EDUCATION KEY TO RESOLVE SOCIOECONOMIC ISSUES
INTERVIEW: SIRAJUDDIN AZIZ PRESIDENT & CEO HABIB METROPOLITAN BANK
May 7 - 20, 2012
Sirajuddin Aziz, who has recently joined Habib Metropolitan Bank as the President and CEO, has 34 years of proven professional accomplishments in various financial organizations in Pakistan, China, Hong Kong, UK, Nigeria, and UAE to his credit.
It would not be out of place to mention that those who personally know Sirajuddin Aziz would agree that once you converse with him you would always wish to meet him again and again. He is like a good book, which people love to read again and again.
To a question about his new responsibilities and strategy as the President of Habib Metropolitan Bank, he said with a smile that in fact it is a continuation of a journey in the banking sector. As far as the role of Habib Metropolitan Bank is concerned, it is perhaps one of the major players in the market with specialty of providing trade financing at the national scale both on export and import fronts. It may be mentioned that he was the President and CEO of Bank Alflah prior to this new position.
Taking an overview of the current economic scenario, which is invariably linked with the banking industry, he said that at present the banking sector is quite comfortable as far as its profitability and earnings is concerned as the lion's share of bank advances go to government papers, which are a safe mode of investment with secured return.
However, the time would come when the government would not be depending on banking sector for deficit financing and that would be the time when the banks would have to play their role to serve the private sector on the basis of their professional expertise coupled with innovative products as the prerequisite to be commercially viable in the market.
Actually, there is a need of a national agenda to be formulated with the consensus of all the stakeholders and that national economic plan should remain in vogue irrespective of the change of government.
A permanent economic plan is essentially required to make things predictable for the investors. The best example for devising such a plan is China Model, which helped that country to grow economically on sound footings, Aziz remarked.
At the moment, the private sector is being crowded out by the government which is in need of funds for deficit financing, however the situation would not remain the same as the real engine of growth is the private sector.
Besides energy crisis, the cost of production has gone up while purchasing power has declined due to rising inflation, which has a serious impact on economic activities. The high rate of financing is yet another factor keeping away the private sector. Under the prevailing situation, despite devaluation of currency, the export target of $27 billion seems a difficult task at the end of the current financial year.
The global economic recession has also affected the demand growth, however things are gradually on the way of improvement, he expressed his hope.
On a question regarding project financing especially in the energy sector, Sirajuddin Aziz was of the view that banks in fact are supposed to engage their resources on long-term basis. In fact, it is the job of development financial institutions, which did a marvelous job in the past as well, to play its due role in this regard. There is still a need for development institutions to offer project finance, which is the need of the hour, he maintained.
About Habib Metropolitan Bank, he said the bank has carved a respectable place in the market as one of the major contributors towards trade financing hence participating significantly in the export and import activities at a massive scale with ever expanding its branch network all over the country.
HABIB METROPOLITAN BANK LTD.
The bank was incorporated in Pakistan as a public listed company in 1992 under the name of Metropolitan Bank Limited. The bank commenced, duly licensed, full scheduled commercial-banking operations in October 1992. The Metropolitan Bank from October 1992 to September 2006 remained a highly rated bank and established as a distinguished provider of trade finance services.
With a branch network of 163 branches/sub branches (including Islamic banking branches), the bank provides a full range of banking services including cash management, e-salary for corporate employees, online utility bills payment solutions on its ATMs and through 24-hour call centre, online instant fund transfer facilities, SWIFT, teleinfo, web-info and mobile banking alerts (GSM) to the customers. The bank plans to open more branches during the year and continues with its program for upgrading existing branches to provide better services.
On October 26, 2006 Habib Bank AG Zurich's Pakistan Operations was merged into Metropolitan Bank Limited and the merged entity was named Habib Metropolitan Bank Limited. Demonstrating a strong commitment to Pakistan's economy, HBZ is the principal shareholder of HABIBMETRO.
By the grace of Allah, the bank continues to make steady progress in the present difficult conditions. Deposits increased to over Rs191 billion as on March 31, 2012 against Rs185 billion at the previous yearend. Advances increased to Rs112 billion as against Rs110 billion at the previous yearend while investments decreased to Rs128 billion at the end of first quarter 2012.
Profit before tax rose 13 per cent to Rs1,203 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 compared to corresponding quarter of last year, which is a reflection on the bank's strong and resilient engine.
The performance translates into post tax earnings per share of Re0.80. At the quarter end, HMB's net equity stands at Rs23.5 billion with a comfortable 13.63 per cent capital adequacy level (Basel II) against the required 10 per cent.
HABIBMETRO operates in all major cities of the country. The bank ranks within top 10 in Pakistan with a strong vision to be the most respected financial institution. It has its primary focus on retail banking and trade finance and also offers highly innovative e-banking solutions and consumer banking to its customers. The bank's Islamic banking division is fully capable of catering to customers seeking Shariah compliant products.
The HBZ Group is heir to a rich tradition of banking and commerce dating back to more than 160 years. Habib Bank AG Zurich entered top 1000 world banks list in the year 2000 when it was ranked 862. Its ranking has continued to improve steadily over the years and as per latest issue of the "The Banker: July 2011".
Habib Bank AG Zurich's world ranking is now 550 whereas in soundness, the bank is ranked as 174th soundest bank of the world. With headquarters in Switzerland, the HBZ Group also operates in Hong Kong, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, South Africa, United Kingdom and North America. Habib Bank AG Zurich maintains BIS Capital Ratio of 16.09 per cent against required of 11.2 per cent for the bank.
Habib Metropolitan Bank Ltd. continues to enjoy AA+ (Double A Plus) ratings for long term and A1+ (A one plus) ratings for short term by the Pakistan Credit Rating Agency Limited (PACRA) for the 11th consecutive year. These ratings denote a very high credit quality, a very low expectation of credit risk, and a very strong capacity for timely payment of financial commitments.
It will be interesting to know that despite being the president of the bank, Aziz is not only well connected in local banking circles in Pakistan, but devotes some of his time to contribute articles on varied subjects to English newspapers regularly, participates in T.V. shows on finance and economy and addresses various universities and professional forums on banking related subjects.
It will be a pleasant surprise for one to know that he is a regular reader of children's magazine and takes interest to suggest and contributes for children development, which, he says, are the forthcoming young leaders.
He believes that the responsibility of grooming of a child lies on the shoulders of the parents, teachers, as well as the elites in the world of literature.
PROFILE OF SIRAJUDDIN AZIZ
- MBA in Banking & Finance
- Bachelor of Commerce [University of Karachi-First Class with distinctions in Advanced Accountancy, English Language and Business Management]
- First class scholastic record at school, college, and university
- Certified "Director" by Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance
- Fellow of Institute of Bankers Pakistan
- Attended several banking seminars and secured outstanding ratings both in Pakistan and overseas
- Habib Metropolitan Bank Limited
President/CEO [February 2012 to date]
- Bank Alfalah Limited, Karachi
Chief Executive Officer [Oct 25, 2007 - Dec 2011]
Chief Operating Officer - [Feb 2007 - Oct 24 2007]
Executive In charge-Treasury & International Division [Feb 2001 - Jan 2007]
- Metropolitan Bank Limited, Karachi
General Manager-Corporate Banking Division [2000-Feb 2001]
- Union Bank Limited, Karachi
Senior Executive Vice President & Regional General Manager [Dec 1994-Feb 2000]
Executive Vice President [Dec 1991-Nov 1994]
- Bank of Credit & Commerce International - from 1977 to 1991
Country Manager-Beijing, China [Nov 1990-Nov 1991],
Group Manager (China)-Hong Kong [Sept 1985-Oct 1990],
Regional Training Manager-Hong Kong [1983-1985],
Corporate Credit Manager-Lagos, Nigeria [1982-1983],
Credit Officer-Merchant Banking Division-London, UK [1981-1982],
Corporate Credit Officer-Karachi, Pakistan [1980-1981],
Operations Manager-UAE & Pakistan [1977-1980] Joined as "Management Trainee" and received 2nd position in the batch (1977)