Habib Bank Ltd (HBL) declared a consolidated profit before tax of Rs14.5 billion on Tuesday for the quarter ended March 31, 2021 — more than double that for the same period last year — according to a press release issued by the bank.
Profit after tax also recorded a growth of 108 per cent over the year-ago period to Rs8.6bn while earnings per share increased from Rs2.79 to Rs5.68, the bank said.
The statement added that the bank declared a dividend of Rs1.75 per share while its Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) rose to 13.9pc with total CAR rising to 17pc, helped by "strong profitability".
In the press release, Muhammad Aurangzeb, President and CEO of HBL, said on the bank's performance: "The bank’s growth momentum continues in the new year with all activity drivers showing an upward trajectory."
"The growth was broad-based across all business lines, with strong performance from the deposits, cards, trade and consumer finance businesses. The revenue growth was ably supported by a more stringent operating cost regime."
He pointed out that Q1 2021 also saw the opening of HBL’s Beijing branch in China and in line with HBL's "response to the challenge of the (Covid-19) pandemic", the bank arranged availability of Covid-19 vaccines for all of its staff working at its banks.
The press release noted that HBL had extended its "international footprint" and became the first Pakistani bank to open a branch in Beijing. "HBL Beijing has become HBL’s second branch and its managing branch in China; both branches in Beijing and Urumqi are equipped with foreign exchange and RMB license to better facilitate customers’ requirements in multiple currencies."
HBL's total deposit base closed at Rs2.8 trillion while "average domestic deposits increased by a multi-year high of nearly 20pc over Q1 2020, with average current accounts rising by more than Rs120bn", said the press release. "Consequently [...] net interest income rose to Rs32.5bn, a 16pc growth over Q1 2020."
"Consumer business continues to outperform in multiple aspects, with loans growing to nearly Rs85bn; total advances of the bank were maintained at [...] Rs1.2tr. Total non-fund income of the Bank has grown [...] to Rs8.2bn. Fees and commissions continued to accelerate [...] to Rs5.9bn.
The statement further said that HBL was working on enhancing the digital experience of its clients as digital transactions through mobile and internet banking channels grew from Rs95bn in the year-ago period to Rs212bn in Q1 2021.
HBL also launched a platform to consolidate onboarding and payment solutions for businesses, HBL Pay, and began an initiative for cognitive robotics "to complement the digital initiatives being undertaken for customer channels".
"Through the eBanc Roshan Digital Account (RDA), a special investment account created for overseas Pakistanis, since its launch over 21,000 Pakistanis from 130 countries have set up RDA accounts and remitted more than $130m in a short span of three months."
The bank said it supported the government's "vision of providing affordable housing units to underserved segments of society through Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority" and thus was the first bank in Pakistan "to enter a partnership with Akhuwat Foundation".