Pakistan Banking Boom Continues Despite Events
Recent events have not dampened Pakistan’s continued banking and financial sector expansion. The latest development follows a spate of purchases by overseas banks looking to expand in Pakistan. In the latest deal, Saudi Pak Commercial Bank (SPCB) is due to be bought in a $200m deal. Standard Chartered in 2006 became the first international bank to enter the country since the sector went through the 1997 reforms, paying $487m for Union Bank. In December 2006 a subsidiary of Singapore’s state-owned Temasek Holdings said it would buy a controlling stake in Pakistan Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation Bank. Today, of those banks, only one – National Bank of Pakistan – remains in the public sector. The other two, Habib Bank and United Bank, have been privatised. Then, in March last year, ABN Amro – the Dutch bank that has since been bought by a consortium of Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Fortis – followed suit, buying the privately owned Prime Bank for $225m in a move that has made ABN a household name in urban Pakistan.