FAYSAL BANK, HOPING ITS BEST

BY SADAF AUARANGZAIB
Oct 08 - 21, 2007

Faysal Bank started operations in Pakistan in 1987, first as a branch set-up of Faysal Islamic Bank of Bahrain and since 1995 as a locally incorporated Pakistani bank under the present name of Faysal Bank Limited. On January 1, 2002, Al Faysal Investment Bank Limited, another group entity in Pakistan, merged into Faysal Bank Limited which resulted in a larger, stronger and much more versatile institution. In fact it has one of the highest share capital amongst private banks in Pakistan and is amongst one of the largest in terms of equity.

Faysal Bank Limited is a full service banking institution offering consumer, corporate and investment banking facilities to its customers. The Bank's widespread and growing network of branches in the four provinces of the country and Azad Kashmir, together with its corporate offices in major cities, provides efficient services in an effective manner.

The strength and stability of Faysal Bank Limited is evident through the Credit Rating assigned by JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited of AA (Double A) for long to medium term and A-1 (A one) for short term and a similar rating by PACRA.

The majority share holding of Faysal Bank Limited is owned by Ithmar Bank (a DMI Group company based in Bahrain). The remaining shareholders comprise of the general public, NIT and other Pakistani institutions. The Bank's shares are quoted on the Karachi and Lahore Stock Exchanges.

The bank is geared towards increasing its branch network to exceed 100 branches by the end of 2007. Faysal Bank has also on its credit the successful implementation of a new banking system SYMBOLS from Sungard System Access, Singapore as its core banking system replacing an older system developed within the bank. This step is taken as a part of the plan to revamp technology platform of the bank to bring it in line with international technology standards enabled services delivery demands of the market.

In order to get an overview of the how this technology transfer will effect employees training effort at Faysal Bank, we met the Head of Human Resource Division, Seemin Shafi.

Seemin has been associated with Faysal Bank for about twelve years. To her credit remained several other responsibilities of other business areas before she stepped in to HR Management. She expressed that having experienced the business requirements of retail and consumer banking, risk analysis and dealing with customers and representing the bank at various forums as well as having a detailed knowledge of the banks polices and how they developed has enabled her to gauge the requirements of the Human Capital requirements of the bank in a much more comprehensive manner and given her a unique insight of how to motivate employees to develop a performance culture. She did her MBA from IBA and later did another MBA in USA.

She said that HR policies at Faysal Bank are dynamic and are constantly being upgraded, updated and added to, in accordance with the changing needs of the organization and market trends.

While talking about training being imparted at Faysal Bank, she communicated that the bank has a full training department which imparts training to existing employees as well as fresh graduates that are hired by the bank in trainee positions. Training, she said, is of two kinds, one is banking related, and another is soft skill related. All employees have to undergo both the trainings so to enhance their banking as well as communicating and management skills. The Management/Officer Training Programs are rigorous and formal course of instruction on all aspects of banking for young professionals. These training programs are designed to polish the Trainees' knowledge of banking and induce a spirit of professionalism in them. Faysal Bank besides its own in-house faculty also extensively uses outside experts and trainers and also sends its employees for specialized training courses outside Pakistan.

While talking to her, it was discussed that Faysal Bank has installed a very sophisticated and interactive banking system, SYMBOLS for which staff was trained abroad, who are now looking after this system here in Pakistan. While talking about Symbols, she said that unlike the older system in use, Symbols will use a centralized database that will provide the bank process efficiency and low transaction costs, reduced turnaround time, and an instantaneous, pan Pakistan customer centric 360 degree view of the customer.

The new technology system will enable the bank to offer flexible and tailor made products and services for different segments of customers and deliver through a variety of electronic channels. Together with this major change of core banking system, Faysal Bank is also implementing Oracle financial as ERP Solution, and a massive upgrade of its wide area network architecture. A cutting edge IT telephony system with media convergence has already been implemented. Staff who will be using all these sophisticated systems are being trained and thus adequate transfer of technology is taking place.

Faysal Bank on an average hires approximately 200 fresh graduates annually; after having a written aptitude test and interview by a panel of senior management, these graduates are hired and trained for specific assignments in banking.

She pointed out that today almost all the banks whether in private or public sector are working towards modern day HRM concepts as its is not possible to survive in today's highly competitive market otherwise. While responding to why the HRD is not as effective in public sector as in private ones, she said that while she would not say that all public sector organizations were not using HR efficiently, some of them may be hampered by sheer size of the organizations which took time to get HR initiatives implemented properly. She said that in this day and age public sector is as much aware of its HR responsibilities as the private sector. She spoke of government forums for HRD and HRM but she felt strongly that both public and private sector should jointly endeavor to develop a performance culture in the work environment.

She also brought about the issue of brain drain which is a big challenge for the local banking industry. As the market is getting competitive, good bankers are in demand not only inside the country but outside Pakistan like in Gulf region and many young bankers are leaving the country to join there. The main factors are monetary as well as international exposure. The younger crowd, she said is moving there as they have the time to invest in experimenting and if things don't work out, they come back and can still have options open for them at home. She said that the international experience on their resumes make them easier to secure immigration status which many of the younger crowd is aspiring towards. In this context she said that Faysal Bank, is training young bankers and many of them move to other institutions in and outside Pakistan. This she said is her bank's contribution towards corporate social responsibility, the development of good banking talent and the development of a good HRM within the country.

In her message to young bankers, Seemin said, that frequent job hopping because of monetary benefits is not a good idea in the long run. No body expects employees to stick to one job all their lives but the reasons for switching jobs must be career oriented rather than money oriented. With quick and frequent job changes, the young professional may get a higher remuneration but will not acquire any depth of knowledge which will in the long run effect career growth.

FINANCING FACILITIES

CORPORATE FINANCING: RELATIONSHIP, RELIANCE AND COMMITMENT

Faysal Bank Limited is fully geared to meet the changing economic challenges present in Pakistan. Striving to build meaningful relationships with customers and become partners in their growth and progress by acting as financial advisors and consultants as well as

financiers. The Corporate Finance Group extends both short and long term financing facilities designed to fulfill the individual need of each corporate customer

Small and Medium Enterprise Financing: Quick, Useful and Feasible

Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) unit of the Bank is geared towards catering to the banking requirements of small to medium businesses in a timely and therefore cost effective manner. All the branches of Faysal Bank are equipped to speedily attend incoming financing requests from SMEs.

AGRICULTURAL FINANCING:

TIMELY, AFFORDABLE AND ATTAINABLE

Faysal Bank offers specialized products for the agricultural sector. The branches located in agricultural areas of Pakistan are all equipped to help the local farmers improve their yield and methods of farming by offering timely and affordable modes of financing to suit their needs.

To increase its outreach into agricultural regions of Pakistan, Faysal Bank has entered into strategic alliances with other specialized banks through whom it will be financing the needs of farmers.

TRADE FINANCING: GLOBAL, EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE

Faysal Bank has established a strong presence globally in Trade Financing through it's network, affiliates and correspondents. The Bank has conveniently maintained relationships with major banks in the international financial market and continues to develop new ones wherever needed. The Trade Finance services include a full range of import, export and guarantee products, thus offering tailor-made solution to fit the individual need of each customer

INVESTMENT BANKING:

DYNAMIC, PROFITABLE AND PRUDENT

With the ever-changing business environment in Pakistan, companies need expert partners with a keen understanding of business to help achieve profit objectives. Faysal Bank offers the leaders of businesses and institutions, corporate advisory services and a wide array of tools to help them accomplish their goals. It advises and facilitates the arrangement of commercial paper, Modaraba flotation, syndications, mergers, acquisitions and underwriting arrangements amongst many others. Whether the customers require financing of a project or managing of investments, Faysal Bank guides them through the markets and tailor a solution to meet their specific needs.

TREASURY AND CAPITAL MARKETS

Faysal Bank's Treasury is one of the leading market makers in quoting competitive prices in all major currencies and provides dynamic corporate and institutional marketing teams with up-to-date market information. The cutting edge is the in-time advice and execution of deals for the customers. Faysal Bank's treasury team strives to satisfy the customer's financial needs in a timely and a flawless manner.

Faysal Bank has earned immaculate reputation in the field of Capital Markets, which is quite evident from the track record and market share in this area.