BANK OF PUNJAB AT AN ENVIABLE PROFESSIONAL HEIGHT
This trend stems from its results shown by the end of December 2005.
FROM KHALID BUTT, LAHORE
Jan 23 - 29, 2006
Bank of Punjab is heading towards registering its highest and record year of profitability which is mainly attributable to the dynamic policies of liberalization and deregulation initiated by the present team of economic managers and of course to the vision of the professional leadership of the bank.
This trend stems from its results shown by the end of December 2005. From an ailing and poorly managed bank BOP during past three years under the dynamic leadership of its President Hamesh Khan has undergone a remarkable and historic turnaround.
Having led the Bank of Punjab to an enviable height on the banking horizon of the country, Hamesh has however his own reservations regarding the policy of enhancing mark-up rates which he feels might slow down activities in certain areas which otherwise had shown robust growth during the past two years. The economy in fact is in the middle of a turnaround and at this crucial juncture a balanced financial regime has to play a vital role in achieving the desired results especially to counter inflation, generate unhampered economic activity and job creation which all meant to alleviate poverty which is the major challenge for the economic managers.
The banking system in the present scenario is however free from outside political or administrative pulls as well as enjoying a level playing field which is providing an environment of healthy competition to the financial institutions in Pakistan.
An analysis of last three years' financial soundness indicators of the Bank of Punjab, which is now in existence for more than 16 years, reveals an all round improvement particularly in the areas of capital adequacy, asset quality, liquidity and profitability.
Various past managements conducted the Bank's operations in a directionless manner marred with adhocism and unguided actions. No effort was made to develop self-sustainable system and procedure. No systems & controls were introduced through regimented policy ambit to create direction, objectivity & transparency in the organization. Employees' morale was also at its lowest ebb.
The situation has been reversed by the turnaround vision of the new management and since then it has brought several qualitative as well as quantitative changes. Last two and a half years have been very exhilarating and satisfying period for the present management because the strategy that it had devised and started implementing in May 2003 has completely transformed the bank into a viable, proactive, progressive and a very prosperous institution.
The bank which was making operational loss of Rs.20.O0 (M) per month in May 2003 is now yielding a monthly profit in excess of Rs.250.00 (M).
The present management team has turned around the bank following a holistic approach with focus on growth of balance sheet, IT development and human resource management. The bank has succeeded in bringing about a change in the strategic focus of its long term policy objectives by capitalizing on BOP's potential strengths and eliminating some of its inherent organizational weaknesses. The success of these initiatives is demonstrated below in the bank's impressive performance indicators:
The figures show that the bank has managed to achieve significant performance on the back of sustainable core operations.
The Bank of Punjab has strengthened its overall risk management function. The bank's assets quality, with a reduction in NPLs both in absolute terms as well as percentage of total advances, has improved. Moreover, the emphasis on strengthening systems and controls is expected to limit fresh impairment.
Credit rating of the bank has also been upgraded which now stands at A1 (Short Term) & AN (Long Term) as done by PACRA.
The Bank of Punjab has taken the fair share of the fast credit growth in the country with a hallmark of introducing diversity in loan portfolio. The above comparison reveals that advances touched Rs.50.5 billion in September 2005 which depict 153% growth from June 2003 figure of Rs.12.6 billion.
The cumulative growth in deposits of Rs.42.8 billion as on September 30, 2005 is one of the highest among peer group. Moreover, the share of Government Deposits, both Provincial as well as Federal has reduced to only 36% in September 2005 as compared to 50% in June 2003.
In order to increase the availability of credit under reasonable terms and conditions, various new products have been introduced & old products have been remodeled to meet the needs of all segments of the market, these are as under:
Agricultural loans (12 multifarious schemes)
Corporate Loans - New
House Loans - New
SME Loans - New
Consumer Loans- New
•Invested in technology (front end & back office) and computerized all the branches.
•Opened fifteen ATMs & several more to come on line this year (M-Net).
•100% networking of branches on real time basis.
•MIS System thoroughly upgraded.
•Introduced Debit Card.
•Provided training to the existing staff to compete with the changing environment & update them with the market.
•Instituted mandatory 3 days regimented training for every staff member.
•Created & hired qualified team of more than 200 Relationship Managers for customer relationship with three months formal training.
•Recruited a team of Agriculture Credit Officers, specialized in the field of Agriculture to meet & understand the needs of the farmers.
•Recruited a large number of Cash Officers to improve customer services and bring efficiency in the daily operations.
•Introduced an objective annual goal settings & appraisals system.
•Introduced teller system.
•Restructured Special Assets Management Division as a credit remedial management unit for a more proactive remedial stance.
•Created & implemented a detailed "Credit Policy Manual" to streamline the procedures and provide a benchmark for prudent lending & control.
•Created & implemented "Process Manual - Centralized Operation for Foreign Trade"- trade factories catering to virtual trade branches.
•Created & implemented "Information Technology Policy Manual" to govern the IT department and bring more efficiency & streamline the work.
•Created & implemented a comprehensive "Audit Manual" to better monitor the activities of the bank and generate positive results.
•Created & implemented "Operations Manual" to provide guidelines for the department and monitor their performance.
•Established Internal Control & Compliance Unit (ICCU) with a view to integrating internal audit and compliance functions.
•Segregated operations and marketing functions with a view to bringing more focus and specialization of activities.
•Introduced Quality Assurance benchmarks.
•The Joint Committee of the ICAP & ICMA has selected the BOP as a winning company for the Best Corporate Reports for the year 2004. The competition included all the companies listed on all the three stock exchanges of the country.
•The bank also received "Merit Award" conferred by the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) on best presentation of Annual Accounts 2004.
•BoP is continuing to invest in new business activities. The benefits from cost efficiencies across the enlarged business portfolio have started to accrue.
•The share of fee based income in total revenues is gradually increasing. The financials for the forthcoming period amply display this diversification of core revenue streams.
•The Bank of Punjab seems to continue leveraging innovative business models that add value for it stakeholders. There are two more areas, where the bank is planning to focus upon, namely, building quality human resources and a thorough review of major work processes, aimed at rationalizing support systems, internal controls and automation.