Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Shamshad Akhtar has said that Islamic Banks must now focus on increasing their branches in rural areas of Pakistan. She expressed these views while briefing the media at a ceremony celebrating Meezan Bank’s milestone of establishing 100 branches across Pakistan held here on Thursday.
She said that the central bank has promoted a very liberal licensing policy under which each bank is required to open 20 per cent of their branches in rural area to enhance the outreach of Islamic Banking. Governor State Bank said that Meezan Bank’s historic growth is the success story of Islamic banking in Pakistan and congratulated Meezan Bank for this achievement. She wished the management of Meezan Bank many more “Centuries” in their success in the years to come.
Speaking on the occasion Mr. Irfan Siddiqui, President and CEO of Meezan Bank said that Meezan Bank, the first and largest Islamic Bank in Pakistan is committed to fulfilling its vision of establishing Islamic Banking as banking of first choice. He said that Meezan Bank is now present in 31 cities of Pakistan and branch expansion will continue during 2008 making the Bank one of the fastest growing Banks in the history of Pakistan.
Mr. Siddiqui explained that currently six dedicated Islamic Banks are operating in Pakistan with a total of 186 branches besides 102 standalone Islamic Banking Branches of Conventional banks are also in operations. Meezan Bank’s share of branch network is now 55% of the total, making it therefore the largest Islamic Bank operating in Pakistan by a significant margin. He said that Meezan bank would continue to expand its branch network in 2008 with the addition of 50 more branches thus establishing a network of 150 branches across Pakistan by the end of 2008.
Meezan Bank President said that bank’s total deposit base is over Rs. 52 billion which is 42% of total Islamic banking industry, its financing stands at 30 billion which is 34% of total Islamic banking financing, bank’s total assets are worth 64 billion making it 36% of overall Islamic banking assets. Meezan Bank has more than 150,000 customers, he added.
The Meezan Bank Shariah Board consists of world-renowned Shariah scholars such as, Justice (Retd.) Muhammad Taqi Usmani, Dr. Abdul Sattar Abu Ghuddah, Sheikh Essam M. Ishaq and Dr. Muhammad Imran Usmani. He said that to ensure strict Shariah compliance in all Bank’s operations Meezan Bank has a dedicated Product Development & Shariah Compliance (PDSC) unit for the centralization of Product development activities, new product research, Islamic banking training and Shariah Compliance audit functions. The department works under the direct guidance & supervision of the Bank’s Shariah Advisor – Dr. Muhammad Imran Usmani and the Shariah Supervisory Board of the Bank.
Meezan Bank has a large product menu offering a complete range of Islamic banking products and services, such as: Corporate and Investment Banking, Commercial and SME, Consumer Finance, Treasury & Financial Institutions, and Asset Management. The Asset Management business is managed through a subsidiary Al Meezan Investment Management Limited and offers a number of mutual funds.The Retail Banking is organized through the network of 100 branches spread in the three Regions across Pakistan, namely South, Central and North Region, he added. All branches are ‘on-line’ and are supported by state of the art 24/7 Banking services to all its customers, which includes 77 ATMs, Internet Banking and a Call Center that operates 24 hours a day seven days a week. The Bank also offers a comprehensive Debit Card that is accepted at over 3,000 outlets across