Asia's best bank transformation 2020: Habib Bank
Awards for Excellence 2020
Since joining Habib Bank in early 2018 as president and chief executive, former JPMorgan banker Muhammad Aurangzeb has transformed the Pakistan-based lender from the ground up.
This wasn’t a simple task. The bank’s home country spends most of its time dancing on the lip of an economic volcano. Last year, facing another balance of payments crisis, the government entered its 22nd IMF bailout programme.
Yet Habib Bank sails serenely on, a model of health compared with the sovereign’s straitened circumstances. Under Aurangzeb it has become the go-to lender for Chinese state firms and banks deeply invested in the infrastructure projects along the length of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
You can tell when Beijing trusts a foreign financial institution. In December 2019 China’s banking regulator, the CBIRC, handed Habib’s Beijing branch a full operating licence.
It is the only Pakistani bank with an onshore renminbi settlement capability; and Chinese state-owned enterprises keen to buy assets in the likes of the Maldives, Bangladesh and the Middle East often tap it for funding and advice.