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HBL: Moves in the new direction

The brilliant performance shown by majority of the staff reflects the desired results of these efforts

By Shujat Ali Baig
Aug 27 - Sep 02, 2001

It is a known fact that the Habib Bank Limited (HBL) is one of the largest and the oldest financial institutions both in the public as well as in the private sector of Pakistan.

Traditionally, it provides financial services to all segments of the national economy within and outside Pakistan. With a revamp customer oriented philosophy, the Habib Bank is pursuing the new avenues of leadership through innovation and automation in customer services. The direction given to the staff by the leadership in the management is to gear up the efforts to face the challenges to bring new heights of professionalism in the banking system.

Social responsibility

Fresh air is also blowing in the Public Relation Division of HBL that believes in effective rapport with the general public by communicating the policies and schemes of the bank through print and electronic media. Besides maintaining close relationship with the media, the publicity division of HBL is also leaves no stone unturned to render all possible assistance to the visiting dignitaries and delegations from abroad.

HBL believes in serving the nation and building the country's economy on sound footings. The HBL is also on its forefronts to support and appreciate the efforts being done for the noble causes and promote social and cultural activities in the country. In this direction, the public relation division sponsors various social, cultural and sports events to generate healthy activities in the society. It also organizes religious programmes to enhance social, human and religious values and traditions of our society. The division also represents the bank at important fora to exchange views on national and international issues with various organizations to boost the intellectual activities.

Human resource development

At every stage and level right from selection to advancement, the bank has designed a consistent system of human resource development based on result oriented objectives. The brilliant performance shown by majority of the staff reflects the desired results of these efforts. The team spirit generated by the training division to the staff has started showing positive signs and a concerted and unified force has been developed within ranks and files of the bank to offer the best possible services to the valued customers. These efforts have brought success stories to the credit of Habib Bank. As a result of concerted efforts the HBL has succeeded in making substantial increase in the import forward booking volume. It also registered an increase in export bill discounting volume. These efforts also enabled the bank to increase in monthly treasury profits that directly contribute towards the profitability of the bank. An improved communication between the branches and dealing room accompanied by increased customer interaction with treasury is also the part of the improved performance of the bank. HBL has succeeded to place itself in a position where its Treasury is considered as market maker. Most of the small local banks use HBL's rate sheet as their benchmark.

Having its presence in 26 countries abroad, the Habib Bank has positioned itself as a provider of Trade Finance services and short-term finances. Although this positioning is not new, the idea had to be reinforced. It must be mentioned that before the incorporation of the new local banks in the early 90's HBL had 25 to 30 per cent of Pakistan's Trade Finance Market share that has now dropped to 16 per cent. The management of HBL has taken stock of the situation and has initiated a focused approach towards regaining the lost market share. With presence in 26 countries, the senior management emphasized utilizing its vast linkages for achieving the desired results in so far as Trade Finance is concerned.

In the nutshell, the forum gave a chance to all country managers to develop and redefine strategies and bring them in line with the overall objectives of the bank. The International Strategy Conference organized by HBL at Muscat last year was the part of that effort to develop and implement business plans that recognize the ground realities but at the same time incorporate a stretch component so that the Bank can regain its pre-eminent position in the emerging market.

Information Technology

In order to keep pace with changes swiftly taking place around the world, the HBL has embarked upon an ambitious plan for automation to have competitive edge over competing banks. An uphill task, it started in full swing and tempo which is unprecedented in the history of HBL. The team of I.T professionals has almost hit the goals set by the management and showing positive and encouraging results. The computer division is providing technical support both for hardware and software to branches and other offices at the region or Head Office level throughout the country to ensure trouble-free operations of the Bank.