Mashreq, a renowned financial institution based in the MENA region, has successfully ventured into Pakistan, marking a significant leap in its strategic expansion. This move not only underscores Mashreq’s dedication to promoting digitization and financial inclusivity in rapidly growing markets but also displays a commitment to harnessing local talent and knowledge.
- Introduction of digital banking operations in Pakistan.
- Creation of a Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Pakistan to deliver an array of innovative products.
- Strengthening ties with a high-level delegation visit, including senior members of the executive committee and independent board members Syed Naseer Hassan and Rashid Khan.
Fernando Morillo’s Vision
Fernando Morillo, Group Head of Retail Banking at Mashreq, shared his insights on the bank’s expansion into Pakistan. He emphasized the bank’s enthusiasm for seizing opportunities to collaborate with local stakeholders, thereby contributing to a robust digital ecosystem set to revolutionize Pakistan’s financial landscape. “The bank’s tech-ready infrastructure, combined with its digital foundation, will be pivotal in enhancing customer experiences and supporting Pakistan’s aspiration of a financially inclusive, digitally-driven economy,” Morillo noted.
Mashreq’s robust financial results for the first half of 2023 further strengthen its position. With a remarkable 150% surge in net profit, reaching an operating profit of AED 3.7 billion, and a growth of 11.4% in customer deposits, the bank’s financial health is evident. Ahmed Abdelaal, group chief executive officer of Mashreq, attributed this success to the bank’s strategic initiatives, including its international expansion and the launch of digital banking operations in Pakistan.
- 88% YoY increase in operating profit.
- The cost-to-income ratio was reduced to 28.3%.
- A commitment to sustainability is showcased by their LEED Zero Energy certified headquarters and inclusion in the World Green Building Council program.
Bank’s Historic Journey
Originally established as the Bank of Oman in 1967, Mashreq stands as the oldest privately-owned bank in the UAE. The bank, boasting a rich legacy, is majority owned by the affluent Ghurair family. With its digital bank offerings, Mashreq has carved a niche for itself as the “Best Digital Bank” in the Middle East, providing tailored solutions for startups and SMEs.
- Mashreq operates in 13 countries with 16 global offices, including prestigious branches in New York, London, and Hong Kong.
- Offers diverse services ranging from corporate banking in countries like Bahrain, Qatar, and India, to retail banking in Egypt and foreign exchange expertise in regions like Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal.
State Bank of Pakistan’s Endorsement
Mashreq’s expansion comes on the heels of receiving a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), allowing it to establish digital banking in the country. The central bank, in its commitment to promote financial inclusion and improve access to credit, had initiated a rigorous evaluation process. Out of 20 applicants, only five digital banks, including Mashreq, met the stringent criteria set by SBP and were granted NOCs.
SBP’s Digital Banking Goals:
- Foster financial inclusion.
- Enhance access to credit for underserved segments.
- Propel new financial technologies and innovation.
- Curate unique customer experiences and foster the digital ecosystem.
In summary, Mashreq’s successful foray into Pakistan embodies its forward-thinking approach and commitment to digital innovation. With its focus on fostering growth, financial development, and leveraging its tech-ready infrastructure, the bank is poised to play a pivotal role in the country’s financial evolution.