2018 was a challenging year for a majority of banks due to stiff competition, operational and regulatory issues but few banks outperformed the rest despite all such issues, maintaining growth in profits while expanding the business at the same time.
The operational strategies of banks reflected upon their balance sheets and their bottom lines, which showed the performance of the banks and their position in the overall industry.
As the financial results of 2018 were announced in recent weeks, it was revealed that banks’ position has been changed dramatically with regards to their profits in the overall banking industry.
Here are the top ten profitable banks of Pakistan.
- MCB Bank
MCB Bank was the most profitable bank in 2018. The bank secured its first position replacing United Bank Limited at the top.
The bank posted a profit of Rs. 21.36 billion in 2018, which is 4.8 percent less than the profit of 2017 though this figure remained the highest in the banking industry.
- National Bank of Pakistan
National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) maintained its second position in the banking industry in terms of profitability.
NBP recorded a profit of Rs. 20 billion in 2018 against Rs. 22.3 billion in 2017. The bank’s profitability was affected by the huge loan-losses in the outgoing year undermining the bottom line of the bank at the same time.
On the other hand, NBP registered a couple of records in the same year. It has become the first bank to cross the mark of Rs. 2 trillion in deposits. It also earned the highest revenue of Rs. 96.9 billion— highest ever number in the seven decades of its operational history.
- United Bank Limited
United Bank of Limited (UBL) failed to retain its crown position in the banking industry in 2018. It fell from the top position to number three in terms of profits in the banking industry.
UBL recorded a profit of Rs. 15 billion in 2018 as against of Rs. 25 billion in 2017, showing a huge loss of Rs. 10 billion in its profitability which also impacted the industry. The steep decline in profits was due to the impact of non-performing loans including the operational loss suffered by the bank due to the closure of its New York branch.
In 2016, UBL posted the highest ever profit of Rs. 27.7 billion and remained at number 2 after HBL. The bank’s profit declined substantially in the past three years.
- Allied Bank Limited
Allied Bank Limited not only maintained its position at No. 4 in the banking industry but it also recorded a slight growth in its profitability in 2018. The bank recorded a profit of Rs. 13 billion in 2018 with a less than one percent growth compared to 2017.
The bank seemingly has strengthened its footing in the banking sector to grow its operations and profit in 2019 to show its sustainability in business, operations, and profitability.
- Habib Bank Limited
Habib Bank Limited, once the leading profitable bank of Pakistan, is now standing at No. 5 in the banking industry. The bank reported a profit of Rs. 12.4 billion in 2018 with a healthy growth of 41 percent compared to 2017.
Under the new leadership, the bank is aggressively working to regain its previous leading position in the banking industry. 2018’s profit is not even half of the profit it made in 2016 (Rs. 34 billion—the highest ever in the history of banking industry).
- Standard Chartered Bank
Standard Chartered Bank managed the sixth position in terms of profitability in 2018.The bank made its highest ever profit of Rs. 11.2 billion in 2018.
In 2017, the bank stood at No. 8 with a profit of Rs. 8.24 billion. Its competitors such as Bank Alfalah and Bank Al Habib stood ahead of this bank in terms of profit.
However, the business and operational strategy of the bank worked well with positive outcomes and it regained outstanding profitability in 2018.
- Bank Alfalah Limited
Bank Alfalah Limited maintained its profitability in 2018 as well. The bank stands at No. 7. It recorded over Rs. 10 billion in profit in 2018 as against Rs. 8.61 billion profit reported in 2017. This is also the highest ever profit of the bank since it has been operating in Pakistan.
- Meezan Bank
Meezan Bank stands at No. 8 with a profit of Rs. 8.96 billion, which is also the highest ever profit of the bank.
The bank showed impressive growth in this year with 42 percent growth over 2017. Its position improved because of an increase of Rs.2.64 billon in profit in 2018. The bank left behind Bank Al Habib which stood ahead of the Islamic bank last year.
- Bank Al Habib Limited
Bank Al Habib dropped from eight to nine in 2018. The bank’s profit declined by 1.4 percent in 2018 to stand at Rs. 8.41 billion, which was the first time the bank showed a profit with negative growth.
The bank recorded its highest ever profit of Rs. 8.5 billion in 2017. In 2018, it was replaced by Meezan Bank at No. 9 position.
- Bank of Punjab
Bank of Punjab (BoP) has come to No. 10 from nowhere. The bank posted a profit of Rs. 7.6 billion in 2018 thanks to the support of tax rebates and reversal of provision. The bank was a surprise addition as it showed a loss of Rs. 3.3 billion in 2017 but it gradually converted its losses into profitability in each quarter of the outgoing year. Of course, the government support as the owner was pivotal to help out the bank from its financial crisis.
Banks’ Performance in 2019
Out of 10, six banks reported profit growth whereas the remaining four banks saw negative growth in their profitability due to specific reasons, which portrays that the overall banking sector is now moving towards profit growth.
The policy rate surged by 4.25 percent in 2018 which was further increased by 0.75 percent to settle at 10.75 percent. The increase in policy rate will push the interest rates of the banks and their interest income accordingly last year, bank advances reached an all-time high of more than Rs. 1 trillion.
The competition among these banks will intensify in the coming months but the business performance and strategy of the individual banks will determine its ranking of 2019 with close margins.
These ranking were based on profit values. There are also other benchmarks which drive the position of the banks including their asset values, paid-up capital, and network penetration.