Pakistan's best international bank 2019: Standard Chartered
In Pakistan, when it comes to international banks, there is Standard Chartered – and then there’s daylight. Shazad Dada’s outfit has been in the country since 1863, and has recently seen off StanChart’s traditional competitors in the south Asia region, notably HSBC and Citibank (the latter the alma mater of so many Pakistani bankers).
Chinese state-owned banks have appeared in the market of late, as Beijing and Islamabad ratchet up their love affair over the $50 billion China–Pakistan Economic Corridor project, but these new faces have yet to challenge StanChart.
In calendar 2018, and in the face of an increasingly grim economy, StanChart’s Pakistan operation produced its highest-ever pre-tax profit – up 37% to PRs18.5 billion ($133 million) from the previous year. Overall revenue growth was 12%, the bank says, and client revenue jumped by 13% with strong contributions from transaction banking, financial markets and retail deposits. It helped that Dada kept a check on expenses, which rose 5% during the year.
Another milestone was achieved when the bank’s total deposits exceeded PRs400 billion ($2.9 billion), up 13% across the bank’s 77 branches in 11 cities.
StanChart is one of the go-to banks at the top end of town. Some 54% of the companies that comprise the Pakistan Stock Exchange’s PSX-100 index use StanChart for their payroll requirements, and 76% of them use the bank’s corporate division.