Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited is a subsidiary of Standard Chartered Plc., which is incorporated in England. Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited is Pakistan's oldest and largest foreign commercial bank. The history of Standard Chartered in Pakistan dates back to 1863, when the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China first established its operations in Karachi. Until 2000, SCB had only seven branches in three cities across Pakistan when acquired Grindlays Bank from ANZ Bank, increasing its presence in private banking and further expanding its operations in India and Pakistan.
It was during 2006 that the bank underwent major transformation. Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited (SCBPL) was incorporated in Pakistan on July 19, 2006 and it became the first international bank, incorporated in Pakistan. Standard Chartered acquired controlling stake (95.37%) in one of the best private banks in Pakistan called the Union Bank, through a transaction of US $487 million. Union Bank Ltd was the 8th largest bank in Pakistan in terms of market share of assets and had an extensive customer base with 400,000 retail and SME banking customers. However, it had a small but growing wholesale banking business. Now SCBPL's business activities constitute consumer banking, corporate and institutional banking (wholesale banking) and global markets.
The acquisition of Union Bank helped SCBPL to grow at a faster and much promising rate. The bank has invested heavily in its brand and franchise positioning. SCBPL opened 36 new branches during HY08 and by 2008 the bank's branch network has grown to 175 branches in 41 cities. SCBPL has come up with innovative products and services and its main strength lies in the consumer banking and SME business. Asian Banker magazine awarded SCBPL with 'The Best Retail Bank in Pakistan 2007.' Standard Chartered strengthened its wholesale banking business by offering value added products to its customers and penetrating into new customer segments. This acquisition made Standard Chartered the 6th largest bank in Pakistan in terms of market share of assets. As at December 2008 the bank's asset base stood at Rs 264.617 billion. According to PACRA, SCBPL's long-term and short-term ratings are "AAA" (Triple A) and "A1+", showing that the bank has the low credit risk and a strong ability to meets its financial commitments.
Pakistan's private banks seem to have made deeper inroads in the saving habits of people as the promising working results published by half for them for last year allayed fears about their commercial viability in a tight liquidity market and a low savings rate. The entire banking sector experienced depressed profitability. During 1Q09 (January-March 2009), the deposits of the banking sector grew by 2%. Total deposits of the Sector reached Rs 3.9 trillion by the end of 1Q09, depicting a growth of 2% from Rs 3.8 trillion at the end of CY08. Banking sector witnessed a 3% contraction in the deposit base during October 2008, owing to a liquidity crunch in the market, but since then the deposit growth has slowly picked up. The banks offered high returns to attract customer deposits and 6% rise in NFA helped the banks to widen their deposit base. While the ongoing year will likely be challenging (in that the absolute quantum of systemic provisions may remain flat (YoY) the overall macroeconomic environment is set to be more upbeat over the next 2-3 years. Despite of the economic crunch Standard Chartered has reported profit in the year 2009 with the indication of expanding its branch network further both in Conventional and Islamic Banking.