The National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) shut down three foreign branches in different countries namely Bangladesh (Sylhet), Afghanistan (Jalalabad), and Uzbekistan (Tashkent) in recent months, according to officials.
The closure of foreign branches is being done under the bank management’s plan to overcome losses from these markets due to multiple operational challenges in the host countries.
The bank’s management planned to scale down its foreign operations last year which included several branches and subsidiaries for up to 14 entities. The bank reviewed its plan and focused on seven markets for winding up operations in the first phase whereas the rest of the closures will be decided later.
The bank is working to shut down one more branch in Turkmenistan (Ashgabat) and two subsidiaries in Tajikistan (Dushanbe), and Kazakhstan (Almaty). The licenses of these outlets have been canceled by the banking regulators of the host countries and the closure of branches is underway these days.
The earnings from the branches and subsidiaries have been falling gradually over the last few years. Some of the branches are also making losses with very low chances to recover.
In February 2022, the public sector bank faced a heavy penalty of $55.4 million or Rs. 9.8 billion from the US authorities over non-compliance with regulations of anti-money laundering. The branch has not been closed yet but a speedy compliance program had been kicked off by the management as remedial measures under the oversight of the board of the bank.
Pakistan’s footprint in the global banking industry has gradually reduced in the last five years as branches, subsidiaries and associate companies of local banks have been shut down rapidly mainly due to losses and non-compliance with regulations.
UNBL Reports Profit in the UK Market
Not entirely all foreign operations are challenging for the bank. The joint-venture entity of NBP and UBL called UNBL is making money, earning over Rs. 100 million in the first quarter of 2022.
United National Bank Ltd UNBL was formed in 2001 as a Joint Venture between NBP and UBL through a merger of the UK branches of United Bank Limited and National Bank of Pakistan, which had been operating in the UK since the mid-1960s. The principal activities of UNBL are to provide retail banking products through its branch network and agents in major cities in the UK, wholesale banking, treasury, and money transmission services to financial institutions, and trade finance facilities to businesses of all sizes.
(UNBL) is a banking institution that was incorporated in the United Kingdom. It has six branches located in Central London, Ilford, Bradford, Birmingham, Manchester, and Glasgow.