HBL Becomes The First Pakistani Bank to Start RMB Business in China

HBL made history by becoming the first and only bank from Pakistan and one of three banks from South Asia and the MENA region to offer end-to-end RMB intermediation. HBL’s Urumqi Branch formally commenced the RMB business last week after obtaining all regulatory approvals.

With the commencement of RMB clearing, HBL Urumqi Branch will provide clearing to HBL branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates. HBL is now positioned to take a leading role in the regional RMB trade, remittance and investment flows. This capacity will further strengthen HBL’s leadership in Pakistan with respect to their Chinese business.

HBL Urumqi Branch is the only foreign bank branch in Xinjiang province. HBL has also applied to Chinese regulators to upgrade its Beijing representative office to a branch. The license will be received in the next 2-3 months after approvals.

In early November 2019, a delegation from the bank led by Mr. Sultan Ali Allana, Chairman HBL and Mr. Muhammad Aurangzeb, President & CEO HBL, formally commenced the Urumqi Branch’s RMB operations. Also, present on the occasion were members of the HBL’s board of directors and senior executives of the Bank.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Allana said:

I am very proud that we are here today. The commencement of the RMB business is a stepping stone and we are very hopeful that in the coming years HBL will have more presence in China. We have also made an application for a branch in Beijing. We want to be a progressive bank, we want to do what is right for the institution, and for the country. For us that is paramount. We want to be an integral part of the Chinese economy and the country. There shall be no compromises on compliance, under any circumstances. We will do everything that is right. I am very hopeful that in the coming years this branch, this foundation can give us the springboard to becoming a bank of relevance in China in the coming decades.

Commenting on this historic first for a Pakistani bank, Mr. Aurangzeb said:

We are doubling up our business in China and it will soon become a second home market for HBL. For our branch in Urumqi, we got the RMB license in the shortest possible time so we are very grateful to the regulators in China. Currently, our focus is to work in developing the RMB intermediation at our Urumqi branch which has gone live and the establishment of the Beijing Branch. The Chinese regulators are very supportive of developing market-based capabilities and encouraging financial institutions to provide clients best-of-breed leading-edge products and services while managing systems risks well. We will continue to monitor the opportunities to expand our footprint in China over time.

  • Congratulations indeed! Good to note that China will soon become the second home market for HBL. I hope they do not manage the RMB business like their USD clearing business in their hapless branch in NY. I also hope they have appointed, as the Head for HBL-China, somebody who values the stature of Compliance (and Ethics) rather than making Urumqi (and Beijing — soon to be a branch) sweat shops for all kinds of business — good and bad! The person, under whose apex watch, it all happened in NY can still be seen in the picture above.

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