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Asif A. Brohi, Regional Chief Executive speaks to PAGE

By AMANULLAH BASHAR
April 22 - 28, 2002

Though the credit for the outstanding results achieved by the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) during the last three years goes to the collective efforts put in by the bank staff, yet the dynamism as well as the professionalism of the leadership is equally important for achieving such impressive results.

In the Karachi Region, NBP probably is the only bank both in the public and the private sector, which increased its profits by 300 per cent during the last three years.

Asif A. Brohi, Regional Chief Executive of the National Bank of Pakistan, observed this for Karachi region since July 1997 while talking to PAGE in an exclusive interview.

He said that the growth in the deposit base of the bank was 100 per cent, advances increased by 100 per cent while efficient financial discipline reduced the cost of management by 30 per cent during last 3 years.

Contrary to the perception generally prevails about the public sector organisations, which have produced a crop of lethargic and arrogant officials, the working environment and the conduct of the officials gives a pleasant surprise when one visits NBP's regional Head Office located at Clifton, Karachi.

Asif Brohi, a person with dignity in his every step and a spark in his eyes to accept the challenges, in fact had joined NBP some 14 years back as a challenge to serve his own people and the country despite offers of lucrative jobs on completion of his education abroad.

"It is the love of the soil and a passion to serve my own people which forced me to take the difficult path, options were however there to take easy course otherwise" Asif said with a sense of achievement.

Asif Brohi did his Masters in Business Administration from Northrop University, California in 1981-83. His major was Strategic Management. Before leaving for abroad for higher studies, he also did his Masters in English Literature from the University of Sindh in 1978-80.

Besides carrying a rich experience in the banking profession, Asif Brohi has an impressive academic background with an exposure in the world of education as the Professor of Management in Northrop University, California.

Besides, having teaching experience at Northrop, he carries the credit of working as the Management Consultant to the International Management Development Center, University of Maryland for a Government of Pakistan/ USAID Project on Command Water Management Development in 1986.

Professional Training in Management and Training and Planning at the International Development Management Center at University of Maryland, USA, Colorado State University at Port Collins, Colorado, Team Planning and Managing at the US Department of Agriculture, Washington.

While talking about his region, Asif Brohi said that the policy of the bank is service oriented rather than going blindly for profit earnings.

The customer services being provided by the bank has helped winning the support and confidence of the people in National Bank.

He said today in the customer service segment, 1150 branches of the bank offering a nonstop utility bill collection facility from right 9 in the morning to 5 in the evening.

To provide maximum facility to the general customers whether they are the account holders or not, 200 branches are collecting utility bills from 9 am to 8 pm besides the facility to pay through ATM machines while where ever was needed special counters for women are also operating for bill collections. Apart from utility bills, 8 branches are also providing customer services for collecting motor vehicles tax.

When asked about the criterion for rightsizing of the branches, Asif said that only those branches were closed where they had become surplus due to clustering of other branches of different banks. Otherwise even unprofitable branches were allowed to continue in view to facilitate the customers in remote and far flung areas.

When asked to comment on the visible difference of behaviour and conduct between the staff of a multinational bank and the local one, the immediate reaction was a smile on his face. While agreeing to some extent Asif said that before making any conclusion in this respect you should look at the type and segment of the customers these foreign banks are dealing with. The academic and social background of the staff these banks have hired should also be kept in mind. They have a certain class of customers as well as a certain class of the staff. On the contrary, in our bank we have to serve all sort of customers who include pensioners, petty business people and other kind of people from low-income groups. The customers come to the banks with all social and economic pressures with a desire to get a personalized service from the bank staff. On the other hand the bank staff is also the part of this society coming from the similar segments of the population. One should be ignore these hard facts while comparing the attitude of the national and the multinational organizations, he observed.