CITI-PPAF MICRO ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS IN NOV

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Aug 24 - 30, 2009

Citi has been actively promoting the development of microfinance in Pakistan for the past several years. It has worked in collaboration with a host of reputable NGOs and Micro Finance Institutions to spread the message of micro-credit and small-scale entrepreneurship in the country. As part of Citi's ongoing commitment to the field of microfinance, it has announced that the Citi Foundation will continue its support to the Micro entrepreneurship Awards program again this year, highlighting the achievements of some of the most innovative micro entrepreneurs in Pakistan. This year, the Citi Foundation is committing a total over $750,000 to the Citi Micro entrepreneurship Awards program across the 18 countries, where the awards will take place in 2009, including Pakistan.

Made possible in Pakistan through a US$55,000 grant from the Citi Foundation, the key aim of the MFAP is to illustrate and promote the effectiveness of micro-finance as a poverty alleviation tool and to celebrate the achievements of the most innovative micro entrepreneurs in Pakistan. Most importantly, it is a platform for engaging thought leaders in creating links between micro-finance networks across the country.

Launched in Lahore through a media conference, the 'Citi-PPAF Micro-entrepreneurship Awards Program 2009' will recognize and reward leadership, entrepreneurial skills, and best practices of individual micro entrepreneurs across Pakistan.

Attended by PPAF and Citi Pakistan's senior management, the launch included a presentation on the overall growth and development of the microfinance sector in Pakistan as well as the scope and objectives of the MFAP, a short movie on the role of Citi and PPAF towards the community as well as remarks by Huzoor Buz and Kubra Asghar, who were two of the winners for the 2008 awards and were invited to share their experiences at the 2009 media launch.

A National Advisory Council comprising of well-placed and professional members has been formed to oversee the program and to interview short-listed candidates in the final judging round.

The advisory panel includes Mr Asif Jooma, CEO Abott Laboratories and President of the American Business Council, Mr Mushtaq Chapra, Founding Member of The Citizen's Foundation, Ms Ayesha Tammy, Senior Journalist and TV Presenter, Ms Maryam Riaz, Program Specialist USAID, Mr Saad Amanullah, CEO Gillette, Mr Mohsin Ahmed, CEO Pakistan Microfinance Network, Asad Umar, President & Chief Executive, Engro Chemical Pakistan Limited, and Mr Mubashir Ali, Programme Director Social Enterprise Development Centre, LUMS amongst others.

The awards will be presented in the following categories: Best National Male/Female, Best Urban Male/Female, Best Rural Male/Female, Most Innovative Male/Female, Most Successful in Overcoming Adversity Male/Female. Moreover, few new awards are added this year like Best Internally Displaced Person's Entrepreneur and Best Female Single Parent/Widow Entrepreneur to ensure that equal representation is given to women, IDP's and other similar marginalized groups. There will be a runner up award for each category as well.

Special recognition awards will also be given to Loan officers and representatives of Micro Finance Institutions. The awards ceremony is scheduled for November 2009 in Islamabad.

Speaking at the launch CEO PPAF Kamal Hyat said, "People all over the world have similar aspirations for gaining financial independence and sustaining their families. It is a program that provides the first step in that direction. We are proud to work with Citi for the sixth year in a row on these awards and hope to continue doing so in the future."

Citi Country Officer and Managing Director Arif Usmani said, "Citi's support for these awards and to the microfinance arena at large, aims to create long-term, sustainable changes to poverty alleviation in Pakistan. The idea is to inculcate an entrepreneurial skill set amongst potential clients, rather than provide them with one-off funding. Such a forum allows best practices in the field to be shared amongst a host of stakeholders and we hope to conduct a successful program with PPAF once again this year."

As we continue through 2009, Citi remains committed to enhancing economic opportunities for individuals and families so they can improve their standard of living, by providing support for programs aligned with its economic empowerment mission including microfinance, small and growing business, education, financial education and asset building, and environmental sustainability.

The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) represents an innovative model of public private partnership. Sponsored by the government of Pakistan and funded by the World Bank and other leading donors, the PPAF has a resource base of over US$ 633.17 million.

SAMBA BANK IN RAWALPINDI

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Samba Bank Limited (SBL) opened its branch in main Saddar, Rawalpindi Cantt. It was inaugurated by Dr. Shujaat Nadeem (Member of the Board of Samba Bank Limited), accompanied by Tawfiq A. Husain, President & CEO and other Senior Management of Samba Bank Limited.

Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Tawfiq A. Husain, President & CEO of Samba Bank Limited, said that SBL continues to selectively open new branches in order to improve its foot print while developing and promoting alternate distribution channels (Samba Phone, Samba Online & ATMs). This would provide SBL's growing customer base with world class banking experience along with the planned introduction of new innovative products, which will contribute to the development of SBL franchise and creation of long term value for its stake holders.

Samba Bank Limited is a majority owned subsidiary of Samba Financial Group with a balance sheet of approximately $50 billion, shareholder's equity of $4.7 billion and net profitability consistently exceeding $ 1.5 billion year-on-year, Samba Financial Group is a leading financial institution in the Middle East.


MEEZAN BANK POSTS ROBUST EARNINGS

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Despite difficult market conditions Meezan Bank has declared an increase in net profit after tax of 15% over the corresponding period last year - profit increased from Rs. 443 million to Rs. 509 million.

The bank has achieved growth in all business segments and consolidated its position as the leading Islamic Bank in Pakistan . Deposits increased by 16% to Rs. 81.5 billion during the six month ended June 30, 2009. Paid-up Capital of the bank increased to Rs. 6.6 billion during the period after taking into account proceeds from the rights issue of Rs. 1.7 billion as a result of which the Tier 1 Capital Adequacy Ratio of the Bank now stands at a very healthy 13.2%.

Earnings per Share (EPS) increased to Rs0.96 from Rs. 0.87 in the corresponding period last year. This performance has been achieved in the backdrop of difficult political and economic conditions that have negatively impacted all segments of the business environment.

It is also encouraging to note that income from core banking business increased by 66%, clearly demonstrating the strong growth momentum that has been maintained. The balance sheet has also shown a healthy growth of 17% over December 31, 2008 to Rs. 99.7 billion from Rs. 85.3 billion.

Meezan Bank's Retail Banking business is organized through a network of 166 branches and sub branches spread across Pakistan . All branches are 'on-line' and are supported by a state-of-the-art 24/7 Call Center and over 140 ATMs. The Bank also offers a comprehensive Debit Card that is accepted at over 3,000 outlets across Pakistan.