Faysal Bank Limited is a leading Financial Institution in Pakistan with a legacy of service and innovation which spans over three decades.
The Bank is engaged in Retail, Corporate and Commercial banking activities and over the past few years has become one of the fastest growing banks in the country due to its significant growth from a size and scale perspective. Additionally, Faysal Bank has also doubled its branch network footprint in four years through the addition of 275+ new Islamic Banking Branches and now has a branch network which exceeds 550 branches and spans more than 200 cities across the country.
The Bank is currently in the process of converting into a full-fledged Islamic Bank – the largest such conversion of any conventional bank into an Islamic bank ever to have been initiated anywhere in the world. This is driven by the belief of the Shareholders and Management in the fundamental superiority of Islamic Banking as a business proposition given the wide range of products and services already available as well as the overall preference of customers for Shariah compliant banking solutions. To manage this complex conversion prudently, Faysal Bank has setup various internal governance mechanisms and as a principle is growing most new businesses organically under Islamic modes while slowly converting its conventional branches and operations to minimize risk and disruption.
Over the years, in addition to its brick and mortar related growth, Faysal Bank has also been investing in its people as well as its technology platforms to increase its customer-centricity and efficiency – the focus is to ensure that while growing and converting, Faysal Bank remains true to its heritage and culture of efficiency, customer-centricity and simplicity. The idea is to ensure that customers have options which are aligned with their preferences – if they want to do transactions from the comfort of their home, they should have convenient alternates, if however, they want the high touch branch experience, they should be assisted through trained staff who understand their needs well.
This current Pandemic has resulted in difficult and challenging times for everyone however due to the exemplary guidance of the regulatory authority, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and its own strong technology platforms and SOP’s as well as its culture of customer-centricity and innovation, Faysal Bank was well positioned to effectively cater to its customers and their banking needs and Alhamdulillah has been able to provide a high-quality experience for all its customers both over online channels as well as through branches.
Customers were kept informed regularly about branch timings and facilities as well as best practices in terms of social distancing and other preventive measures. All 550+ Faysal Bank ATM’s were monitored around the clock to ensure that they remained fully operational and available to customers at all times. Hand sanitizers were provided for the use of customers within the branches and the use of masks and gloves was also strongly encouraged.
Staff was well prepared in terms of the use of technology and work from home rules were implemented seamlessly for non-critical staff without impacting day to day operations. For critical staff who had to work from within bank premises, safety was paramount, constant on-going communication and education on best practices was initiated and supported by temperature and symptomatic checks. Furthermore, staff was provided with safety equipment such as masks and sanitizers to ensure that they could work in a safe environment during these difficult times.
Cheque deposits were made simpler and easier through the introduction of drop boxes and a direct credit facility which allows customers immediate fund transfers of their Faysal Bank cheques into other banks as well as deposit of cheques without any human interaction.
The call-center was also augmented and social distancing rules as well as staggered shifts were introduced to ensure that customers who wanted to connect with Faysal Bank were able to do so without delays anytime at their convenience.
The Faysal DigiBank Mobile and Internet Banking platform was upgraded with new features and the registration process was further simplified to facilitate online transactions and to cater to customer needs during this period. There was a lot of focus on the development of innovative features and facilities which included pay order issuance and QR payments which allow safe non-touch payments without needing to hand over your card or cash.
Faysal Bank also became one of the select banks to offer their customers a prepaid virtual card. To make their online shopping, simpler and more secure and reduce cash-handling during current circumstances, customers can now debit their account to make a virtual card of a pre-set amount. This virtual card which consists of a card number, an expiry date and CVV number can be used safely and securely for online shopping without exposing the customer’s account or debit and credit card numbers to online merchants.
To recognize and support the health workers who are at the forefront of the pandemic, Faysal Bank put together a number of exclusive product offerings such as an exclusive credit card facility with no annual fee for the first year as well as special car financing options where in addition to low rates, doctors are also given a one-year principal payment holiday to reduce the initial cost of buying a new car during these times. Additionally, Faysal Bank will provide takaful life coverage of PKR 5 million to all doctors who avail the offer under this scheme for their peace of mind.
All the product innovations and services introduced by the Bank were driven by one goal: reducing the impact of Covid-19 on customers, staff and the community. In this regard, Faysal Bank has also played a significant role in CSR by providing financial assistance to organizations that are actively working on Corona relief and treatment related initiatives.
Faysal Bank extended its support to Indus Hospital to ensure the hospital can continue providing medical services such as isolation and quarantine set-ups, testing and treatment facilities to patients. The Bank’s support will also help the organization to continue providing training to its clinical and non-clinical staff on how to be safe and how to effectively and safely treat patients. Understanding the importance of carrying out research on protection and precautionary measures against the virus in order to contain it, Faysal Bank has also collaborated with Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital.
Due to the number of livelihoods that have been lost as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, Faysal Bank has also partnered with Karachi Relief Trust and Akhuwat. Under its partnership with the Karachi Relief Trust, the Bank is ensuring the distribution of ration packs to deserving families and blood availability to ailing patients. The collaboration between Faysal Bank and Akhuwat has resulted in the establishment of the “Akhuwat Corona Imdadi Fund.” Under this fund, ration packages and financial support is provided to families who have lost their sources of income and to those who have tested positive for COVID-19. Free COVID-19 testing services for the underprivileged, a professional helpline for those seeking medical advice related to COVID-19 and support for hospitals where facilities are inadequate, is also being provided.
In Punjab, Faysal Bank has provided the Institute of Public Health with testing equipment to further enhance its testing capacity. The organization is now conducting around 200 tests per day for the general public.
During these unprecedented times, Faysal Bank has not stopped aspiring and setting a benchmark in banking with its unique customer centric approach at the heart of its innovative, digital products. It is the firm belief of the Bank that all that it is doing is in line with the spirit of Islamic Banking and its own Vision, Mission and Values. The Bank will Insha’Allah continue to ensure that it supports its customers, staff and the community at large during these difficult times.