Habib Bank Limited will wrap up its operations in Afghanistan this year.
The central bank of Afghanistan, Da Afghanistan Bank, ordered the management of HBL to stop receiving deposits from its customers. Customers are instructed to withdraw their funds from their bank accounts by June 10 of this year.
The bank has been operating its branch in Kabul since 2004. It acquired a business license from the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency in April 2004, which is valid till July 30, 2020, according to the information available on HBL’s website.
The bank’s spokesman said that HBL is winding down operations in Afghanistan, reflecting its priorities to focus on select markets, which meet the clients’ requirements.
According to the reports, HBL will be rightsizing their operations in some markets, as HBL has already done in Seychelles, France and now in Afghanistan. The bank is already the largest executor of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor- (CPEC) related financing in Pakistan.
“To compete effectively, HBL will drive greater efficiencies within its global footprint,” the spokesman said.
This drive will be achieved on the back of redeploying HBL’s valuable resources. This will create further capacity for accelerated investment in geographies that support HBL’s customers’ and clients’ strategic priorities.
HBL said the bank completed a strategic review of its global footprint, which it continues to consolidate.
“In the aftermath of the accelerated de-dollarisation and de-risking carried out in late 2017 and early 2018, this has been a year of rebuilding for the international network, with a new strategy for the overall network focused on business/trade corridor connectivity with Pakistan,” the bank said in its annual report for 2018.
As the largest executor of CPEC-related financing in Pakistan, special emphasis has been placed on Pak-China business flows. USD clearing challenges faced in 2018 have been addressed through new arrangements, along with enhanced controls and resources for payment screening and correspondent query management,