'StanChart most profitable foreign bank in UAE'

DUBAI - Standard Chartered Bank has emerged the most profitable foreign bank and leading issuer of Visa cards in the UAE, according to the bank's Group Chief Executive Mervyn Davies.

By Babu Das Augustine

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Published: Sun 10 Aug 2003, 12:05 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 7:47 PM

"We are now the most profitable foreign bank in the UAE. We retain our position as the number one foreign bank in Pakistan and Bangladesh and we are the leading issuer of Visa cards in the UAE and South Asia," he said in a review of the UK-based bank's performance in the Middle East and South Asia (MESA) region.

The MESA region contributed more than 23 per cent to the group's pre-tax profits, on the region's revenues of $271 million in the first half of 2003.

Standard Chartered plc reported a pre-tax profit of $741 million on revenues of $2,347 million for the first half of 2003. The UK-based bank's operating profit for MESA has increased from $104 million to $124 million due to improved margins in commercial banking and asset and liability management, increased customer sales activity in global markets, the repositioning of the risk profile and enhanced global market product offering.

Davies said in his financial review that the MESA region is now a significant part of the group and has huge potential.

Revenues have been driven by wholesale banking, through growth in trade products and structured and fixed income products. In MESA region revenue grew by 14 per cent to $116 million. Unsecured loans and wealth management are key business drivers in the region.

Internet banking has been launched and there has been good growth in the card market, especially in the UAE, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Jordan. Chief Executive for UAE Ray Ferguson said: "Standard Chartered Bank UAE has a great portfolio of products and services that have been warmly received in the market. We provide a range of high quality retail banking products, including auto loans, personal loans' and credit cards, with competitive rates and benefits. On the wholesale banking side, we have leading cash management, treasury and trade finance products for our corporate clients."

Following the Iraq war, Standard Chartered expects cross-border tradeflows with in the region such as Turkey, Afghanistan and Iran to grow and offer business potential to the bank.

"Our MESA business will continue to grow. It is a priority area for us. We have a strong track record and we are well positioned in the region," Davies said.

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