Towards Sustainable Growth
Silkbank is a recent arrival on the Pakistani banking scene. It was on September 15, 2001 when, under the supervision of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Prudential Bank was acquired by the management and associates of the Saudi Pak Industrial and Agricultural Investment Company (Pvt.) Ltd. (SAPICO).
Subsequently, on March 31, 2008, a Consortium comprising the IFC, Bank Muscat, Nomura International and Sinthos Capital, which was led by senior bankers Shaukat Tarin and Sadeq Sayeed, acquired an 86.55 percent stake in Saudi Pak Commercial Bank for around US $213 million or US $0.47 per share (PKR 29.3 equivalent per share). Following this, on June 1, 2009, Saudi Pak was rebranded as Silkbank Limited and the current entity which is known as Silkbank Limited was born.
Silkbank’s equity partners include IFC (International Finance Corporation), member of the World Bank Group which fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries; Nomura, a leading investment bank with a network in over 30 countries and total assets of US $221 billion (it recently acquired Lehman Brothers in Asia and Europe); and Bank Muscat, which is the largest bank in Oman with assets of over US $15 billion and a significant presence in the Middle East.
Silkbank has the benefit of the vast and extensive banking and financial experience of the renowned Mr. Shaukat Tarin. His name has almost become synonymous with success in the financial world as he has led many a banking institution forward with his golden touch. He has served as Country Manager of Citibank and has headed Habib Bank and Union Bank. Twice, he has also served as chairman of the Karachi Stock Exchange.
It was Shaukat Tarin’s keen understanding of Pakistan’s financial dynamics and high respect in international monetary circles that he was appointed as Finance Minister by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani and served in the cabinet from 2008 to 2010. He resigned from the position as he wanted to avoid conflict of interest when he set about raising equity for Silkbank.
Bolstered by Shaukat Tarin’s sharp acumen and deep insights in local banking synergies, Silkbank aims to create a new benchmark of excellence. It aspires to be a leader in its class and endeavours to win the trust of customers through easy accessibility, customer satisfaction and innovation. It also works towards becoming an employer of choice by creating value for all stakeholders. Silkbank’s main areas of focus are the SME sector and Consumer Financing leading to increased profitability.
It is interesting to know why the Bank chose to project its new identity as ‘Silkbank’. Inspiration for the name came from the Silk Route - a historical trade corridor connecting Asia with Europe and the rest of the world. Silk is also known for its distinctive properties and characteristics that symbolize Silkbank’s brand beliefs. Among these, Premium and Upscale is the first belief. Silk as a fabric is known for its premium class and quality. This positions Silkbank as an upscale bank providing customers a premium banking experience.
Silkbank’s characteristics of Talent and Innovation are centered on the fact that Silk embodies talent and timeless innovation. Silkbank promises its customers innovative products delivered through talented staff.
The Bank’s vision is to establish itself as the benchmark of excellence in the banking industry and be the Bank of Choice for its target market. Silkbank’s reliability is further supported by its institutional sponsors Nomura, IFC and Bank Muscat which provide it with strong financial backing and a framework of good corporate governance, which is the Bank’s guiding principle in cultivating trust and transparency with customers, regulators and partners.
All initiatives taken at Silkbank are aimed at attaining “Service Leadership” and it aims to achieve this by offering a level of service that is truly unmatched.
Despite challenges, Silkbank has succeeded in recording an admirable rate of revenue growth which has set the pace for its sustainable performance in the coming years. Silkbank has strengthened its controls and restructured its balance sheet, aggressively providing for portfolio impairment. It has invested heavily in its distribution and has expanded its network to 85 branches in 32 cities. It has also continued to upgrade the skill set of its people through training and development. The staff has been enabled further by a world class technology infrastructure that meets the dynamic needs of customers and makes the Bank’s service standards a truly differentiating factor in a highly competitive market.
It can now be said that Silkbank has led the banking industry in Service Quality as it has continued to dedicate greater resources to service. It has demonstrated service quality improvement validated by independent surveys. As such, its branches rated as “excellent” have moved from a low of 5 to 75 percent, as the Silkbank prides itself in being a conscientious and responsible corporate citizen with a commitment to the development of Pakistan. Its employees are encouraged to give back to society as best as they can in their own spheres of life. At the same time, the bank continues to make concerted efforts towards the development of healthcare, education, constructive character building and promoting sports activities in the underdeveloped segments of society.
Since Silkbank is a progressive and innovation-centric bank, it continues to offer new products to serve its customers with a comprehensive product portfolio. This comprises Silkbank Advantage Personal Loan, Business Value Current Account, M Power, All-in-One Current Account and Visa Debit Card. Silkbank branches offering ATM service currently stand at 70.
The bank also offers Bancassurance products offering investment and insurance solutions to its customers. The Bank has launched the Silk Health Plan which has been very well received by customers.
Having remained intensively engaged in rebuilding the entire franchise over the previous years, the Bank is now fully geared to looking at its future with greater confidence through overall improvements and achievements in the areas of technology and human resource, new product offerings, improvements in branch network, infrastructure and service quality assessment, enhancement of risk management, branch quality, strong control environment, and special asset performance