MCB lead
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Could you tell us a bit on MCB bank, highlighting its services for Pakistani expats in the UAE?

MCB Bank is one of the oldest banks of Pakistan and was incorporated in 1947. It was nationalised in 1974 and privatised in 1991. MCB Bank’s major shareholding is owned by the Nishat Group, a prominent business conglomerate, having diversified interests in textiles, cement, banking, insurance, power generation, hotel business, real estate, agriculture, dairy, auto manufacturing and paper products. To enter in international capital markets, the Bank launched its Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs) in 2006. It was the first Pakistani Bank that had its GDRs listed on the London Stock Exchange.

The Bank operates a strong and vast network of over 1,400+ branches and over 1,400 ATMs in Pakistan and 11 branches overseas with a footprint in the UAE, Bahrain and Sri Lanka. With a customer base of over 8 million and the provision of 24/7 digital banking services available to customers across the globe, MCB Bank is one of the leaders of the banking and financial services sector in Pakistan. MCB Bank, on a consolidated basis, is operating the second largest network of more than 1,600 branches in Pakistan. The Bank remains one of the prime stocks traded in the Pakistani equity market with the highest market capitalisation in the industry and enjoys the highest local credit ratings of AAA/ A1+ categories for long term and short term respectively, based on PACRA notification dated June 26, 2020.

An evolving and dynamic banking sector is essential for economic growth in Pakistan. The banking sector constitutes the core of the financial sector in Pakistan.

- Naeem Saigol, Divisional Head, Transaction Banking, MCB Bank

In 2015, MCB Bank launched its first wholesale banking branch in the UAE. Through this flagship UAE branch, MCB Bank provides customised business solutions, which include business accounts, finance and trade products. MCB Bank UAE aims to address the growing financing requirements of the business community of the region and endeavors to contribute towards further expansion and growth amid the country’s flourishing economy.

MCB Bank Pakistan has partnered with local money transfer operators and exchange houses in the UAE to promote remittances through legal channels towards Pakistan with its easy, fast and state-of-the-art technology.

What are the primary factors that could drive a resurgence in the banking sector this year?

An evolving and dynamic banking sector is essential for economic growth in Pakistan. The banking sector constitutes the core of the financial sector in Pakistan.

Digitisation is the new era in the financial industry; customers require a round the clock digital solution in the palm of their hands through which they can conduct financial transactions with the click of a button from the comfort of their home, offices or on the move.

The banking sector will have to keep abreast with the latest technological developments in the financial sector and develop their systems accordingly to provide a safer, faster and transparent banking solution to their customers.

What will the role of remittances be in helping the Pakistan's economy recover from the pandemic?

Migrant stock and financial sector development immensely influences the size of remittance routed towards Pakistan.

Worker remittances have always played a key role in Pakistan’s economy. The exceptional growth of 24% YoY to $2.21billion during the month of February 2021 for the ninth consecutive month during these testing times is a testimony that remittances through legal channels in Pakistan is growing tremendously, as overseas Pakistanis continue to demonstrate confidence in their banking sector.

Furthermore, remittances are a key component of many household incomes. As incomes increase due to remittances, people will be able to afford better health services, which are required to fight this pandemic.

What are some of the technological changes coming to the banking sector in Pakistan?

The Pakistan banking industry has seen a shift towards digitisation since the pandemic. Technological changes have provided customers with safer, convenient, transparent and round the clock facilities to carry out their day to day banking needs. The introduction of Mobile Wallets and the Roshan Digital Account (RDA) are being promoted by Pakistani banks on a large scale.

Unlike a regular wallet, mobile wallets cannot be snatched or lost anywhere. It is easily accessible to the end users and allows them to make transactions by one touch, unlike the traditional methods that take a lot of time and energy.

The Roshan Digital Account is a tailor made digital financial solution, designed to facilitate Non-Resident Pakistanis in their plans for investment in Pakistan based saving schemes and is available in a host of foreign currencies. Since its inception in September 2020, Pakistan has attracted more than half a billion dollars through Roshan Digital Accounts till date and this number continues to grow with each passing day!