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Habib Bank Limited

Habib Bank Limited (Urdu: حبِیب بَینک ‎) is a Pakistani multinational bank based in Habib Bank Plaza, Karachi, Pakistan. It is owned by Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development and is the largest bank by assets in Pakistan.[4]

Founded in 1941, HBL became Pakistan's first commercial bank. In 1951 it opened its first international branch in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In 1972 the bank moved its headquarters to the Habib Bank Plaza, which became the tallest building in South Asia at the time. The Government nationalised the bank in 1974 and privatized it in 2003; at that time the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development acquired a controlling share.[5]

As of 2018, HBL has more than 1700 branches with presence in over 25 countries spanning across four continents. It is the largest company in Pakistan in terms of assets, and has repeatedly ranked top Pakistani company in the Forbes Global 2000.[6][7]

In February 2018, HBL appointed senior banker, Muhammad Aurangzeb (formerly CEO Global Corporate Bank – Asia Pacific at JP Morgan) as its President & CEO following early retirement of Nauman K. Dar on December 31, 2017, after the bank was marred by a penalty of $225 Million (USD) for its non-compliance with risk management and anti-money laundering rules.


Habib Bank offers the basic range of banking services to its customers, to include commercial, bank in the emerging markets.


Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Pakistan's first Governor General, realized the importance of financial intermediation while he was campaigning for the creation of a separate homeland for the Muslims. He persuaded the Habib family to establish a commercial bank that could serve the Muslim community. His initiative resulted in the creation of Habib Bank in 1941, with head office in Bombay (now Mumbai), and fixed capital of 25,000 rupees. The bank played an important role in mobilizing funds from the Muslim community to finance the All-India Muslim League's campaign for the establishment of Pakistan. Habib Bank also played an important role in channeling relief funds to Muslims hurt in the communal riots and violence that preceded the departure of the British from British India and the subsequent partition.

After the formation of Pakistan in 1947, Habib Bank moved its headquarters to Karachi, Pakistan's first capital, at the urging of Governor-General Jinnah. This gave Karachi its first commercial bank of the newly formed Pakistan. The Habib family would own and manage the bank until the Pakistan government nationalized it on 1 January 1974.

On 13 June 2002, Pakistan's Privatization Commission announced that the Government of Pakistan would grant the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), a subsidiary of the Aga Khan Development Network, majority ownership of HBL against an AKFED's investment in the bank.[8]

During 2002, HBL's UK operation came close to being shut down due to regulatory issues with the Financial Services Authority. The issue was resolved by converting the operations to a subsidiary. Then Habib Bank Limited and Allied Bank of Pakistan merged their operations (Habib contributed its 6 branches and Allied its 4), into a new bank, called Habib-Allied International Bank, in which Habib Bank has a 90.5% shareholding, while Allied Bank has 9.5%.

In December 2003, the Government of Pakistan granted AKFED rights to 51% of the shareholding in the bank against an investment of PKR 22.409 billion (US$389 million).[9] In February 2004, Government of Pakistan handed over management control of Habib Bank to AKFED. The Board of Directors was reconstituted to have four AKFED nominees, including the Chairman and the President/CEO and three Government of Pakistan nominees.[10]

In April 2015, the Government of Pakistan sold its 41.5% stake or 609 million shares in the bank for $1.02 billion.[11] According to the finance ministry, the strike price of Rs.168 per share (compared to the floor price of Rs.166 per share) was recommended by the Privatization Commission Board. The bank's owners now comprise the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (51%) and the remaining 49% of shares are in free float. CDC Group holds 5% and the International Finance Corporation holds 3% while the rest of the shares are held by individuals, institutions and funds.[12]

On 18 April 2016, HBL received license to operate a subsidiary in Ürümqi, Xinjiang, becoming the first Pakistani bank to operate in China.[13]

International expansion

In the 1950s, the HBL started its international expansion. In 1951 it opened the first of what would become three branches in Sri Lanka. The next year HBL established Habib Bank (Overseas). Then in 1956 HBL opened the first of five branches in Kenya.

  • 1957 or 1958 HBL opened a branch in Aden.
  • 1961 HBL opened the first of what would become 6 branches in the UK.
  • 1964 HBL opened the first of four branches in Mauritius and a branch in Beirut.
  • 1966 HBL opened the first of eight branches in the UAE.
  • 1967 Hyder Mohamedali Habib founded Habib Bank AG Zurich Zurich. After Pakistan nationalised Habib Bank Ltd in 1974, this became the main branch of the family held Habib Bank.[14]
  • 1969 HBL opened the first of three branches and an OBU in Bahrain. However, HBL's branch in Aden was nationalized.
  • 1971 HBL opened an OBU in Singapore and a branch in New York City.
  • 1972 HBL opened the first of 11 branches in Oman. HBL constructed Habib Bank Plaza in Karachi to commemorate the bank's 25th Anniversary.
  • 1974 The government of Pakistan nationalized HBL and HBL merged with Habib Bank (Overseas). The Habib Family, any of its undertakings, or its affiliates had no stake in HBL after its nationalization.[15]
  • 1975 HBL opened a branch in Belgium. HBL also merged with Standard Bank, a Pakistani bank.
  • 1976 HBL opened a branch in the Seychelles, the first of two branches in Bangladesh, and a branch in the Maldives.
  • 1979 HBL opened a branch in the Netherlands.
  • 1980 HBL opened a branch in Paris and another in Hong Kong.
  • 1981 HBL established Nigeria Habib Bank with 40% ownership. HBL also opened a representative office in Teheran.
  • 1982 HBL opened a branch in Khartoum.
  • 1983 HBL opened branch in the Karachi EPZ and a branch in Istanbul.
  • 1987 HBL opened in Australia.
  • 1991 The Habib Group established a separate private bank, the Bank AL Habib, after private banking was re-established in Pakistan. HBL opened a branch in the Fiji Islands, and took over the branches in Paksistan of failed bank, BCCI.
  • 1992 In Nepal HBL acquired 20% of Himalayan Bank.
  • 1995 HBL established a representative office in Cairo.
  • 1990s HBL established Habib Finance (Australia), and Habib Finance International Limited, Hong Kong.
  • 2016 HBL opened a branch in China at Ürümqi High-tech Industrial Development Zone.
Map depicting worldwide operations of HBL Pakistan. Highlighted countries have branches, subsidiaries and/or representative offices of the bank. Pakistan is highlighted in dark green for reference.

DFS Investigation

In September 2017, HBL agreed to pay a fine of $225 million in an out of court settlement with the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) against 53 separate violations allegedly committed between 2007 and 2017.[16][17]

Following which the shares of HBL surged 5 percent, to ₨.160.58 per share, amid investor relief that the fine was not larger than $225 million.[18] The penalty, however, is the largest ever imposed upon a Pakistani financial institution. HBL had already agreed to surrender its licence to operate a branch in New York that has been operational since 1978.[16]

The DFS had earlier sought up to $630m in penalties from HBL for failing to comply with state and federal laws at its only U.S. branch.[19] According to The Nation, compliance issues dated back to 2015 when the DFS told Karachi-listed Habib Bank (HBL) to institute a series of reforms pertaining to the bank's policies for preventing illicit money transfers. In a December 2015 statement, the DFS stated it identified issues in the bank's anti-money laundering compliance.[20]

Habib also allegedly cleared transactions to a cybercriminal wanted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and a Chinese weapons manufacturer that was subject to US sanctions. Since Habib's New York operations were used to clear dollar denominated transactions, the bank is required to follow US “know your customer” rules and sanctions law.[21]

See also


  1. ^ "HABIB BANK LIMITED". Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b "About us – House of Habib".
  3. ^ a b c d "HBL Annual Report 2017" (PDF). Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Pakistan raises record $1.02 billion in Habib Bank share sale". Bloomberg L.P. 11 April 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  5. ^ "History". Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  6. ^ "Habib Bank on the Forbes Global 2000 List". Forbes. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  7. ^ "The World's Biggest Public Companies". Forbes. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Summary of Project Information, Habib Bank Ltd". Summary of Project Information, Habib Bank Ltd – International Finance Corporation. 1 December 2006. Retrieved 5 December 2007.
  9. ^ History Archived 8 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine HBL Retrieved 27 December 2011
  10. ^ "History". HBL. 5 December 2007. Archived from the original on 15 December 2007. Retrieved 5 December 2007.
  11. ^ Nauman, Qasim (12 April 2015). "Pakistan gets $1.02 billion for Habib Bank stake". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  12. ^ Rana, Shahbaz (12 April 2015). "Privatisation proceeds: Final approval granted to $1b HBL stock offering". Express Tribune. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  13. ^ "HBL to open branch in China". Express Tribune. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  14. ^ Obituary notice in Neue Zürcher Zeitung 108/2011.
  15. ^ HABIB BANK LTD. v. HABIB BANK A.G. ZURICH - 1980/82 HABIB BANK LTD. v. HABIB BANK A.G. ZURICH - Passing Off - Risk of confusion - Use of family name - Banks incorporated by well known banking family - Banks in Pakistan and Switzerland closely associated with substantial business - Nationalisation of banks in Pakistan - Whether Swiss bank passing off in carrying on independent trading - Whether good - will and reputation exclusive - Whether nationalised banks' claim barred by acquiescence, laches and estoppel
  16. ^ a b "HBL agrees to pay $225m fine". Dawn. 8 September 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  17. ^ McLannahan, Ben (8 September 2017). "New York regulator kicks Pakistan's Habib Bank out of US". Financial Times. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  18. ^ Price, Michelle (7 September 2017). "Pakistan's Habib Bank to pay $225 million New York fine for compliance failures". Reuters. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  19. ^ "NY DFS Fines Pakistani Habib Bank $630M |". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  20. ^ "HBL says New York regulator seeks to fine it up to $630m". The Nation (Pakistan). Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  21. ^ "New York regulator seeks $630m penalty from Habib Bank". Financial Times. Retrieved 29 August 2017.

External links

28 September 2019