Barclays Bank to kick off banking from June

KARACHI - Pakistani banking sector is going to witness another major development in next couple of months as the UK-based Barclays Bank is kicking off its operations in the country from June 2008. The UK's bank had obtained licence from the State Bank of Pakistan to open 10 branches, capital market sources disclosed this major upcoming development in the financial sector that is being seen another landmark in the history of banking in Pakistan. The Barclays Bank would launch its maiden branch in June and later on the bank would increase the network of the branches to 10 in major cities of the country. The UK's big bank had already started hiring seasoned bankers from the financial market with the aim to kick-off its first branch in June this year, said sources. Initially the Barclays Bank might focus on the corporate sector customers because with the small network of 10 branches the bank might not interested in attracting the retail customers, said sources. Sources said that the entry of the UK's leading bank in Pakistan was being seen a very positive development for the financial sector in the country and it reflected the foreign companies increasing interest in the country. At present 41 banks are operating in Pakistan which include five Islamic banks and six micro-finance banks. There are six banks which fall in the category of foreign banks _ Albaraka Islamic Bank; CitiBank, Deutsche Bank AG Pakistan Operations; Oman International Bank SAOG Pakistan Operations; The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ Limited Pakistan Operations; and Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited Pakistan. Bankers said that the banking sector had already seen major acquisitions and mergers in Pakistan that have strengthened the financial sector. The key mergers are the amalgamation of the Union Bank into the Standard Chartered Bank Limited Pakistan; acquisition of PICIC by NIB Bank; Prime Bank merger into ABN Amro Bank; acquisition of Saudi-Pak Commercial Bank by a consortium, headed by Shaukat Tarin, a seasoned banker, former President of Union Bank and Chairman Karachi Stock Exchange. As some small banks are facing difficulties in enhancing their paid-up capital to Rs 6 billion or $100 million by December 2009, the financial sector experts are anticipating more mergers and acquisitions in the banking sector in Pakistan. The public sector banks in Pakistan are: First Women Bank Limited, National Bank of Pakistan, Bank of Khyber, Bank of Punjab, Industrial Development Bank of Pakistan, SME Bank Limited, Punjab Provincial Cooperative Bank. The private sector banks are: ABN Amro Bank Pakistan Limited, Allied Bank Limited, Arif Habib Bank Limited, Askari Bank Limited, Atlas Bank Limited, Bank Alfalah Limited, Bank Al-Habib Limited, Crescent Commercial Bank Limited, Faysal Bank Limited, Habib Bank Limited, Habib Metropolitan Bank Limited, JS Bank Limited, KASB Bank Limited, MCB Bank, Mybank, NIB Bank Limited, PICIC Commercial Bank Limited, Saudi Pak Commercial Bank Limited, Soneri Bank Limited, Standard Chartered Bank Limited, United Bank Limited. Islamic banks: Albaraka Islamic Bank, BankIslamic Pakistan Limited, Dawood Islamic Bank Limited, Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan, Emirates Global Islamic Bank and Meezan Bank Limited. Following are the micro-finance banks/institutions are: Khushhali Bank, Network Microfinance Bank Limited, Pak Oman Microfinance Bank, Rozgar Microfinance Bank, Tameer Micro Finance Bank, First Micro Finance Bank.

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