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Company Profile   Habib Bank AG Zurich

 Company Profile 

Habib Bank AG Zurich

Mar 18 - 24, 2002

Habib Bank AG Zurich (to be referred as HBZ) was incorporated in 1967 in Zurich, Switzerland by a renowned family of bankers in Pakistan (Habib Family) with a paid-up capital of Swiss Francs 2 million. At the time of formation of HBZ, the Habib Family also owned Habib Bank Ltd. (HBL) in Pakistan with an asset base of over PRs. 12,597 million and had over 927 branches in Pakistan and 42 branches overseas. HBL was the largest commercial bank in Pakistan and ranked amongst the 200 largest banks in the world. In 1974 with the nationalization of Pakistani banks, the Habib Family lost the ownership of HBL and was left with only HBZ, which at that time had very modest operations, with only one branch in Zurich.

Since Mr. H.M. Habib was a regular visitor to the court of His Highness Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum in Dubai, when the banks in Pakistan were nationalized, H.H. Sheikh Rashid extended an invitation to the Habibs to open a bank in Dubai which they wholeheartedly accepted. A branch of HBZ was opened on August 6, 1974 in Murshid Bazar in Dubai. The first account holder of the bank was H.H. Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

HBZ, as a foreign bank, now has 8 established branches in the UAE. HBZ has presence in 12 countries through 33 established branches and subsidiaries. The Habib Family has been associated with the banking industry for over six decades. The bank has a strong tradition, solid foundation and a history of superior management. It enjoys a rich fund of goodwill with international banks and the business community, which is associated with the name of Habib.

HBZ Motto

Service With Security: The motto is a reflection of the bank's drive towards excellence with continual emphasis on its conservative management philosophy which is also evident from the mission statement.

HBZ mission

To retain and expand the customer base by providing a competitive, specialized and personal quality service in full compliance with the Swiss and local regulatory requirements.

To provide a comprehensive range of commercial, consumer and private banking services to a broad base of personal and business customers especially from our niche market.

To support the sound and efficient operations of the bank by regular monitoring and development of the infrastructure in terms of human resource, IT, procedures and processes.

To be a well and conservatively managed bank, showing reasonable and controlled growth, ensuring an adequate return for the shareholders.

To keep risks to a minimum through a clear policy of broad diversification in terms of geography and product mix by spreading the bank's credit and trade financing activities over a wide range of customers with emphasis on secured, short-term and self-liquidating lending.

HBZ product line

HBZ provides a wide range of financial services including deposit accounts, credit facilities, funds transfer, investment banking, private banking, electronic banking and various other services. The bank has a very strong base in import and export trade such as letters of credit, letters of guarantee, pre and post shipment finance for exporters, bridge financing and loan against merchandise and corporate finance.

The private banking group with its strong expertise in investment is well placed to cater to the needs of high net worth individuals for investment in fixed income instruments, equities, options, futures, funds etc. The Bank's treasury department is fully equipped to assist and advise clients on profitable investments in various currencies. Investments in metal and safe custody services are also offered as part of international financial planning.

Last year HBZ became the first bank in the UAE and possibly in the Middle East to offer WAP-based banking services. The facilities that are provided, use leading-edge technology that can be accessed through Wireless Application Protocol. Other services include Web banking, accessing ATM SWITCH facilities and GSM push banking for both commercial and private customers. Recently the bank has again made a break-through by introducing online LC facility and third party money transfers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Customer base/key suppliers

HBZ's niche market consists of the trading segment generally banking for their import and export needs. The bank also has a good client base of local customers and is now moving to capture high net-worth client base for priority and private banking services. The key suppliers are our correspondent banks, IT suppliers and consultants, auditors, banking institutions and relevant vendors.

Customer service

Since its inception, HBZ has focused in distinguishing itself by providing superior services to its customers. With its roots running deep into the long tradition of banking in Zurich, the Bank has retained its status as a family owned bank, giving priority to customer satisfaction and its reputation rather than profits.


HBZ uses a single all-in-one banking software (hPLUS), which was written by it's software developers. It is based on a core of 55 modules, delivering approximately 1,000 banking options. HBZ was one of the first corporations worldwide to embrace Sun's Java technology. Java technology is a fundamentally new way of computing, based on the power of networks and the idea that the same software should run on many different kinds of computers, consumer gadgets and other devices.

HBZ is the first bank in the world whose name was listed in Sun Microsystems's Java Technology Manual along with renowned companies like IBM, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories etc. HBZ has emerged as a leader in technology. Recently the 'Bankers Middle East' magazine awarded HBZ with a special prize for innovation.

Financial position

Since its inception, HBZ has seen an increasing trend in all the business figures including profit. In terms of profitability, HBZ is number 1 in the list of foreign banks and number 2 among all the banks in the UAE. HBZ is also among the top 5 foreign banks in UAE based on customer deposits.

Inspite of being a privately owned family bank, HBZ has been ranked as the 790th largest bank in the world. Out of 1,038 banks in Switzerland, it is placed at no. 31, whereas in real profit growth, it has been ranked no. 11. The bank follows a conservative banking approach and places great emphasis on high liquidity at all times. Due to its conservative policies, the bank is placed at 2nd position in Switzerland in terms of soundness.