LONDON, March 9 (APP)- Chairman, Habib Bank,United Kingdom, Mr.Zakir Mahmood is optimistic about the future growth of his organisation despite adverse financial times.
In an exclusive interview with APP’s correspondent on the occasion of opening of bank’s new branch at Edgware Road, Central London, here last evening, he spoke of the difficult times for the banking sector in the UK and said the global economy has been soft and the prospects are still mixed.
“But we have been fortunate and because of our defiant strategy we have been growing. We are aiming to continue that growth and will do that through both traditional channels which is opening more branches where we see there is a need as well as supplementing that with alternate delivery channels such as internet banking, expanding our ATM network and also some point in time we will look at mobile banking.”
Asked whether the bank was facing a stiff competition in the UK from other Pakistan origin banks, he said they face challenge from every bank in the UK because this is a very well banked market.
“We have the giants of international banks present here as well as large local establishments,” the HBL President said.
However, according to Mr.Mahmood, HBL, now owned by the Aga Khan Foundation, is focussing on particular need and personalised services.
Even though the competition is strong, he explained, the bank has its own strength and is seeking to build on that strength.
“As we expand our business, we have to expand product base also in response to what our customers need. At this point in time what we feel is that trade finance is our strength.”
He also spoke of remittances from the UK to Pakistan and said HBL is working to fully facilitated these remittances and one of the area is internet banking.
Responding to a question, Mr.Mahmood who is also President,HBL Pakistan, said Islamic Finance is a growing business globally and coming up very well in the UK and HBL will look at it at appropriate time .
He mentioned that HBL has been in the UK since 1963 and converted to a subsidiary over here about seven years ago.
“Since then the bank has made steady progress and in the recent years, its progress had been very good. We have a full service bank in this country and it provides a full array of banking services.”
With six branches already established in the UK, Mr.Mahmood is hopeful of further expansion for which he says the bank is indebted to the confidence and belief reposed in it by a large clientele from South Asia, Middle East and Africa.