The banking sector of Pakistan has evolved a great deal in the last two decades. It has witnessed a rapid revolution from conventional banking methods to modern ones. The global economy is going through a period of economic recession and banks in Pakistan are also feeling the heat, however, the sector remains one of the most promising ones in the country and serves as an important platform for economic growth.
As of now, there are around twenty-two scheduled banks operating in Pakistan. Five of these belong to the public sector while fifteen belong to the private sector. Seventeen banks out of a total of twenty-two now have Islamic banking operations. There are currently five international banks in Pakistan. International banks have been entering and exiting the Pakistani market since its independence. Political instability and wars affected the operations of foreign banks in Pakistan, often forcing them to wrap up their operations in Pakistan.
Currently, the foreign banks operating in Pakistan are:
Standard Chartered Bank is a multinational bank with its headquarters in London. It has over 1200 branches in over seventy countries. It provides treasury services, institutional banking services, corporate finance, and consumer finance around the globe. Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan (SCB) is registered in Pakistan as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Standard Chartered Bank.
SCB tops the international banks in Pakistan. It provides banking services to Pakistani through forty-three of its branches and employs over nine thousand Pakistanis. The bank is offering a variety of facilities to individuals and companies in Pakistan. These include consumer services such as personal loans, car loans, housing finance, and credit cards. It also provides corporate financing facilities to businesses. The bank has recently acquired its license for Islamic banking and is also offering several Islamic facilities. SCB is the best bank in Pakistan for international transactions due to its strong presence in the Pakistani as well as the global market.
Deutsche Bank AG is a multinational bank with its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. The bank operates in 58 countries and entered the Pakistani banking sector first in 1962. Today, it employs around 100 people in its Lahore and Karachi branches. The bank is offering Investment banking and corporate services such as treasury solutions, trade finance, cash management, fixed income sales, and foreign exchange. It is expected that the bank will further expand its operations in Pakistan.
Citibank has over 2640 branches around the globe, with a majority of them operating in the United States and Mexico. It has had a presence in Pakistan since 1961 as an Institutional Client Group (ICG) franchise. Citi was among the first foreign banks in Pakistan to launch credit cards in Pakistan and also introduced consumer asset financing. The bank used to be one of the best banks in Pakistan for international transactions. The bank was also the lead bank that facilitated the Pakistani govt in issuing its first foreign currency Sukuk. The bank has a few branches across Pakistan in cities like Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad.
ICBC is a multinational bank owned by the state of China. It was the largest global bank in 2017 and 2018. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. Karachi Branch began operations on 20th May 2011. The bank provides various services such as Deposit/Foreign Currency Deposit, Foreign Exchange, Trade Finance, Remittance, etc.
BOC is a Chinese national bank with its headquarters in Beijing. Bank of China has a strong link with Pakistan. It first came to the country in 1942 but had to leave its operations after the separation of west Pakistan. The bank again commenced its Pakistani operations in 2017 and opened one of its branches in Karachi. The main purpose of the bank is to finance CPEC projects.
The Foreign bank List in Pakistan is not a long one. That’s because many foreign banks have perceived Pakistan as a high-risk country due to political instability and terrorism. However, as the banking sector of Pakistan shows a promising future, one can expect that more foreign banks will enter the Pakistani market.
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