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4- CDC INTRODUCES ANOTHER SERVICE

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RESPONDING TO CUSTOMERS' NEEDS

 

Standard Chartered becomes the first international bank in Pakistan to offer Islamic Banking

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By SHABBIR H. KAZMI

July 19 - 25, 2004
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Standard Chartered's presence in almost 60% of the Muslim world provides a unique ability for the bank to understand, structure and deliver Islamic solutions suitable for its customers. By virtue of opening a dedicated branch in Karachi, it becomes the first international bank in Pakistan to offer Islamic Banking. This initiative is led by its Middle East South Asia regional team with Pakistan taking the lead as a pilot country. Countries next in line include United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bangladesh.

Speaking at the occasion Abid Sattar, Head of Consumer Banking said, "We were the first international bank to receive an Islamic Banking branch license from the State Bank of Pakistan. The day marks the opening of doors at our dedicated branch to customers offering them a range of products which are Sharia compliant. These include current accounts, auto finance and home finance with plans to introduce corporate banking related products during the course of the year."

Talking about strength of the bank, Abid stated, "Our commitment to Pakistan is absolute. With a presence of over 150 years in the industry, we are able to fully leverage our international capabilities and product expertise. Our deep knowledge and understanding are important enablers in the provision of sophisticated solutions to our customers. We have successfully forged strong relationships with our stakeholders and have built upon a sound reputation of providing high quality banking products and services. Against this backdrop, our vision for the future Islamic Banking products in Pakistan is both exciting and challenging."

Commenting on the future of Islamic Banking in Pakistan, Badar Kazmi, Chief Executive, Standard Chartered Pakistan stated, "We strongly believe that the future of the Islamic Banking industry in Pakistan is extremely promising and with the support of our partners, especially the State Bank of Pakistan through its proactive regulatory and promotional policies, we are strongly positioned to take the lead in this market. We believe that Islamic Banking products are very important facilities for our customers and the offering of these products is therefore a key initiative for Standard Chartered Bank."

 

 

Taking about an enviable track record of the bank, Kazmi said, "Today's event is an indication of Standard Chartered's continued emphasis on growth and commitment to Pakistan. We are proud to be operating in Pakistan as the largest international bank, with a realization that this status brings with it much responsibility. We have successfully executed Pakistan's first-ever structured interest rate swap for a notional amount of US$ 500 million for the Government of Pakistan. Today's landmark event is yet another indication of our commitment to Pakistan. One of our strengths, being an international bank, is to migrate best practices and new products from other geographies".

Pervez Said, Director, Islamic Banking Department of the State Bank of Pakistan was the Chief Guest of the ceremony. Speaking at the occasion Pervez stated that the central bank was in the process of evolving an environment conducive for working of Islamic banks according to true spirit of Sharia. State Bank is trying to take care of a number of factors relating to institutional arrangements and supervisory/regulatory framework. Efforts are underway to develop products, which are Sharia compliant. These products include Islamic commercial papers of short-term maturity and Sukuk-based instruments for financing of commodity trade and leasing of fixed assets.

Transformation of conventional commercial banking into Riba-free system is not an easy job. Dilating on Pakistan's strategy Pervez stated, "The government and the central bank decided in 2001 to promote Islamic Banking in the country in parallel with the conventional system. The central bank is taking advantage from the experience of other countries. Our objective is to create the enabling environment and let the people make their own choice."