convenient, affordable and secure digital financial services.”

Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of the State Bank of Pakistan, Mr. Syed Samar Hasnain, said, “I congratulate Telenor Microfinance Bank on its successful transition and appreciate its lead in providing digital financial services to millions of Pakistanis. I am positive that the Bank, with a mobile banking platform like Easypaisa, will continue to promote financial inclusion in the country. The State Bank of Pakistan will continue supporting initiatives aimed at providing financial services to the segments still excluded from the mainstream financial system.”

The management of Telenor Microfinance Bank remains the same, and all future business activities will be conducted under the new name.

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