Pak bank offers investment opportunities to NRPs

DUBAI In line with its strategy of expanding its operations both locally and internationally, Pakistan's private commercial bank, Union Bank, plans to offer a host of services and investment opportunities to Non Resident Pakistanis through its Representative Office in the UAE and through alliances with local banks.

By M. A. Qudoos

Published: Fri 18 Apr 2003, 12:56 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 7:42 PM

This was approved at the annual meeting of the bank's board of directors held in Dubai yesterday. The board reviewed the financial results of bank for the year ended 2002 as well as for first quarter 2003. The board showed its satisfaction to the results achieved so far and to the first international operation of the bank established in Colombo this year.

Those present at the meeting included Dr Abdullah Basodan, Sponsor Director, Mr Moeen Afzal, Chairman, Mr Shaukat Tarin, President and Group CEO, Mr Qazi Mazharul Haque, Mr Munnawar Hamid, Ms. Lubna Majeed, and Mr Muneer Kamal. Other senior Union Bank executive that were present included Mr Asif Sana, Director International and Business Development, Syed Laiquat Ali, Chief Financial Officer, Mr Azmat Tarin, Head of Retail Banking, and Mr Waqar A Khan, Head of Audit.

Mr Mueen Afzal, chairman of the bank's board, told Khaleej Times that the approval process for the Rep. Office in the UAE could take six months. The bank wants to consolidate, strengthen its base, and gradually expand in the Middle East, he said.

"We are a small but growing bank concentrating on consumer products as consumer spending prospects in Pakistan are much better today because in the past three years the country has become stable in macro-economic terms, the positive signs being a stable rupee, high foreign exchange reserves, and low inflation," he said.

Mr Mueen said that the bank's financial results were encouraging and the strategy and plan adopted by the bank were paying off. "Consumer banking requires a lot of preperation and we decided at the right time to go for it," he said.

Mr Shaukat Tarin, President and Group CEO of the bank, said that its services, provided through the state-of-the-art technology offering real time banking, will enable NRPs to build a relationship with the bank in Pakistan. He acknowledged that the competition in the banking sector had increased in Pakistan as many banks were offering consumer products with the collapse of the interest rates.

Mr Tarin mandated Mr Asif Sana, Director International and Business Development, and Muneer Kamal, Chief Operating Officer , International, to set up an offshore network and to look into markets where the bank's products can serve market segments. Mr Asif said that recognising the vast potential the NRPs hold, Union Bank plans to form alliances with partner banks overseas, so that expatriate Pakistanis can experience the same benefits as they would in Pakistan. He said that the Union Bank considered UAE as a premier platform to launch its NRP programme.

Subject to certain conditions, NRPs would now be able to avail a wide range of asset and liabilities products for themselves and their loved ones in Pakistan. These are:

Business Account - A flexible current account that offers a secure way of transferring funds without the hassles of carrying cash or travellers cheques. Business Account can be accessed from any Union Bank branch in Pakistan.

Business Power Ð A running finance facility which provides loans of up to Rs10 million against property.

Mahana Izaafa - A savings account that offers the most attractive rates.

My Home -Provides loans on easy installments to build, buy or renovate house or to purchase a plot of land. With the lowest possible mark-up, flexible payment tenure and a partial repayment facility.

Ready Cash -A line of credit with low mark up and no restrictions on where or how one spends.

UniCar Financing - A customer can choose a brand new car or a used one and pay the minimum down payment to avail of the loan.

Union Bank Online - A state-of-the-art Customer Contact Centre, where with a simple phone call one can avail a host of features like statement generation, account balance checking, product information, status of cheque, issuance of chequebook etc..

Mr Asif said that the Union Bank is soon launching a one-stop-shop NRP product offering all the above benefits through one product. This product will be offered through a joint venture with local banks so that NRPs can have easy and wide access to a large branch network of partner banks.

By opening one account in a local bank NRPs will be able to open simultaneous account in any branch of Union Bank in Pakistan. The NRP product will also offer free transfer of money, attractive interest rates and access to ATM network for resident Pakistani family members.

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