National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), the largest public sector bank in the country, recently launched a campaign specifically designed to create awareness about the ills of money transfer through illegal channels to Pakistan. This campaign was initiated by the launch of a short docudrama targeted towards Pakistani diaspora residing especially in UAE, Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries. NBP believes that this mode will prove to be an important medium to educate the masses about the advantages of sending remittances back home through legal banking channels, such as National Bank of Pakistan’s “Foree Remittances”.
This launch was well attended by a number of top officials. Jameel Ahmed, the Deputy Governor State Bank of Pakistan was the Guest of Honor and the event was presided over by Saeed Ahmad, the President & CEO National Bank of Pakistan. Other SBP executive who attended the event included Syed Samar Hasnain, Executive Director Development Finance Group, Mr. Abid Qamar, Director/Chief Spokesperson, Mr. Moinuddin, Head Pakistan Remittance Initiative and Mr. Arshad Sattar, Manager Services & Quality, Pakistan Remittance Initiative. The top management from NBP included the SEVPs, Group Chiefs and Divisional Heads including, Mr. Mudassir H. Khan, Mr. Aamir Sattar, Ms. Sultana Naheed, Mr. Tariq Jamali, Mr. S.H. Irtiza Kazmi, Mr. Risha A. Mohyeddin, Mr. Jamal Baqar, Mr. Shahid Iqbal Dar, Mr. Zahid M. Chaudhry and Mr. Shahid Saeed.
Deputy Governor State Bank of Pakistan Mr. Jameel Ahmad said that “Workers remittances are a life line for our external account balance.” It is indeed heartening to note that focused efforts of all stakeholders resulted in an increase in home remittances by 13.2% during the first two months of FY 18 after a fall of 3.1% in FY17. There is a need to maintain this momentum and positive growth trajectory in coming months,” he said.
He was addressing the audience at the launch of a short docudrama targeted towards Pakistani diaspora residing especially in UAE, Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries.
Mr. Jameel Ahmad went on to add that our banks need to focus not only on the traditional corridors of remittances but also to explore untapped non-traditional corridors. “They should also improve their service levels in general and for remittance recipients in particular. Similarly, introduction of innovative remittance products is required to attract new customers. Further, enhancement of infrastructure and systems and capacity building of human resources should be on-going tasks to improve efficiency,” he added.
He said that banks have to undertake effective and aggressive marketing campaigns within country and abroad. “I would encourage banks to use all mediums for marketing including print, electronic and social media”.
Mr. Jameel Ahmad appreciated the initiative taken by NBP and thanked the management of NBP for advancing a national cause. Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Saeed Ahmad, President & CEO NBP, said: “The biggest challenge facing the overall remittance business of Pakistan is the use of illegal system of Hawala / Hundi. This is used by a large number of overseas Pakistanis due to lack of proper information. This affects the country gravely. If all remittances come via banking channels, our forex reserves will increase resulting better financial stability and improved standing of Pakistan in the International market.” He emphasized the need for documentation and cited reference of Surah-e-Baqra verse 282, where the importance of documenting contracts has been emphasized. He clarified that the use of Hundi/Hawala is also not desirable even from religious point of view.
He further added “This docu-drama launch (Hundi ko lagao kundi) is not just about increasing the Remittance business of National Bank of Pakistan but the motive is much greater. The idea is whatever money is coming into the country is routed through legal channels so Pakistan as a country can fully benefit. Hundi / Hawala is illegal but mainly popular due to the perceived convenience it offers to the customers. Banks need to service the customers with an exceptional efficiency to compete, match and even surpass parallel services. The Banking industry need to enhance use of digital/branchless services. People need to be made aware and educated to use legal channels to transmit and receive money thru formal banking channels.”
“National Bank of Pakistan, has embarked upon developing services by using latest technology and for this purpose, a new Group by the name of “Payment Services and Digital Banking” has be established.”
NBP also ran a promotional campaign recently with Xpress Money. During this campaign, over a hundred customers were awarded prizes worth hundreds of thousands of rupees for sending their remittances from Xpress Money from around the world and collecting them from any of the NBP’s 1450 + branches. A lucky winner from the promotional campaign with Xpress Money was also invited at the ceremony to collect his winning prize of Rs.250, 000/- from the NBP CEO & President and Deputy Governor SBP.
On this occasion, Syed Irtiza Kazmi also described NBP's involvement in the remittance business expressed determination to put greater emphasis to this segment.