To­wards Sus­tain­able Growth

Enterprise - - Cover story -

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

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