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LAHORE: The Board of Directors of The Bank of Punjab (BOP) convened on Tuesday, to review and approve the Bank’s annual audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2023.

In reflecting on the Bank’s financial performance, the Board commended the Management team for delivering remarkable results despite the challenging macroeconomic environment. The Bank’s performance remained steadfastly in line with its strategic business plan, garnering recognition from stakeholders and market evaluators alike.

In the year 2023, The Bank of Punjab was honored with numerous local and international awards and accreditations, underscoring its commitment to excellence:

1- In recognition of commitment to fostering a workplace where everyone belongs, The Bank of Punjab was awarded the “EFP Disability Inclusion Excellence Award” for 2023.

2- “Employer of Choice” Award at Gender Diversity Awards 2023. It is the sole public sector institution among Pakistan’s top ten corporations to receive this recognition.

3- BOP ranks Number One on SBP’s Banking on Equality Rating. The Bank of Punjab secured the number one position with the highest score and green rating amongst all commercial banks, including large, mid, and small-sized banks in Pakistan, on the State Bank of Pakistan’s Banking on Equality Scorecard.

4- MasterCard Market Leader in the New Segment Award.

5- Best Public Sector Bank for Islamic Retail Banking in Pakistan 2023.

6- Best Bank for Small & Medium Businesses at Pakistan Banking Awards. The Bank of Punjab has been honored with the Best Bank for Small & Medium Businesses award twice, in December 2022 and November 2023, respectively, at the Pakistan Banking Awards.

7- MasterCard ‘Driving Contactless In-Transit Payments’ Award. The Bank of Punjab has been honored with the ‘Driving Contactless In-Transit Payments’ award by MasterCard at the EDGE 2023 event in Dubai, UAE.

8- The Bank of Punjab has been awarded the “Best Bank for SMEs in Pakistan” by Asia money in June 2023.

Throughout 2023, BOP expanded its product and service offerings to meet the evolving needs of its diverse clientele, with a particular focus on strengthening its Islamic Banking footprint through the establishment of dedicated Taqwa Islamic Banking Branches and Islamic banking windows in conventional branches.

As a result of these efforts, the Bank’s Balance Sheet witnessed a robust 50 percent growth, reaching Rs 2.2 trillion by December 31, 2023. Deposits surged to Rs 1.5 trillion, marking a commendable 24 percent growth. With prudent resource management, aggressive business expansion, and the introduction of new products and services, the Bank achieved a before-tax profit of Rs 21.2 billion in 2023, with an After Tax Profit of Rs. 11.3 billion. Earnings per Share (EPS) for the year stood at Rs 3.47 per share, compared to Rs 3.31 per share in 2022.

Noteworthy financial metrics include a 33 percent increase in Net Interest Margin (NIM) to Rs 40.9 billion and a 67 percent rise in Non-Markup/Interest Income to Rs 17.7 billion. Investments and Gross Advances reached Rs 913.2 billion and Rs 849.5 billion, respectively, while Equity improved to Rs 80.8 billion by December 31, 2023.

Despite economic challenges, BOP managed to enhance its risk profile and raise ADT-1 and Tier-1 capital aggregating to Rs 15.5 billion in 2023, indicative of market confidence in its financial strength. The Bank’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) significantly improved to 18.37 percent, with a Leverage Ratio of 3.38 percent. In line with its strategic business plan, emphasizing aggressive growth and CAPEX commitments in Information Technology & Digitalization, the Board proposed Cash Dividend of 10% for the Shareholders for the year ended December 31, 2023.

The Bank’s robust financial position is further affirmed by The Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (PACRA), maintaining its long-term entity rating at “AA+” with a short-term rating at the highest rank of “A1+”. BOP currently operates a nationwide network of 815 online branches, including 160 Taqwa Islamic Banking Branches, and provides 24/7 banking services through 794 ATMs and other Digital Banking channels.

In 2023, the Bank expanded its branch network by 35 branches and aims to open 85 branches in 2024, with a heightened focus on Islamic banking expansion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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