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Leading Pakistani banks evolving for a new digital age

National Bank of Pakistan

With long term vision & focus on digital banking, a new Group was recently formed within the Bank by the name of Payment Services & Digital Banking Group “PSDBG” to ensure that NBP is not only at par with its peer banks but is also capable of leading the industry on the road to digitalization. PSDBG has not only initiated multiple technology deployments but also captured businesses, which also places NBP in a competitive position in this arena, especially in G2P & P2G business. Key initiatives include:

  • Designing & strategizing the long-term Digital Strategy of the Bank.
  • Negotiated and signed multiple incentive and technology support funding agreements.
  • Technology Deployments, to launch multiple products (pre-paid cards, mobile app, G2P and P2G aggregator, Cash & API management solutions)

In recent times, the Group has successfully delivered many G2P programs of the Government of Pakistan, including Punjab Flood Relief Program, PM Kisan Package, etc. Group’s Home Remittance Division is actively involved in various marketing campaigns with some major tie-ups in KSA, UAE and other healthy corridors which attracted excellent feedback from print/electronic media, participating agencies as well as from the customers.

Habib Bank Limited

The consumer business of the bank has been on a double-digit growth trajectory for the past few years, and now hosts one of the largest portfolios of the industry with one of the lowest loss rates. The bank plans to further penetrate this segment. To supplement this growth and to better manage its existing portfolio, the bank during the year invested in sophisticated systems and statistical tools such as behavioral scorecards. The project concluded in December 2017 and led to an upgradation of its existing application scorecards to third-generation scorecards and development and deployment of behavioral scorecards. Further, a “Decision-Smart”system, a decision support software has also been added, which gives the bank capabilities to better serve its customers and improve marketing of its products, while maintaining high standards of risk management. In line with digital transformation agenda, real time offering of personal loans via ATM has successfully been implemented.

United Bank Limited

UBL continues to invest in technology and innovation to re-define the customer experience and enhance security around financial transactions and customer data. In 2016, they embarked upon a ‘Digital Strategy’ that seeks to transform the way they do banking. In 2017, UBL opened Pakistan’s first digital lab in collaboration with IBM. This lab will provide a futuristic design thinking methodology to redefine core business models to develop ground-breaking and unique customer experiences. These would be created in direct collaboration with leading technology players including start-ups, fin-techs and ecosystem partners. During the year, they also inaugurated their first “Branch of the Future” that provides customers state-of-the-art technology driven financial solutions within a hi-tech branch setting. After the successful pilot launch of this branch, they intend to roll out such branches nationwide.

UBL’s branchless banking proposition Omni maintains its dominance and market position as a leader in financial inclusion in Pakistan. Their banking application “UBL Digital” has been developed with unique features and enhanced security, with a road map to release new versions of the product in the future developed based on customer feedback and payment requirements.


MCB Bank Limited

MCB Bank reached another milestone by launching its first 7-Days open branches at Emporium and Packages Mall branches in Lahore that operate from Monday to Sunday with extended business hours. The initiative has been taken to cater to the financial needs of the customers and provides an avenue for the customers to enjoy banking services at their convenience. The initiative has proven to be a success and MCB Bank plans on opening more branches providing 7-days banking facility to customers across the country.

Allied Bank Limited

ABL intends to remain at the forefront for improving access to quality financial services to the vast unbanked population in the country. Expansion in outreach through hybrid mix of conventional brick and mortar branches,‘Smart Branches’ and digital kiosks shall assist in further improving the outreach. Initiation of “Branchless Banking” going forward shall further facilitate in accomplishing financial inclusion strategy of the bank. In addition, through enrichment of digital banking operations, ABL intends to further enhance experience of customers by providing full suite of services for individuals through ‘MyABL’ and for corporates through ‘Business InternetBank’ solution respectively.

The writer is a Karachi based freelance columnist and is a banker by profession. He could be reached on Twitter @ReluctantAhsan

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