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Press Releases

UBL and Fecto-Belarus join hands to promote farm mechanization

UBL and FECTO BELARUS have joined hands to promote farm mechanization and facilitate farmers in obtaining hassle free loans under Prime Minister Kamyab Jawan-Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (PMKJ-YES). In this regard, an MoU signing ceremony was arranged at the UBL Head Office where President & CEO of UBL, Mr. Shazad G. Dada and the CEO of FECTO-BELARUS, Mr. Muhammad Raza Fecto signed the document on behalf of their respective organizations. The ceremony was attended by senior executives from both organizations.

CEOs of both the organizations expressed interest in further contributing towards development of agriculture sector and exploring avenues for further deepening of business relationships between the two organizations.

During the event, Muhammad Raza, CEO FECTO-BELARUS asserted that FECTO-BELARUS is a trusted brand in farm tractors. He added that this arrangement between the two entities would greatly help farmers in availing lending facility under the PMKJ-YES scheme and obtaining speedy delivery of the BELARUS tractors.

Mr. Shazad G. Dada, President & CEO UBL highlighted that UBL is a pioneer Agriculture Finance Institution with a very large footprint in the rural geographies of Pakistan. He further stated that the Bank has been carrying along this great legacy by offering comprehensive banking solutions to Rural Customers in general and Farming community in particular, with a special focus on basic farm mechanization.

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UBL to provide SIDCL with exclusive cash management services for Karachi Green Line bus rapid transit line

United Bank Limited (UBL) recently entered into an exclusive Cash Management mandate with Sindh Infrastructure Development Co. Ltd. (SIDCL) at a ceremony held at the UBL Head Office in Karachi. The mandate was won by UBL through a formal bidding process last year in Nov ’21 and the agreement was subsequently signed in Dec ‘21. The signing ceremony was delayed due to the pandemic and was formally concluded on 07th Feb ‘22. SIDCL was represented by Mr. Nadeem Lodhi, CEO and Mr. Shazad G. Dada, President & CEO, represented UBL.

SIDCL has been entrusted with the task of developing and improving the quality of mass transit system in the city of Karachi, including the development and operations of the Green Line & Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project. They are dedicated to provide the people of Karachi a new and improved infrastructure with better transportation services for the masses.

Karachi Green Line Bus Rapid Transit Line (BRT) Project is first of six BRT lines. A first of its kind luxury bus mass-transportation system. It provides low-cost, fast, comfortable and reliable service with many modern amenities. The Karachi Green Line bus service has 22 stations and a route covering distance between Surjani Town and Numaish.

Through the agreement, UBL becomes the exclusive Cash Management service provider to the Company’s Green Line BRT system including physical cash collection from all stations and ticket vending machines. UBL will also be the digital partner of Green Line BRT, enabling cashless purchase experience for the BRT commuters. The stations will be powered by UBL’s state of the art android POS (point of sale) terminals, which will be integrated with the ticketing system to provide a seamless experience for the mass-transit travelers. Furthermore, the Bank’s internet payment gateway will enable Green Line BRT users to purchase tickets online, using their debit and credit cards.

Mr. Nadeem Lodhi, CEO SIDCL, at the occasion said “This service will facilitate around 135,000 passengers on a daily basis with state-of-the-art facility at Numaish, which is a three level underground station where future BRT lines will integrate. Green line is equipped with modern Intelligent Transport System (ITS) which includes several options for ticketing i.e., Ticket Office, Vending Machine and from online application. The partnership with a bank like UBL will be instrumental in the success of Green Line BRT project and for the service of the people of Karachi in a streamlined and convenient manner.”

Mr. Shazad G. Dada, President & CEO UBL, added, “As Pakistan’s Best Digital Bank, we are proud to provide our state of the art services to SIDCL, at the same time contributing towards the wellbeing of the people of Karachi. The Green Line BRT Project will change the city’s landscape, by making mass transit easier and more convenient. We look forward to this partnership with SIDCL and working with them on more projects in the future.”

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Second Cohort of UNDP Jazz SDG bootcamps concludes

Winning start-ups focus on Education, Health, Climate Change, and Digital Transformation

UNDP Pakistan and Jazz conclude the second cohort of the SDG Bootcamps — on themes of Education, Health, Climate Change, and Digital Transformation. Implemented by School of Leadership Foundation (SoLF), in the second cohort, 131social enterprises participated, including 42 women-led initiatives. Four social enterprises emerged victorious.

The winning social enterprises included — from Sindh, a multi-vendor app store created for and by women to sell new and preloved products online; Perwaz from Sindh, a healthcare company that provides drone services to deliver medical aid; Crop Care from Sindh, a mobile app that helps farmers detect crop diseases and recommends solutions; and Edibles from Punjab, working to reduce single use plastic cutlery by introducing sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives.

This second round of bootcamps also included one regional bootcamp in Islamabad with a total of 25 social enterprises, including participants from Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Malook Enterprise won the regional bootcamp. This social enterprise is creating income opportunities for communities in Gilgit Baltistan by harvesting and selling local organic produce, like herbs, dry fruits, vegetables, etc.

UNDP Pakistan Resident Representative, Mr. Knut Ostby, spoke during the conclusion of second cohort, “It’s truly inspiring to see the youth, especially young women, opting for social entrepreneurship as a viable career option. The UNDP-Jazz SDG Bootcamps are helping aspiring entrepreneurs to navigate and develop business models. Enhancing the social entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pakistan will not only empower the youth of the country but will also contribute towards achieving Pakistan’s SDG targets.”

Mr. Syed Fakhar Ahmed, Chief Regulatory and Corporate Affairs Officer, Jazz commented, “I would like to congratulate the winners, and I am confident that the insights gained through the bootcamps will help social enterprises scale their businesses. We look forward to upcoming cohorts empowering the youth, especially from rural areas, to make a positive impact on the society.”

The winner of the national bootcamp will be provided with an opportunity to join YouthCo:Lab, the largest youth social entrepreneurship movement in Asia and the Pacific co-created by UNDP and Citi Foundation, along with access to mentorship opportunities by Jazz.

Jazz and UNDP Pakistan launched the SDG Bootcamp in December 2020 to promote social entrepreneurship and strengthen the start-up ecosystem in Pakistan. Under this, 20 bootcamps will be conducted across the county to train 800 young social entrepreneurs, including 50 percent women, by December 2022.

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Malik Amin Aslam vists Pakistan cables urban forest

Honourable Minister Malik Amin Aslam, Federal Minister Climate Change, visited the Pakistan Cables Urban Forest to observe private sector initiatives supporting Pakistan’s green progress towards net zero emissions. Pakistan Cables Urban Forest, is the largest Miyawaki-based Urban Forest on an industrial estate, with over 40,000 trees spread across 2.5 acres. In addition to the Urban Forest, the Minister was briefed on several other areas in which Pakistan Cables is investing in to support a greener and more sustainable future. The Minister congratulated the company for taking the lead in creating inspirational examples within the corporate sector community.

About Pakistan Cables Ltd.

Pakistan Cables Ltd founded in 1953, Pakistan Cables is the premiere and most reputable cable manufacturer in Pakistan. Being the only wire and cable manufacturer listed on the PSX since 1955, it is also a member company of the Amir S. Chinoy group. The company has the largest geographical footprint in Pakistan with presence in over 180 cities. It is ISO9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015 AND OHSAS 18001:2007 certified and various cables type tested by KEMA, Netherlands.

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PMEX extends the trading time to 22 hours

Pakistan Mercantile Exchange (PMEX), the country’s only multi-commodity futures exchange announced that it has extended trading to 22 hours, up from the existing 21 hours. This is an important milestone in the history of PMEX. It will take the Exchange one step closer to offering round-the-clock trading facility, allowing customers to trade at their own convenience.

Commenting on this occasion, Ejaz Ali Shah, Managing Director PMEX said, “The Exchange strongly believes in providing seamless trading experience to the customers. Offering 22 hours futures market is a step in that direction. We are confident that our continued efforts will result in bridging the remaining timing gap and keeping our customers connected to the global markets at all times with the click of a button.”

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Shan Foods joins hands with TCF to promote quality education

Leading food brand, Shan Foods, has joined hands with The Citizens Foundation, a charitable organization working to provide quality education for the deserving and less privileged children, to support the educational needs and uplift their quality of life.

Working closely with the United Nations Association of Pakistan (UNAP), Shan Foods is dedicated towards fulfilling the outlined global Sustainable Development Goals. Focusing on the goal of Quality Education, one that stresses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting learning opportunities for all, the aforementioned initiative by Shan Foods will ensure that a class of 25 children will receive free education for a whole year.

Maria Rashdi, Head of Corporate communication & PR at Shan Foods, said, “As a corporate entity, it is our objective to positively impact and bring about promising change in our society in line with the global standards. Shan Foods believes in the power of education and how it can open a world of opportunities and transform not just individual lives but also entire nations. We firmly believe that every child has the right to receive affordable and quality education and for this, we want to create as much impact as we can.”

Isfandyar Inayat, GM Strategic Partnerships and Community Outreach at The Citizens Foundation while appreciating Shan Food’s assistance, said, “TCF has been providing low-cost, quality education to the most deserving children for more than two decades with an aim to make a positive impact in the lives of our people and country, past the barriers of class and privilege. We are very grateful for Shan Food’s support and participation towards our goal.”

Shan Foods, through various similar programs and initiatives, has worked to support the impoverished section of the society and continues to make efforts to uplift and benefit people in need.

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Skolkovo Foundation and STZA agree to boost technology sector ties

The historic visit of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan to the Russian Federation, has paved the way for both nations to undertake cooperation in many areas including technology.

Skolkovo Foundation of Russia and the Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA) of Pakistan have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to boost cooperation in the technology sector, establish closer business relations and foster strategic cooperation and exchanges between the Russian and Pakistani scientific and technological institutions and enterprises. The LOI was signed between Mr. Igor Drozdov, Chairman of the Board, Skolkovo Foundation and Mr. Amer Ahmed Hashmi, Chairman, Special Technology Zones Authority and was witnessed by the Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The Skolkovo Foundation is a non-commercial organization, founded in Moscow, in 2010. The goal of the Foundation is to support technological entrepreneurship in Russia and to commercialize the results of scientific research activities. The number of Skolkovo residents already exceeds 3,200 and the Foundation provides them with an array of services that are necessary to roll out developments into international markets. Located at Skolkovo Innovation Center is the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), which is listed in the Nature Index “Top-100 Young Universities” list.

The Skolkovo-STZA collaboration is the latest addition to STZA’s portfolio of strategic partnerships, intended to collaborate in opening new doors for the leading Russian technology companies and organizations seeking to operate in Pakistan’s Special Technology Zones.

STZA was enacted in 2021 with a national mandate of creating technological ecosystems across the country and offers access to wide-ranging fiscal and forex incentives, regulatory support, highly trained human capital, and soft landing through its one window framework to support the growth of enterprises in the zones.

The Skolkovo Foundation and STZA intend to cooperate in developing centers of innovation as well as research and development institutions which will facilitate the national development strategy 2024 and 2030 of the Russian Federation and will help Pakistan in achieving its goal of becoming a technology leader in the region, especially in the areas of circular economy, low carbon development projects, clean energy, and digital transformation. It will also aid in establishing linkages among academic institutions, promote online and offline technology activities and practical exchanges in all sectors of technology

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IBA Karachi, Al-Kauser to provide financial assistance to deserving students

The Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi and Al-Kauser signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to ensure cooperation between both the institutions with the purpose of mutually strengthening each other, and in playing their role in making quality education accessible to the deserving students studying in the Institute by providing them financial assistance.

Director Finance, Al-Kauser, Syed Akif Abbas and Executive Director, IBA Karachi, Dr. S Akbar Zaidi signed the MoU at the ceremony held at the IBA Main Campus.

The IBA was represented by the Executive Director, Dr. S. Akbar Zaidi; Director, Alumni and Corporate Relations, Ms. Malahat Awan; Director, Finance, Mr. Moeid Sultan; Director, Talent Hunt Program, Dr. Junaid Alam Khan, whereas representatives for Al Kauser included, Mr. Qaim Mehdi and Director Finance, Syed Akif Abbas.

This collaboration will not only help the deserving students but will also facilitate in creating a pool of talented graduates that have the required skill set and technical knowledge in consonance with the industry requirement so that they can perform well in dynamic business environments.

Al Kauser aims to facilitate the access of education to financially disadvantaged students at the IBA on an annual, pay-as-you-go basis. It is currently sponsoring 12 students of the IBA under the Al-Kauser Scholarship. Moreover, it will also provide support to up to 4 students every year.

The IBA supports approximately 30% of its student body every year to ensure inclusivity through its financial assistance program.

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HBL posts record profit of Rs. 62.0 billion for 2021, focused on client centricity and financial inclusion driven by digitalization

HBL today declared a record consolidated profit before tax of Rs. 62.0 billion for 2021, achieving a growth of 17% over 2020. Profit after tax increased to Rs. 35.5 billion in 2021, also the highest ever, and earnings per share increased from Rs. 21.06 in 2020 to Rs. 23.88. The Bank declared a final dividend of Rs. 2.25 per share (22.5%).

During the year, HBL became the first bank with a Rs. 4 trillion balance sheet, with year-end footings of Rs. 4.3 trillion, a 12% growth over Dec’20.

Domestic current deposits achieved the Rs. 1 trillion landmark, and total domestic deposits crossed the Rs. 3 trillion mark, improving market share to 14.14%. With a turnaround in the international businesses, HBL’s total deposits increased by 19% to Rs. 3.4 trillion.

Advances continued their growth trajectory, rising by 23% to reach Rs. 1.5 trillion with double digit growth across all lending units. HBL’s leading position in the Consumer business was further reinforced as the portfolio crossed the landmark number of Rs. 100 billion. HBL’s focus on priority sectors led to agriculture lending reaching an all-time high of Rs. 40 billion. Despite the strong growth in advances, the Bank’s Tier I and Total CAR remained well above regulatory requirements.

HBL delivered a record revenue of Rs. 168 billion in 2021, on the back of a Rs. 450 billion expansion in the average balance sheet and an impressive growth in non-fund income. The Bank’s net interest income increased to Rs. 131 billion, and non-fund income grew by nearly 20% to Rs. 36 billion; the latter was driven by a stellar growth of 35% in fees and commissions, which increased to Rs. 25 billion. While the increase in fees was broad-based, the flagship cards and consumer businesses alone delivered a phenomenal growth of 58%; this was supported by exceptional performances in trade, remittances, and investment banking.

Total expenses of the Bank remained well managed, rising only marginally by 2%. With rising revenue and more efficient operations, HBL was able to achieve a substantial reduction in its cost to income ratio (excluding capital gains) which fell from 61.2% to 57.5%. Asset quality, through the pandemic, was closely monitored and prudently managed with the infection ratio improving further, to an all-time low of 5.1%.

Commenting on the Bank’s performance, Muhammad Aurangzeb, President & CEO – HBL said, “HBL’s 2021 results, underpinned by client centricity, were driven by strong organic growth. Exceptional performance across all business segments and activity drivers further cemented the Bank’s leading position across all client segments. HBL remains at the forefront of supporting government initiatives for economic development, and the Bank continued to increase private and public sector credit. HBL continues to provide innovative products and financial solutions to its clients whose banking needs are moving beyond traditional channels. The trust and confidence that our clients repose in us is a validation of our business strategy.”

The Bank maintained its leadership position in personal loans, merchant acquiring, credit cards and debit cards. Auto finance grew by 45% and achieved an industry leadership position in 2021. HBL Cards was the first choice for clients which can be seen by the 63% growth in Credit Card spend from Rs. 69 billion to Rs. 113 billion. HBL’s debit card remains the market leader with 6.2 million cards and a 21% market share. Spend volumes increased by 64% over last year, with e-commerce volumes growing by 81%. The Bank’s SME segment grew by 17% in 2021 i.e., from Rs. 63.0 billion in 2020 to Rs. 74.0 billion in 2021. The Bank’s focus on supporting trade transactions of retail clients led to a YOY growth of 20% in trade volume during 2021.

HBL serves over 3.5 million women clients, including 750,000 under its women’s market program, Nisa. In 2021, the program added over 110,000 new accounts with a deposit volume of Rs. 16 billion. HBL is amongst the highest contributors to the Roshan Digital Account (RDA) initiative with USD 0.5 billion channeled into the country and a market leading share of 20% of RDA accounts. HBL Prestige services the unique needs of high-net-worth clients; the Bank ended 2021 with 24 Prestige touchpoints. The Islamic Banking branch network was increased to 260, the 4th largest in Pakistan.

HBL expanded its farm-to-processor pilots to almost 18,000 acres in 2021, scaling up in-kind financing. Small leasehold farmers achieved a doubling in net income. HBL plays a leading role in farmer financing amongst commercial banks with a market share of approximately 34%. HBL grew its agriculture lending to a record Rs. 40 billion, re-entered the dairy sector with loans of Rs. 1.5 billion and disbursed Rs. 1 billion to clients. In 2021 HBL became the first bank to fund an Electronic Warehouse Receipt, approving Rs. 400 million.

HBL maintained its dominant position in cash management with throughput rising by 58% to nearly Rs. 8 trillion. HBL was awarded the Best Domestic Cash Management Bank by Asia Banking & Finance and was also ranked first in Asiamoney’s Cash Management Poll 2021 for Pakistan Market Leader and Best Service. Both awards were won based on votes by clients, a validation of HBL’s increasingly client-centric approach. Digital payments through HBL Pay Business Banking more than doubled, with 29 million transactions and Rs. 3.4 trillion in volume processed. In 2021, HBL closed landmark investment banking deals across the full spectrum of segments including co-managing the first-ever USD 500 million Green Eurobond for a large public sector utility. HBL partnered with the CDC Group, UK on financing a 100MW solar power project; in 2021 HBL disbursed over Rs. 5.5 billion to encourage and enhance the use of sustainable energy for business needs. To reduce the impact of the Bank’s own operations on the environment, solar panels were installed at several premises leading to a 220 metric ton reduction in HBL’s carbon footprint.

HBL Mobile and Internet Banking transactions have now surpassed even the over-the-counter transactions. HBL’s tech-celaration enables 2.5+ million clients in Pakistan and globally to unlock enormous value for their business and personal needs through cutting edge mobile and internet banking platforms. HBL’s internet payment gateway service for ecommerce merchants, HBL Pay Checkout, grew its user base by 31% year on year. These new merchants brought in more transactions through HBL, surging by 85% since 2020.

Konnect by HBL, the Bank’s branchless banking platform, doubled transactions to 84 million with volumes reaching Rs. 846 billion in 2021. A focused strategy led to an over 30% increase in overall account portfolio, from 5.4 million to 7.1 million, which supports the unbanked segments to access HBL with ease. Konnect also strengthened its partnership with Punjab and KPK Agri departments to digitize the government to farmer subsidy payments and disbursed Rs. 11 billion to more than 1 million farmers. In parallel, 790,000 Konnect accounts were opened, and Kissan Cards were subscribed by registered farmers making Konnect the largest issuer of PayPak Debit cards in the country. HBL was one of the first few banks chosen to become part of the pilot project run under the National Micro-Payment Gateway – RAAST.

HBL Treasury & Global Markets was a core contributor to the Bank’s bottom line in 2021, with all business lines performing strongly. The Bank launched an upgraded version of HBL Infinity®, the Bank’s unique online B2B FX portal. HBL commenced its branch in Beijing making it the only bank from Pakistan to have a presence in the Chinese capital. HBL’s market share in home remittances increased from 8.2% in 2020 to 10%, driven by strong growth in volumes.

HBL renewed its commitment with PCB for another four years celebrating ten years of HBLPSL since its inception in 2016, and highlights HBL’s efforts towards the development of youth and the discovery of talent for Pakistan.

HBL won multiple awards from international and local platforms including Best Bank in Pakistan from Euromoney Awards, Pakistan’s Best Bank 2021 and Best Bank for Small and Medium Businesses 2021 from the Pakistan Banking Awards. It bagged eight awards from Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks (GDIB) 2021 and won the Best Green Bond Award and Best Structured Finance Deal for Pakistan from The Asset Triple A Sustainable Capital Markets Country & Regional Awards 2021.

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Digital 7th Population and Housing Census

Asad Umer opens national census coordination centre

Asad Umer, Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives inaugurated the National Census Coordination Centre (N3C) at PBS Head Quarter, Islamabad.

Dr. Naeem uz Zafar Chief Statistician, Ayazuddin, Member (C&S), Muhammad Sarwar Gondal Member (SS/RM), Syed Ejaz Ali Shah Wasti (Member NA) and Dr. Azizullah Khattak, (Member ES) along with senior officers and officials of PBS welcomed the Honorable Minister.

N3C is an important milestone achieved by PBS to monitor and control the activities of upcoming Digital 7th Population and Housing Census. It will act as a hub for centralized decision making with representation of all provinces/regions for coordination and monitoring activities of the Census 2022. The idea is conceived by the success story of NCOC. It will be headed by DCPC, through N3C, all Chief Secretaries, relevant provincial secretaries (Education, Local Government etc.), Board of Revenue, Secretary IPC, DG Military operation will be connected for prompt decision making and coordinated efforts for successful conduct of Census 2022. N3C will be connected with all Provincial Head Quarters along with 614 tehsil level Census Support Centres for progress reviews and centralized Evidence based Decision Making regarding ongoing field activities of Census-2022. Multiple Role Based Interactive Dashboards for progress review, trends analysis as well as GIS Monitoring of Field activities will be available online 24/7. It will be facilitated by IT Experts/Demographers for studying Trend analysis & Data Insights for informed Decision Making.

Chief Statistician, Dr Naeem uz Zafar, briefly presented the main features of 7th Digital Population and Housing Census, alongwith the achieved and upcoming targets related to Census process. He informed the participants that upcoming Census will be first ever digital Census of Pakistan by involving NTC, M/o IT & T, PTA, SUPARCO & NRTC. PBS has carefully planned the Census process by reviewing UN guidelines, World’s best practices, involving Demographers and Academicians and consulting stakeholders and provinces.

Tablet based data collection, Geo tagging, real time monitoring, extensive trainings through technological intervention and time reduction in releasing results will lead the process towards transparency and reliability. Electronic data collection, Geo tagging of structures, Involvement of Stakeholders and Consultation with provinces will improve the acceptability and reliability of Census Process and control room like N3C will make the whole process responsive by immediately pointing out and rectifying the problems related to Census Process. Online access to self-information & instant messaging system for proof of enumeration, Establishment of Census Support Centres/ complaint centres at Tehsil level for 24/7 support, Data Quality coverage assurance through innovative Computer Assisted Telephonic Interview (CATI) approach and conduct of Post Enumeration Survey as per international standards will be incorporated for wide acceptability of Census results.

Mr. Asad Umer congratulated Chief Statistician and PBS team on inauguration of N3C. He showed satisfaction over the progress of Census team on achieving the timelines regarding Planning of Upcoming Digital Census 2022. He further added that availability of correct information is important for Policy making, Planning and Development. Chief Statistician, PBS will ensure the availability of latest information about census during the whole exercise for transparency of the process. Update information should be available on Website of PBS. In the presence of Modern technology, delay in Census results will not be acceptable. Federal and Provincial departments involved in Census will remain connected through N3C and this consultation process will not only increase the confidence of all stakeholders in Census process but will also be helpful in solving the queries that will arise during activity. He added that role of Media is critical for provision of correct information and awareness of general public regarding this important and extensive exercise. Therefore, Media is requested to share correct and timely information and point out positive things to improve the process. The smooth census process will lead towards correct figures that will be ultimately used for development of countries. Now, its high time to win the confidence of Parliament.

The queries of Media and other participants were addressed by Mr. Asad Umer in Question Answer Session. The DP Centre team presented the Data dissemination KIOSK to the Minister. He also visited the GIS lab.

Activities for the upcoming First Ever Digital Housing and Population Census 2022, are at full swing. Pilot survey will be conducted in May – June 2022, the census exercise will be conducted in August 2022 and the post enumeration survey is planned in November, 2022. Results will be declared in Dec 2022.

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UBL posts historic results

– Declares PBT of Rs. 52.1 billion in 2021

UBL reported PBT of Rs 52.1 billion in 2021, being the highest profit ever in the history of the Bank. This is also one of the highest growth in profit across the banking sector with an increase of 52% in the bottom line this year. Earnings per Share (EPS) was measured at Rs. 25.23 (2020: Rs. 17.07). The Bank declared a final dividend of Rs. 6.0 per share for Q4’21, which is in addition to the Rs. 12.0 per share interim dividends declared earlier during this year. This is significantly higher than the full year dividend of Rs 12.0 per share declared in 2020. The Bank maintained its resilience across all core business segments as the economy gradually recovers from the impacts of the pandemic and business activity regains its momentum.

One of the largest branch networks serving an ever increasing customer base UBL remains one of the largest and systemically important financial institutions in the country. The Bank’s network extends to 1,339 branches within Pakistan, 1,442 ATMs and over 34,000 Omni agents. The Bank continues to build on its award winning digital banking services which have been acknowledged as one of the best in Pakistan. A franchise that serves across all segment profiles, UBL has over 10 million customers, with growth in business driven by an aggressive sales effort, well supported by a state of the art digital banking. The branch network spreads across each province of Pakistan, down to the remotest geographies and is the pride and core strength of the institution. UBL is well on its way to live the ambition to provide access to credit, digital payments and financial inclusion to every citizen of Pakistan.

Branch Banking delivered the highest deposit growth in the last 5 years of 19% in 2021. Domestic deposits stood at over Rs. 1.5 trillion, with an increase in market share to 8.3% of banking sector deposits. The Bank added 564,000 new current account relationships in the year, which led to a strong growth of 18% in average current deposits, with volumes reaching Rs. 635 billion in 2021. The buildup in low cost deposits led to a sharp reduction in cost of deposits, to 3.6% in 2021 from 4.5% in 2020.

UBL is a proud participant in all major economic development programs launched by the Government of Pakistan and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). The Bank continues to play a strong role in the Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar housing initiative with more than Rs. 2.0 billion disbursed to applicants. The Bank is also at the forefront of the Prime Minister’s Kamyab Jawab program, aimed at financial empowerment of youth of Pakistan. The Bank surpassed the Rs. 1.0 billion mark in loan disbursements to various entrepreneurial and agriculture based projects under this initiative. Leveraging on its leadership position in the home remittances space with a market share of over 20%, UBL remains one of the key partners in the Roshan Digital initiative, with 64,000 accounts opened and inward remittance of USD 378 million.

UBL was selected by the SBP to offer collateral-free lending to SMEs through a digital platform under SBP’s SME Asaan Finance (SAAF) Scheme. UBL also partnered with Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) under growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) initiative.

The Bank recently launched “UBL Urooj Account”, an end to end financial solution, exclusively catering to the needs of the women of Pakistan. This is a must have account for women with special features and alliances, designed for financial inclusion and empowerment of women.

UBL ‘Ameen’ — the Islamic banking business continues to gain momentum

Islamic banking remains one of the key strategic segments as the Bank continues to expand UBL Ameen’s footprint. The Islamic network now stands at 145 branches (2020: 100 branches), well supported by 197 Islamic Banking Windows (IBWs) within commercial branches (2020: 187 IBWs). UBL Ameen’s deposits base closed at Rs. 140 billion at Dec’21, growing by a strong 25% over Dec’20. The asset acquisition drive gained significant momentum in 2021, as the loan book more than doubled, from Rs. 21 billion at Dec’20 to Rs. 44 billion at Dec’21. The Bank views the Islamic segment as a huge growth opportunity and will continue to aggressively expand UBL Ameen’s presence within this growing sector.

Significant growth in loan book while continuing to improve credit quality

Bank level net advances closed at Rs. 646 billion at Dec’21, growing by a strong 22% over Dec’20. Led by the Corporate Banking Group (CBG), the domestic loan book grew by 20% year on year, closing at Rs. 517 billion at Dec’21. The consumer portfolio recorded a growth of 7% over last year, as the Bank maintained its momentum within the secured autos segment. The Bank also expanded within the SME and rural banking space, as the portfolio recorded an increase of 13% over the previous year, by creating differentiation through customized financial solutions, digitization and collaboration with partners. The Bank also strengthened its credit standards and stepped up its recovery efforts against non-performing accounts in both domestic and international businesses, which resulted in a net provision reversal of Rs. 955 million for the year 2021.

Non Fund Income makes a significant contribution to overall revenues

Non-Fund Income (NFI) recorded significant growth of 37% over last year, reported at Rs. 23.4 billion, and contributed 25% of the overall gross revenues of the Bank. The year witnessed an increase in all major fee based services with a strong momentum within all lines of business.

Home remittances commissions of Rs. 1.7 billion were earned during the year as UBL maintained its market leadership as the preferred partner to the overseas Pakistani diaspora. Income from card related fees was recorded at Rs. 2.5 billion for 2021, up by 59%, as the debit cards portfolio increased to nearly 2.7 million, with new acquisitions of 703,000 during the year.

The Bank continues to maintain its strong momentum within the bancassurance space as premium volumes grew by 41% to Rs. 3.7 billion with commissions of Rs. 1.5 billion earned during the year. The Bank earned investment banking fees of Rs. 480 million in 2021 as against Rs. 330 million in 2020, originating from debt arrangement and advisory mandates. Cash Management commissions grew by 16% as throughput volumes increased significantly during the year driven by the acquisition of a number of employee banking mandates, serviced through the Bank’s Digital Corporate Portal. The Bank also realized capital gains of Rs. 3.8 billion, mainly on its sovereign bond holdings in UBL International, while foreign exchange income of Rs. 4.0 billion was earned on the back of effective balance sheet positioning and healthy trade flows during the year.

International business makes a strong contribution to bottom line

UBL International posted a PBT of USD 39 million for the year 2021 as the Bank’s GCC operations now reflect stability, following specific de-risking measures over the last few years. The Bank is now operating a leaner business model with emphasis on maintaining strong credit quality and deepening its foundation of low cost funding.

Digital Banking — Best in its class with growing penetration

UBL’s position as the industry leader in the Digital Banking space continues to be recognized as the Bank was awarded the “Best Mobile App” and “Best Emerging Technology” awards at the prestigious Pakistan Digital Awards 2021. The award recognizes outstanding innovation and creativity of the best digital professionals and companies from across the country. The Bank aims to provide a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints and technology platform-based solutions. UBL continues to strive to create a more holistic payments ecosystem which will clearly transform the payments landscape in Pakistan.

During the year, the Bank released an upgraded version of its UBL Digital app., which continues to be very popular amongst its growing customers base. The number of registered digital customers stood at 2.1 million at Dec’21, while the number of digital financial transactions grew by 84% year on year.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Shazad G. Dada, President & CEO of UBL said: “UBL continues to grow from strength to strength delivering record profit in the history of the institution. This great milestone was made possible by the resilience, dedication and commitment of UBL staff and our valuable customers who entrust us to support them with market leading financial solutions. We are committed towards maintaining our position as one of the country’s most innovative and fastest growing digital bank, providing unparalleled service and convenience to our customers. Our deposits growth has been one of the highest in recent years, and will remain a core driver for future growth. Investment in both the physical and technological infrastructure will continue to drive a better and improved customer experience across each touch point. For UBL, our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and they drive our ambitions for the future. We would like to thank each one of our customers for being a part of our growth journey and look forward to continuing to bring you even better and more innovative solutions in the years to come.”

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First lady of Pakistan visits IBA Karachi underscoring the need for breast cancer awareness

“Unfortunately, a great deal of stigma is associated with breast cancer in our society, therefore, people do not seek clinical help. The death rate of breast cancer in Pakistan is very high which increases the necessity to create awareness regarding the non-contagious disease,” said the honorable First Lady of Pakistan, Begum Samina Alvi while addressing the audience at the ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Session 2022’, organized by the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi, Feminist Society (iFem) at the IBA Main Campus.

The First Lady graced the event as the distinguished guest, while other attendees included medical professionals, social activists and IBA students, faculty, and staff.

The seminar aimed to spread maximum awareness regarding breast cancer; echo the importance of early detection; and the role of regular self-examination. The panel of speakers demonstrated how to self-examine oneself, while a breast cancer survivor shared her story of courage in beating the disease.

The First Lady appreciated the initiative taken by the IBA Karachi to organize such sessions where students of both genders were present.

The seminar started as Ms. Ayesha Jameel, a breast cancer survivor shared her journey. “It is a painful disease, but if you want to live for yourself and your loved ones then you must fight it,” she said, emphasizing on the need to knowing one’s body so any abnormality needs to be reported and timely diagnosed so that timely treatment can be received.

The session proceeded as Dr. Zubaida Qazi, Founder President, Pink Pakistan delivered a detailed session on breast cancer causes, precautions and self-examination procedures. She highlighted that most people in our society believe in self-medication and do not visit doctors which results in women consulting doctors at a much later stage which reduces their chances of survival.

Dr. Qazi reiterated that women over the age of 40 years should go for mammogram screenings once every year, whereas women below this age bracket must self-examine themselves once a month to keep aware of one’s breast health. Women should take signs and symptoms very seriously to get proper treatment. She encouraged women to put themselves on priority and to lead a healthy lifestyle. She stressed the need for men to be aware of the disease too as they will be the ones providing emotional support to women during their treatment.

She also suggested that government should somehow bear the expenses the treatment of breast cancer for underprivileged people either in the form of Sehat Card or any other scheme to facilitate the public.

Ms. Shaheera Siddiqui, Senior Vice President, Hawwa (an NGO), member of breast cancer awareness (BCA) task force and IBA alumna, shed light on the importance of initiatives taken by the government to take the situation in control and shared that Pakistan has the highest mortality rate in breast cancer than any other Asian country and considering the emergency, the President of Pakistan, Mr. Arif Alvi and the First Lady started the campaign to create awareness, which has now grown into a task force which not only works in the month of October but throughout the year.

Dr. Samia Khan, Social Activist and member of the BCA task force said, “Breast cancer is not a disease diagnosed in women only, but it is also diagnosed in men, too. The existence of breast cancer has increased in males as the count of cases has shifted from 1 out of 1000 to 1 out of 100.”

The seminar ended with a Q&A session. The souvenirs were presented to the distinguished guest and speakers. The session concluded with a bake sale, the proceedings from which will be donated for breast cancer treatment and awareness.

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Farrukh Iqbal Khan President FWBL visits KCCI

Says Bank is striving for championing women’s economic empowerment with holistic and integrated approach First Women Bank Ltd is striving for championing women’s economic empowerment by taking a holistic and integrated approach based on the needs of underserved women markets. At the same time, the bank aims to build a strong foundation in line with the current market benchmark for making FWBL a commercially viable bank. This was stated by Mr. Farrukh Iqbal Khan President & CEO First Women Bank Ltd. during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of commerce and Industry.

Our charter commits us to all forms of business a commercial bank would undertake but with a view to the economic emancipation of women, he said.

Mr. Farrukh Iqbal said that FWBL main focus is on the ‘S’ of the SME market segment and diversity in the products and services, access to distant markets and making the Bank the natural choice of the women and their families are our key goals.

The Bank is actively involved in the Government loan schemes i.e. Kamyab Jawan Youth entrepreneurship scheme and the Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar wherein its main target are women borrowers. It is evident from the fact that alone under the Kamyab Jawan Program almost 50% of the total disbursements have been made to the women entrepreneurs.

FWBL as the pioneer of women banking in Pakistan will, with renewed commitment, work towards the cause of financial empowerment for those in need. We will continue to explore initiatives and ideas that facilitate us in our mission, he added.

In his welcome address Mr. Abdul Rehman Naqi Senior Vice President KCCI briefed Mr. Farrukh Iqbal about the KCCI. Ms. Durre Shahwar Nisar Member Managing Committee KCCI lauded the role of the Bank in promoting women entrepreneurs. She said FWBL is always there to help women Entrepreneurs.

Later, Mr. A Q Khalil General Secretary BMG presented a shield to Mr. Farrukh Iqbal Khan.

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Agri imports bill, food security problem rising, says Mian Zahid

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said the import bill for agricultural products is rising while the issue of food security is also becoming grave.

More than half of the population of a country with fertile land and the world’s best canal system covering almost 25 thousand kilometres is facing malnutrition as agriculture production has been on the decline for years, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that agriculture imports during the first two months of the current fiscal have almost doubled than the corresponding year to 1.5 billion dollars while the import of urea will also require a hefty amount of foreign exchange.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that agriculture is the backbone of the economy but it has never attracted the attention of the policymakers which has resulted in its continued fall resulting in a serious food security problem.

He said that ignoring the issues confronted by farmers have left them poor and that the country cannot progress unless the farmers are comfortable.

Policymakers are obsessed with other sectors and non-issues while farming communities are left on the mercy of middlemen, loan sharks and profiteers while substandard inputs like seed, pesticides and urea etc. continue to damage this critical sector.

Farmers never get proper loans or benefit from research resulting in collapse of important crops resulting in imports, he said, adding that an agricultural recovery programme is needed to tackle increasing population and counter rising food prices in the international market.

Agriculture policies should be changed to promote the interests of farmers, reduce migration, curriculum should be altered to attract youth to this sector, reforms should be introduced to reduce prices and pave the way for local and foreign investment.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that Pakistan borders the world’s two most populous countries and a developed agriculture sector will not only strengthen national security but also help earn foreign exchange through exports.

Promotion of agriculture will also help boost the textile sector which spends billions every year to import cotton, he said.

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