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Pakistan's best domestic bank 2017: HBL


Habib means ‘beloved’ or ‘friend’ in Urdu, Pakistan’s official language. But it could just as easily mean solid and secure, for that’s how many Pakistanis feel about their biggest private-sector bank, with its 1,600 branches across the country.

Controlled by the Aga Khan’s Fund for Economic Development, Habib exudes stability in a famously difficult market that’s steadily coming out of tough times.

Helmed by former Citibanker Nauman Dar since 2012, HBL continued its solid showings in 2016 to post net profits of Rs34.2 billion ($327 million), slightly down from an exceptional 2015, when HBL had banked a series of one-off capital gains.

Dar says that on a year-to-year comparison, 2016 saw profits come in around 10% higher than the year before. HBL’s balance sheet also grew 13% from 2015 to reach Rs2.5 trillion.

HBL now banks more than 9 million customers in Pakistan. It has launched important initiatives in areas such as banking for women, social media and biometrics.

In corporate banking, HBL added 3,000 new small and medium-sized enterprise clients during 2016, and now has 13,000 SME clients. Its trade finance business rose 22% in 2016.

With a presence in 24 countries beyond Pakistan, HBL is also trusted among Pakistan’s far-flung diaspora, who used it to send over a quarter of the $20 billion Pakistanis remitted home last year.