BOP’s new offices planned in UAE and Bahrain

LAHORE   -   The Bank of Punjab (BOP) has announced a significant milestone in its strategic expansion plan. In a recent Board of Directors meeting held on July 1, 2024, the decision was approved to establish a representative office in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and a Wholesale Banking Unit (WBU) in the Kingdom of Bahrain, subject to approval from State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and other regulators.

Since its inception in 1989, BOP has emerged as a leading force in Pakistan’s financial sector. This expansion marks a critical step for BOP. By establishing a presence in these key international markets, BOP aims to foster stronger financial ties and offer its customers enhanced banking solutions that meet their evolving needs.

The recent reaffirmation of BOP’s credit rating by the Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (PACRA) underscores the bank’s strong financial health and stability. PACRA reaffirmed BOP’s long-term rating at ‘AA+’ and short-term rating at ‘A1+’, reflecting its sound risk management practices and robust capital adequacy ratio of 17.5% that is a significant improvement over its CAR of 12.27% in 2021.

Currently, BOP is set to close 2024 with over 900 branches, and by 2025 the bank aims to achieve the milestone of 1,000 branches. This aggressive expansion from a network of 662 branches in 2021 underscores BOP’s commitment to enhancing accessibility and convenience for its customers across Pakistan.

BOP’s journey has been marked by tremendous strides in recent years, showcasing its commitment to innovation and growth. Key milestones include the successful launch of its credit card business, providing customers with flexible payment options and attractive rewards. BOP has also introduced POS and acquiring services, enhancing its payment solutions for merchants and consumers alike. Simultaneously, emphasis on bringing BOP’s technology infrastructure up to speed has attracted substantial investments in building robust digital infrastructure, incorporating core and mobile banking platforms such as the new Temenos DigiBOP platform, the most advanced in the market, offering cutting-edge digital banking solutions, AI-powered data analytics, and varied automated solutions to enhance process efficiencies.

During the last couple of years, BOP also successfully upgraded its Core Banking System, completed digital payment rails by launching acquiring business and RAAST use cases, and enhanced product offerings through FDA and corporate credit cards.

The bank also digitalized account opening processes and launched SME e-Qarza, digital personal loans, and smart credit cards, enhanced its contact center and WhatsApp banking capabilities, and migrated over 1 million wallets to the new branchless banking system along with transitioning 400,000+ customers to the new mobile app platform.

 The above transformation has resulted in the share of BOP’s digital transactions rising dramatically from 16% in 2021 to 65% in 2024.

Furthermore, BOP has become a key partner in various government digital banking initiatives, including PSPA disbursements, the BISP mandate for three clusters, upcoming CM Punjab Kissan Card, NADRA payment solution provider, and E-stamping mandates across Pakistan. Additionally, BOP is also implementing ticketing solutions for Mass Transit schemes for Punjab Mass Transit Authority across Punjab, furthering its commitment to providing innovative and accessible financial services. These initiatives demonstrate BOP’s unwavering dedication to advancing its product offerings and technological capabilities while supporting national development programs.

In recognition of its outstanding performance, BOP has garnered several prestigious awards over the past few years. The bank has been honored with the Best Bank for Small and Medium Businesses for the past 2 years 2022 & 2023 at the Pakistan Banking Awards and has also received accolades from prestigious international forums like The Digital Banker and Asiamoney for its excellence in SME, digital banking and other financial services. These awards reflect BOP’s unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional banking experiences and innovative solutions to its customers.

BOP’s continuous efforts and strategic investments have positioned it as a leader in digital banking in Pakistan. These achievements underscore BOP’s resilience and proactive approach in overcoming challenges and driving innovation in the banking industry.

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