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Sunday, 24 February 2013

Bank of Punjab (BoP) to launch Islamic Banking

Sunday, February 24, 2013 - Lahore—The Bank of Punjab is set to achieve another milestone when it launches Islamic banking in its operations. Apart from shoring up tangible support for the bank in the last four years, the Chief Minister also engendered an environment in the bank that ensured zero tolerance for corruption and eliminated government interference in the bank’s affairs. The Chief Minister Punjab has thus been principally responsible for restoring bank’s trust and goodwill amongst its customers.

In such an environment, backed by prudent financial management through a team of committed professionals the bank has grown from strength to strength during this time leading to , Growth in deposits from Rs.164billion to Rs.266 billion, Growth in branch 
network to 306 branches across Pakistan, Handling home remittances of Rs.176 billion (USD2billion), Lead arrangement for wheat procurement worth Rs.248 billion, New relationships numbering 545,598 in this period, Largest portfolio of Vehicle financing, now in excess of 20,000 vehicles and Apart from all-round growth in numbers, the bank has also invested in quality in its human resource in terms of both hiring and training. Also, branches have undergone major refurbishment, with renovations of older facilities and introduction of modern, new branches — all with a view to enhancing the end-to-end experience of its customers with the bank.

Today, BoP, as an institution, is large in size, modern in outlook, vibrant in character, prudent internally and customer-centric externally, but most importantly, remains rooted in the core values of integrity beyond reproach and professionalism without compromise. Having successfully accomplished the turnaround in the bank after four years of unrelenting commitment to achieve it, the bank is now poised to take further new initiatives. One such significant initiative is adding a new
 business stream by entering the Islamic banking sector.

In response to its request, the 
State Bank of Pakistan has granted approval to adopt the institutional

model of providing Islamic banking products and services through standalone Islamic branches. This business is to be managed by a separate Islamic Banking Division (IBD) in BoP. State Bank of Pakistan has already granted 
approval for conversion of five branches into Islamic branches by June 30, 2013 and the Bank intends to expand its network of Islamic branches by another ten branches in the remainder of 2013.

BoP is earnestly looking forward to serve the growing demand of its existing as well as prospective customers who have a preference for Islamic banking. In doing so, its IBD will adopt the bestbusiness practices and make itself a robust business unit with a premium on abiding compliance of Shariah guidelines. The bank is confident it will catch up with its peers in the not too distant future and become the bank of choice for Shariah conscious customers.

Equally significantly, with BoPs outreach in rural areas coupled with its Agri set up, the bank’s IBD is also well placed to play a pioneering role in Shariah compliant financing for the under-served Agricultural sector—an objective being long pursued by the State Bank of Pakistan.

(Pakistan Observer / 24 Feb 2013)

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