by Azmat Tarin, President & CEO Silkbank

On June 1, 2009 Silkbank emerged on the banking horizon in Pakistan as a premier and upscale commercial bank backed by a strong consortium comprising of

IFC (an investment arm of the World Bank), Bank Muscat (the largest Bank in Oman), Nomura European Investment (one of the largest investment banks of the World) and Sinthos Capital led by Mr. Shaukat Tarin.  In 2008, the consortium partners had acquired 86.55% stake in the Saudi Pak Commercial Bank, which was re-branded as SIlkbank. 

Within a short span of less than 6 years since rebranding, Silkbank has become a benchmark of service excellence, maintaining an upscale image and positioning.  Service quality is instilled into every process of the Bank. Service delivery is assessed regularly to ensure that our service quality standards continue to be the best in the financial services industry. Our excellence in service quality and delivery has been authenticated by independent surveys conducted by leading Market Research Agencies. 

Silkbank’s Vision and Mission portray our philosophy.  Our “Vision” is to be the “Benchmark of Excellence in Premier Banking” and our “Mission” is “To be the leader in Premier banking, trusted by our customers for accessibility, service and innovation, be an employer of choice creating value for all stakeholders.” We always have stood steadfast to our Vision and Mission. Through training, motivation, and team-building activities, we ingrain in our employees our Core Values. 

We pride ourselves in being an equal opportunity employer and strictly practice our values of integrity and meritocracy. We have a diverse mix of talented resources, bonded together as a team. At the Bank, we consider our employees our most cherished assets and continuously invest in their training and professional development. We have an open-door policy which promotes a culture of approachability at all levels.We have a system in place for whistle-blowing, which serves as an early warning against any malpractice. This is coupled with a strict policy for protection against any kind of harassment. This fosters a conducive and friendly work environment, ensuring respect and recognition.

Silkbank is a full-scale commercial bank with 88 branches in 33 cities. We have the widest product menu amongst the medium-sized banks in the country. Our product offerings include Retail, Corporate & Investment Banking, SME, Consumer& Islamic Banking. We have, both, credit and debit cards, a collection of innovative deposit products and consumer loans including personal loans as well as a revolving credit facility. We also offer a mortgage-based SME lending facility and a host of other SME and Middle Market banking products.  Our Corporate and Investment Banking earned an award for the most innovative product offered in the financial services sector in 2014, which was a preference share issue of Rs. 2.2 billion.

Silkbank is a pioneer of 0% APR Credit Card, besides being the only bank to have on its menu a daily profit payout savings account brand  - named “MunafaRozana.” We also have a Personal Loan variant with a novel last year mark-up waiver. Silkbank Ready Line, the running finance facility, is ostensibly the most preferred unsecured loan product in the market and has a fast growing market share. Our Islamic Banking Division, Emaan Islamic Banking, also has a presence across the country, offering a variety of Sharia-compliant products.

Being renowned for innovation, Silkbank keeps itself abreast on the technology platform. We are about to launch Mobile Banking services. Moreover, the Bank intends to increase its presence on social media and engage in various digital marketing activities. 

We foresee a lucrative market locally as well as internationally for Islamic Banking products. We would further expand the product menu of Emaan Islamic Banking to provide customers with Islamic products which will include Investment Banking products as well as Islamic financing for housing based on an Ijara model.

The year gone by was challenging for us, attributed largely to the turbulent economic and security situation in the country. Notwithstanding the odds, our employees, as a close-knit team and through dedication and hard work, overcame the challenges to close 2014 stronger than ever before by earning a year-end operating profit of Rs. 499 million and a profit before tax of Rs. 131 million.  We will continue to work on the earnings momentum in 2015. Together with a strong business thrust and the right controls, 2015 will be a watershed year for our Bank. We are fortunate to have a very strong and vigorous Treasury Unit and are hopeful that we will register strong earnings in 2015. 

Silkbank is in the process of further capitalising itself. A right shares issue is underway. A capital injection of Rs. 2 billion has already come in as advance against right shares subscription. A balance of Rs. 8 billion is expected with the closure of the right shares issue. With the receipt of this injection, the Bank’s capital will soar to over Rs. 16 billion.

Our intention is to enhance the distribution network of the Bank to 250 branches and achieve a balance sheet footing of Rs. 250 billion by December 2017. We plan to open a mix of 150 conventional and Islamic branches in the next 3 years. 

Silkbank has always been a staunch supporter of Corporate Social Responsibility. The two main areas which the Bank pays close attention to are health and education. Amongst the many activities that we have been involved in, includes a mentoring program for school children at The Citizens Foundation. The Bank actively participates in blood donation campaigns besides playing an active role in fund raising activities for various welfare programs. 

I take pride in having a winning team of extremely talented and enthusiastic employees. I am confident that, with the current momentum, we are on track to achieve our Vision and Mission to be, “The Benchmark of Excellence in Premier Banking”.