I joined Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan as the president and CEO in August 2010, after 35 years of diversified and international experience in the areas of general banking, foreign exchange, treasury, corporate and investment banking.
My career started as a trainee officer with Bank of Credit and Commerce International, Pakistan in 1977. Eventually I moved to Union National Bank in the UAE where I served as the head of corporate and investment banking. I then joined Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) in the UAE as the head of private banking in October 2003. Subsequently, I served for four years as the head of corporate and investment banking.
What does your role involve?
My role involves steering the bank towards a common unified goal and making decisions in the best interest of the bank’s stakeholders.
Being the world’s first Islamic bank, it is vital that we continue to pioneer offering the most comprehensive portfolio of state-of-the-art products in order to provide convenient and competitive Islamic banking facilities. It is my duty to oversee the development and implementation of each strategic decision and gear the organization towards its achievement.
Which of your products/services deliver the best results?
Our diversified product portfolio includes current and savings accounts, term deposits, foreign currency accounts, auto and home finance, Takaful savings plans and priority banking, all which are gaining popularity and exhibiting good results.
In consumer banking, DIBPL’s auto finance registered a volume of PKR2.9 billion (US$32 million) within nine months of its launch. Similarly, DIBPL’s home finance facility registered a volume of PKR2.6 billion (US$29 million) within the first year of its launch, recording the fastest growth rate in the entire industry.
What are the strengths of your business?
DIBPL has been a pioneer in offering the most comprehensive and innovative portfolio of state-of-the-art alternate distribution channels giving convenient and reliable banking access to customers. We have strived to make successful Islamic alternatives for all conventional products that serve the genuine needs of our customers.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
One of my treasured achievements was setting up a corporate banking platform under a centralized structure within the Union National Bank, UAE.
Furthermore, I assisted in setting up Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank, which opened its first branch in 2010. I also aided in the development of a phased strategy for Bosna Bank International, Bosnia which has started showing encouraging results.
However, my recent greatest achievement is DIBPL’s successful and aggressive expansion policy. In 2011, DIBPL became Pakistan’s fastest-growing Islamic bank by increasing its branch network to 75 branches in 30 cities.
In 2012, we hope to increase our strategic footprint in Pakistan by surpassing the 100-branch milestone.
What are the factors contributing to the success of your company?
We are proud to continuously invest in infrastructure, people and technology which have enabled us to produce unique products and services that stand strong against other banks. Furthermore, we have first-mover advantages in a variety of banking services such as bancaTakaful, branchless banking and cash management services.
What are the obstacles faced in running your business today?
Even though numerous steps are being taken to educate people about Islamic banking, there is still a misconception about the concept’s process and benefits, thereby creating a need to expand awareness. Furthermore, there are regulatory hurdles and stiff competition from conventional banks that need to be assessed and combated if Islamic finance is to go beyond a certain segment.
Where do you see the Islamic finance industry in the next five years?
In the next five years, the Islamic finance industry should be more accepted and therefore, prevalent, both locally and internationally, as people gather more knowledge on the concept and benefits of riba-free banking.
Name one thing you would like to see change in the world of Islamic finance.
A form of cooperation or coalition within the industry would be beneficial as banks would be able to work together to gain expertise, create awareness and expand the Islamic banking industry.