UNION BANK STRIVING TO BE THE PREFERRED BANK

An interview with President of Union Bank

By AZAM ALI
Mar 21 - 27, 2005

The Union Bank, one of the fast emerging financial institutions after consolidating the domestic financial services being carried out by over 65 branches in Pakistan, is currently striving to expand its international operations by establishing branches in all commercial centers around the world.

Shaukat Tarin, President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank Limited in an interview with Pakistan and Gulf Economist observed "initially we have started our expansion program with two overseas branches in Sri Lanka which are likely to figure prominently in view of growing economic relations between Sri Lanka and Pakistan specially in wake of forthcoming Free Trade Agreement between the two countries. On an average, the Union Bank is opening 10 new branches every year to meet the pace of economic growth in Pakistan."

The response of the market to the remarkable performance of the Union Bank was reflected in its quality products and matchless services extended to its customers which speaks about spark in its leadership and the team of the professionals associated with it.

If the balance sheet of a bank is taken as the benchmark it gives an edge to the Union Bank against many of its competitors in the local market. Tarin observed in a firm tone that time is not far away when the Union Bank would be a 'preferred bank' in future and featuring as an upscale bank in the financial sector of the country, "our preferred target remained to help middle to upper middle class segment. We have been emphasizing on visa and credit card, SMEs and assets management and Kisan card." He added: "in future the bank will give special priority to the agriculture sector."

Talking about problems and hindrance, Shaukat Tarin said that professionals never take hindrance and problems into account, but take as a routine in business. However, Tarin said I see no any major jerk in future banking or other sectors. "This is a fact that consistency in major policies would remain in future even if there is any political change. This is the exact time and open field to show professionalism in banking sector. There are very positive response from the government side, especially the State Bank of Pakistan in last few years has given remarkable support to this sector."

In order to focus on agriculture sector, the Union Bank Limited has been selecting prime locations for its branches in the rural and urban parts of the country. The Bank has already opened branches in Vehari, Sargodha, Sahiwal, Multan, Sawat, Mingora, Sialkot, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Mirpur, Jehlum and Raiwind apart from branches in the big cities like Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Quetta.

"Our banking system is proved to be successful year after year; our superior financial performance is the result of strategic plan to invest in diversified product portfolio in consumer, corporate banking and SMEs sector," said Tarin. During last year (2004) Union Bank Limited remained focused on achieving its targets of superior growth in revenue, affective containment of administrative cost and significant progress in all areas of its operations.

A BRIEF PROFILE OF SHAUKAT TARIN

Mr. Shaukat Tarin, an MBA from the University of Punjab, is presently a President and Group Chief Executive of Union Group, which includes Union Bank Leasing Limited. He is a renowned banker with over 27 years of rich banking experience in national and global markets. In 1985, he became Country Manager of Citibank in UAE/Oman and also a manager for Citibank's consumer business in the Gulf and Pakistan. In 1991, he was appointed Country General Manager of Citibank in Pakistan, he later proceeded to Thailand as Country Manager of Citibank where he was responsible for a balance sheet of 4 billion US dollar.

In April 1997, Shaukat Tarin was appointed Chairman and President of Habib Bank Limited, the largest bank in the country. He was instrumental in around the HBL from a loss making operation to a profitable one.

Recently, Shaukat Tarin re-elected as Chairman of Pakistan Banks Association (PBA) for the year 2005. This is second successive term for him to chair PBA. He even held various prestigious positions as a member of the committees, which include National Development Finance Corporation, National Investment Trust, Overseas Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pakistan International Airlines, Central Depository Company of Pakistan, First Women Bank Limited, Pakistan Environment Council, Karachi Electric Supply Corporation, Investment Corporation of Pakistan, Fatmid Foundation, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, Institute of Business Administration, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture and also being the President of American Business Council.

UNION BANK: A BRIEF PROFILE

Established in 1991 and backed by a major Middle Eastern group, Union Bank today is the preferred choice of the thousands of satisfied customers throughout Pakistan. With 65 branches in 20 cities and a correspondent banking network of banks in 86 countries, Union Bank is rapidly gaining ground in the financial market.

The management of the Union Bank comprises of seasoned professionals in the fields of banking and finance thereby encouraging a culture of innovation and total customer satisfaction. Union Bank's vision is to provide its client with complete banking solutions.

Realizing this vision in the year 2000, Union Bank has acquired Bank of America's operations in Pakistan. Keeping on the same strategic run, in July 2001, Union Bank signed an Independent Operation agreement for American Express cards in Pakistan. As a result of this arrangement Union Bank now issues operate and markets American Express cards in Pakistan. The bank is also in the business of acquiring merchants accepting Visa, MasterCard, American Express and JCB cards. In 2002, Union Bank further strengthened its position among the private banks in Pakistan by acquiring the Pakistan operations of Emirates Bank International.