HBL WELL ADVANCED IN INTRODUCING NEW TECHNOLOGY FOR ROBUST SECURITY

SHUJAAT ALI BAIG
Aug
 31 - Sep 06, 2009

Today, the economy is passing through a transitory period-from extreme slowdown towards regaining the glory of the past. Silver lining for recovery of economy is visible following signals of an economic turnaround on the global economic front. Pakistan of course has to be extra vigilant to get in the bandwagon of opportunities with the recovery of the global economy.

The banking sector in Pakistan is supposed to play a much greater role in the struggle for economic revival of the country.

Habib Bank Limited is on the back of its position as the largest private sector commercial bank in Pakistan. So far the bank has an edge over the contemporaries in terms of branch network, customer deposit base, advances, and largest outreach.

On the back of global financial and economic crisis, the core banking system has been rolled out in all major branches and access to the centralized database has been made available to all its remotest branches. In fact, the domestic market in Pakistan has great potentials if capitalized to optimum level. This is one of the reasons that have been instrumental in improving customer service, developing new products, and enhanced controls, particularly in banking operations being conducted in far flung rural areas.

It may be noted that in ever-increasing importance of the agriculture potentials in Pakistan, the banking system under the guideline of the state bank of Pakistan as well as the policy of the government is focusing more on the agriculture sector by streamlining credit facilities to the farming sector.

In line with the policy of strengthening agriculture economy the agricultural credit disbursement by commercial and specialized banks rose 19 percent year-on-year to Rs 17.847 billion in the first month of the current fiscal 2009-10 (FY10). In absolute terms, disbursement of credit to the agriculture sector increased by over Rs 2.849 billion in July, 2009 when compared with total disbursement of Rs 14.998 billion in the same month last year.

Overall credit disbursement by five major commercial banks including Habib Bank Limited, Allied Bank Limited, MCB Bank Limited, National Bank of Pakistan and United Bank Limited stood at Rs 10.337 billion in July, 2009 compared with Rs 6.690 billion in July, 2008, depicting an increase of Rs 3.647 billion or 54.51 per cent.

Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, the largest specialized bank, disbursed a total of Rs 3.509 billion in July, 2009, up 12 percent when compared with Rs 3.132 billion in July 2008, while disbursement by Punjab Provincial Cooperative Bank Limited stood at Rs 548.127 million in July, 2009 compared with Rs 699.062 million in the same month last year.

Besides, 14 domestic private banks also loaned a combined Rs 3.453 billion in July, 2009 compared with Rs 4.477 billion disbursed in July, 2008. As far as HBL contribution towards promoting agriculture economy is concerned, it has come out with innovative products to facilitate the farming community such as Haryali Finance Scheme which allows a credit facility for three years, the tractor finance Scheme and poultry and live stock finance scheme.

It may be recalled that the State Bank of Pakistan has set an indicative agricultural credit disbursement target of Rs 260 billion for FY10. Banks disbursed a total of Rs 233.01 billion to the agricultural sector in FY09.

HBL on the back of its rich history spreading over 66 years has always been one of the largest employers of skilled manpower in Pakistan. HBL is rightly proud of having some of the best professional managers from the most illustrious management schools of the country. This well-knit and spirited team of professional has paved the way for Habib Bank to scale new professional heights in the days to come.

Over the last five years, HBL has invested heavily in Information Technology, branding, branch refurbishment and infrastructure, training systems and process. This has made the group to continue its growth in all segments and targets to remain the leader and the bank of choice for the majority.

The double A Plus credit rating of the bank is in fact a reflection of the bank's position as a leader in the banking sector of Pakistan in terms of deposits as well as the largest branch network which is supported by emphasis on customer satisfaction.

Currently, the bank is well advanced in introducing profitability analysis technology which will allow the group to identify and better service its most profitable customer relationships. The bank has embarked on strengthening this networking infrastructure under the Habib Global Network. The purpose of this network strengthen project is to improve network uptime to 99.5 percent, robust security and provide additional capability like video conferencing/IP telephony.

PAKISTAN'S LIQUID FOREIGN RESERVES POSITION

The total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $ 12,855.5 million on 22nd August, 2009. The break-up of the foreign reserves position is as under: -

i) Foreign reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan :

$ 9,359.9 million

ii) Net foreign reserves held by banks (other than SBP):

$ 3,495.6 million

iii) Total liquid foreign reserves:

$ 12,855.5 million