Habib Bank Limited (HBL) has been granted the status of membership bank, during the 14th council meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization Interbank Association (SCO-IBA), was held between 4th to 7th June, 2018 in Beijing, China.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, and security organisation, the creation of which was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. It is the largest regional establishment in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population, and is one of the world’s most powerful organizations.
Pakistan officially became a member state of SCO on the 17th Meeting of Heads of State Council of SCO in Astana on June 9, 2017.
HBL became a partner bank under SCO IBA on August 8, 2014, and has now been elevated as a member bank with the consent of other member banks present at current SCO IBA council meeting. It is a great honor and achievement for HBL to represent Pakistan on the SCO banking forum, and to be the first and only commercial bank in this forum. With its elevation in status as member bank, HBL is positioned to play an integral role in promotion of regional trade, investment and finance.
Amongst many firsts, HBL was the first bank from Pakistan to receive a license for setting up a branch in China. It was also the first South Asian bank to receive permission to set up its banking operations in Urumqi, the largest city in the province of Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan along the traditional Silk Route. HBL’s Urumqi Branch is now fully functional and the bank is in the advanced stage of consultation with Chinese banking regulator to commence its 2nd branch in Beijing.
Moreover, HBL also opened its branch in the Gwadar Free Zone in 2018, making it the first bank to have a branch in Gwadar Free Zone as well as China. HBL was also the first Pakistani bank to offer CNY accounts to its customers in Pakistan.