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  • Oct Dec 2008

    NEWS VIEWS COMMENTS ANALYSIS

    OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF UNITED BANK LIMITED

    UBL & PSO launchPakistans first Auto Credit Card

  • Presidents Message

    02 October - December 2008

    Editorial NoteThis issue of Dialogue for the last quarter of 2008comes at an auspicious time at the start of UBLsGolden Jubilee Year. Although the anniversaryof the banks commencement of business falls onthe 7th of November 2009, the occasion is beingused to build a more positive bonding withcustomers by raising the bar and providing thembetter service in these troubled times.

    During 2008, although Pakistan was spared thebrunt of the economic disaster that struck mostdeveloped markets, we had our own array ofindigenous problems to deal with; that emanatedfrom unremitting political and economicuncertainty during a large part of the year.Banking went into a phase of consolidation almostby default, as the euphoria of Consumer Bankingthat had prevailed over the last 5 years had to bereined in. Overall business activity slowed downas inflation and currency devaluation, amongother issues, took their toll.

    UBLs Golden Jubilee Year will see a series ofthematic activities at the bank. Some are outlinedin our lead article on the subject. A bank-widesurvey reflects the sentiments of a cross-sectionof our people as they prepare for the occasion.

    The launch of Pakistans first auto credit card,co-branded as UBL-PSO Auto Credit Card is ahighlight of the issue. The Retail Banks NationalSales Conference held at the Marriott in Karachi,to honour the high-achievers of 2008, and settargets for the new year is also covered.

    Progress on the on-going branch brandingcampaign with special focus on branding of ABEP(Annual Branch Expansion Plan) branches is alsofeatured.

    An article on Business Continuity Planningunderscores the growing importance of thediscipline at UBL and makes for good reading.

    The spate of activities and initiatives taken by theHuman Resource Division including inductionof RBOs and Training & OD activities are alsocovered, along with a Management Traineesperspective on getting down to business at UBL.

    Contribution from our Middle East office onInternational Division activities reflects the banksgrowing presence as well as prominence beyondthe boundaries of Pakistan. UBLs participationin the UAE National Day celebration at the UAEEmbassy in Islamabad, also reported, is anaffirmation of our long-standing ties with theEmirates. Read on...!

    Atif R. BokhariPresident & Chief Executive Officer

    I would like to start off by congratulating everyone at UBL at thecommencement of our Golden Jubilee Year 2009.

    Fifty years is a major milestone in the life of any organization. But forus at UBL it has a special significance. Labeled as the progressive bankearly in life, UBL has lived up to its reputation by introducing innovativeproducts and setting new trends in banking over the years.

    Since our return to private ownership in 2002, we have not only continuedto revitalize banking in Pakistan but also repositioned ourselves inPakistan and in markets overseas. With 17 branches, subsidiary companies

    and representative offices in 10 countries today, our international business contributes nearly20% to our revenues and profits.

    Year 2008 has been a very trying time for most businesses including ours. Globally, we witnesseda meltdown of the financial system, with some of the most revered institutions taking hits on anunprecedented scale. Fortunately, Pakistan was spared the brunt of the global financial crisis butuncertain economic and political conditions within the country took their toll.

    Given such circumstances, the banking industry was fortunate to have held its own in 2008.UBLs third quarter consolidated profit before tax of Rs.14 billion, 23% higher than the sameperiod last year, reflected the institutions inherent strength, but the year end picture is unlikelyto remain so robust. Yet, we have delivered on several qualitative targets set for the year.

    During the year, we implemented our new Retail Banking model, brought about by the mergerof Consumer and Commercial banking. Good progress was made in restructuring the branchnetwork and rolling out the Proxima (BPR) program. 100% of our branches were automatedand the implementation of a new technology platform started in a phased manner.

    The Corporate Banking Group managed to grow selectively and at the same time rationalize itsasset portfolio in line with the banks overall industry concentration strategy. Year 2008 witnessedgrowth primarily in the power and fertilizer sectors. Our leading market position in the CashManagement area was maintained, servicing the sector with new, more innovative andtechnologically supportive solutions for both collections and payments.

    The Investment Banking Group had a very successful year in 2008 with transactions worthPKR.189 billion closed, while increasing share of non-book based earnings. Real growth waswitnessed in the areas of debt capital markets and syndication transactions including syndicateddeals, privately placed and listed TFC's, sukuks and cross-border transactions. In addition, IBGalso established a Middle-East Desk in 2008 to facilitate the banks geographical diversificationin the region in years to come.

    The year 2009 however will bring daunting new challenges. We would therefore have to remainfully focused on our targets, manage expectations, continue to raise our work standards, growdeposits, maintain a strong vigil on non-performing loans, control all wasteful expenditure,improve asset quality in short, do whatever it takes to achieve an exemplary performancedespite the difficult circumstances.

    I am confident, that we will overcome most obstacles, and prove to the world that thetraditions of success established at UBL, shall be upheld in our Golden Jubilee Year.

    The Dialogue Editorial Team

    Contents

  • On December 26, 2008 a memo went outfrom the office of the President & CEO Mr.Atif R. Bokhari, announcing UBLs GoldenJubilee Celebration and felicitating theemployees and staff of the bank. As thememo clearly spelled out, November 7, 2009would precisely mark the fiftieth anniversaryof the opening of UBLs first branch.However, it was considered prudent todeclare the whole of 2009 as UBLs GoldenJubilee Year. At a time when the overallbusiness and economic environment isfraught with pessimism the announcementcame like a much needed breath of fresh air.

    As most customers and other people onemeets outside the bank too readily accept,UBL has had a very unique and eventfuljourney over the last nearly fifty years. Fromits earliest days it was seen as a bank thatwas more upbeat, forward looking and alsoquite happy to go against the grain oftraditional banking in the country. Thecatalogue of UBLs firsts is not onlyimpressive it is almost legendary. It istherefore hardly a matter of surprise thatthe bank has been epitomized as theprogressive bank.

    If one were to look back and analyze the lastfifty years of the banks life, one could easilysee three distinct phases. Between 1959 and1973, which constitutes the first phase, thebank rose to become the second largestprivate bank in the country with a numberof overseas branches as well. During thesecond phase that lasted nearly 28 years,the bank was nationalized along with otherbanks in the country. However, there wasstill a certain amount of friendliness andcare that customers experienced at UBL.

    In the third phase starting from 2002, UBLwas privatized by the Government ofPakistan in an open auction. A consortiumof investors the Abu Dhabi Group of UAEand the UK-based Bestway Group acquiredmajority ownership and management controlof the bank. A new management team wasinducted and given the mandate tosignificantly restructure the Bank and setthe direction for its new positioning in the

    minds of customers and other stakeholders.Since privatization the Bank has grown fromstrength to strength. Management has placedspecial emphasis on investing in people,processes and technology and leveraging itto achieve even higher standards of serviceexcellence and stronger customerorientation. That is why UBL today has aspecial place amongst Pakistans largestprivate banks and an expanding regionaland global presence. The Bank has alsoearned the enviable reputation of being aninnovator and a trend-setter within thebanking and services sector.

    A series of celebratory events are plannedfor the Golden Jubilee Year 2009. Somewould be directed at UBL customers andother external stakeholders, while othersespecially focused on the Banks employees.Custom-designed, competitiveevents will generate healthycompetition, a stronger senseo f b e l o n g i n g a n d a naugmented spirit of serviceamong the employees andstaff. This will ultimatelybenefit customers who wouldenjoy better service in a moreconducive environment.

    Several other events areplanned including customernetworking events that willbecome more pronounced aswe approach other milestoness u c h a s t h e d a t e o fincorporation or the day weopened the doors of our firstbranch for customers. Apartfrom the three c lusterheadquarters in Pakistan andthe Head Office, our offices inDubai , UAE and otherlocations will also use theopportunity for networkingand earning greater goodwillfor the Bank beyond ournational boundaries.

    It is hoped that UBLs GoldenJubilee Celebrations, though

    modest and mindful of the difficult economicenvironment in the country and indeed theworld, will keep the spirits of our employeeshigh. We are confident that every UBLemployee will play their part in making theGolden Jubilee year an outstanding one forthe Bank as a fitting tribute to the generationsof men and women who have labored overfive decades t