The First Women Bank Limited (FWBL) is a unique,
specialized financial institution, a Commercial Bank and a Development
Financial Institution, run and managed by the women, to augment the
economic status of women in the society by offering the best financial
FWBL with a firm commitment to bring prosperity to
the women folk with special focus on the rural areas is striving with
the vision to be the lead bank for women of Pakistan.
The mission of the bank is to promote economic
prosperity and self-reliance in women by transforming their role from
passive participants to active partners in the economic development of
The role of the First Women Bank Limited is crucial
in the backdrop of the Government's plans for poverty alleviation. The
emphasis on poverty alleviation and empowerment of women is being
implemented through concerted efforts to increase access to credit for
income generation, and giving impetus to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
as an engine for growth. First Women Bank is playing a major role in
these two areas, with a special focus on women.
The present regime decided in March 2001 that the
First Women Bank Ltd would not be privatized. Earlier the previous
government had placed the bank on the disposal of the Privatization
Commission to present in the market for sale. Under the changed
leadership and new management of the Bank, the management set new
directions, with the following three pronged strategy
IMPROVED MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
FOCUS ON WOMEN DEVELOPMENT
In certain ways, the concurrent activities create
cross-purposes, as one kind seeks to essentially focus on areas to
augment in mercantile objectives of the Commercial bank, while the other
seeks to attain special objectives, primarily to cater to women at all
levels of economic activity.
The year 2001 was the year of turn-around for the
Bank. Significant growth recorded in all financial activities, despite
tight economic conditions and tough market conditions fully demonstrated
the commercial viability and competence of the bank leadership to make
Despite almost doubled from Rs3.4 billion to Rs6.2
billion (growth of 85.3 per cent); Advances enhanced from Rs604 million
to Rs833 million (growth of 37.9 per cent) and net profit before tax
increased from Rs26 million to Rs115 million (reflecting growth of 342
per cent), certainly a quantum jump.
The bank also accomplished highest results in all key
components over the last 12 years. Shareholders equity of Rs110 million
increased to Rs350 million; accumulated loss of Rs139 million as of
December 31, 2000 was reduced to Rs58 million on December 31, 2001.
Professional management and tight financial
discipline put the negative factors into reversed gear reflected in the
recoveries of Rs43 million during 2001 as against Rs16 million during
the previous year which constitutes 33 per cent of the non-performing
The year 2002 is expected to be more challenging than
the year 2001 particularly for the banking industry primarily due to
lower spreads, reduced demand for credit and enhanced market risks.
However, the First Women Bank is geared to maintain
its sustainable growth and at the same time improve advances/deposits
ratio by significantly increasing lending portfolio through prudent
disbursements with focus on market niche — the women sector.
The strategic direction for the year 2002 aims at
consolidation and strengthening through financial and organizational
restructuring. New divisions and departments are being established such
as, Finance & Planning Division, Corporate Credit Division and Small
& Medium Enterprises, Credit Division & Micro Credit Division
for which related infrastructure is being reinforced. Professionally
qualified experts have been hired to strengthen various divisions and
departments. A Credit Monitoring Cell will also be established soon.
Financial Services Desk is also being established to identify, support,
development and empower women, by providing Corporate Credit, Trade
Finance, Legal and Tax consultancy services. Special credit products to
cater to the specific needs of women are being developed. Ambitious
targets have also been allocated for attracting female account holders
and women borrowers.
The bank with a focus to strengthen the women
business activities intends to upgrade three business centers, which
offer comprehensive package for women enterprise development. Two
additional business centers will also be set up during current year.
A new direction of First Women Bank is strategic
alliances with international agencies for skill development of women and
capacity building of women entrepreneur. The bank intends to collaborate
with ILO/IPEC International Program for Elimination of Child Labor by
Identification of viable income generating projects and disbursement of
The bank envisages collaboration with SMEDA for
project identification; Project Evaluation; Accounting, Legal and
Marketing Services for identified customers and joint marketing campaign
for SME loans.