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Askari Commercial Bank Ltd.

An Interview with Mr. Mehriyar Pataudi Head - Credit Card Division.

May 21 - Jun 03, 2001

You have recently launched Askari MasterCard. What is the market response?

The market response is tremendous. I would say. It has certainly exceeded our expectations. Our office is inundated with queries from people wanting to apply for Askari MasterCard. This is a very encouraging sign and gives us a lot of confidence for the future.

What growth potential do you see in the local credit card market?

Obviously, we had done our homework before launching Askari MasterCard, so we knew all the time that a market existed out there for a new credit card to enter the market backed by a solid name.

Askari Bank, as you would know, has established for itself a solid reputation among the country's banks. We are today one of the largest private sector banks in Pakistan having state of the art on-line banking systems with a large ATM network. Coupled with MasterCard, again a globally reputed credit card brand, the combination of Askari and MasterCard makes for a sure-fire recipe for success.

Who did you choose to align with MasterCard and not with any other international brand?

For the reason I just stated — namely, that MasterCard is one of the world's best known and most trusted names in the credit card market. MasterCard has never been aggressively launched in Pakistan as a premier product before. We see tremendous growth in our product specially because MasterCard as a brand was perceived as a conservative product. We feel that we have managed to change that perception to a certain extent from our aggressive & innovative marketing campaign. Our marketing efforts will consistently be aimed at strengthening the brand name to raise consumer awareness. Besides there are so many other invaluable benefits and perks that the customer gets as a Askari MasterCard holder. For e.g Askari MasterCard is accepted at over 14 million establishments in 160 countries worldwide, including over 10,000 merchants across Pakistan, and provides you the opportunity to shop, travel or dine — globally or locally — as and when you wish.

Why should one go for Askari MasterCard and not any other card?

Because Askari MasterCard offers more than a customers expectations. To begin with, there is no joining fee coupled with a very low service rate.

This low rate also applies to any cash advance drawn against Askari MasterCard. Besides the above mentioned, the following are some of our product features.

•Low Service Charges
•Travel Accident Insurance
•Travel Privileged Services
•Hotel Discounts
•Global Acceptability
•Free Card Replacement
•No Surcharge on Cash Payment
•24 Hours Customer Facility (Khi/Lhr/Rwp)

Do You perceive any change in the profile of today's credit card applicants as compared to, say, five years back?

Yes. I feel the credit card user today is much better informed and certainly more demanding than before. He/she now uses their credit card more judiciously and expects to get much more out of it than just a credit facility against purchases. This is one reason why we would like to offer more value added services with Askari MasterCard in future.