WHERE HE SHARED HIS EXPERT OPINION ABOUT
BANKING & FINANCE OF PAKISTAN
Mr. Azmat Tarin pursued his MBA in Management Sciences from the Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. After completing his studies he started his career with a job in branch operations at Lincoln Savings in California. Subsequently, moved to Saudi American Bank at Riyadh where he was involved in a project of centralizing operations and attended the Management Associate Program. His first banking assignment in Pakistan was with Union Bank Limited from 1999 to 2006 as Head of Retail Bank, where he led the core team which turned the Bank around into one of the most profitable banks of the country. In addition, he served on the Board of Union Leasing from 2001 to 2006. The Board of Directors of then Saudi Pak Bank inducted him as an Executive Director and later, in October 2008, elevated him to the position of President and CEO. He is currently a member of the HR. Committee of Silk bank as well. It has been over 25 years of accomplishing and rewarding experience in the banking industry.
BM: Tell us some of your strengths as a President?
AT: I believe my strengths include:
• Being creative and continually innovating to enrich the lives of those around me
• Being able to recognize and explore areas of opportunities
• Self-actualization, which in my view is reaching a state of contentment with the environment, realizing intrinsic and extrinsic strengths and utilizing them to the advantage of everyone around me
BM: How do you describe your leadership style?
AT: I have a strong personal conviction in the Vision and Mission of Silkbank which reflect the Bank’s strategy, and always try to foster an environment to deeply instill them in the employees. Our Vision is to be the “Benchmark of Excellence in Premier Banking” and our Mission is “To be the leader in Premier banking, trusted by our customers for accessibility, service & innovation, be an employer of choice creating value for all stakeholders”.
I am proud to state that under my leadership, the Silkbank team has been successful in projecting a premier and upscale image of the Bank. Our products and services, our branch and office ambience have a high-class persona. We have a wide menu of innovative financial solutions developed over the years. As authenticated by surveys conducted by independent market research agencies, we are amongst the leading quality service providers in the industry. Our employees are provided with a good environment to work in and try to give compatible compensation, making us an employer of choice.
I ensure that Silkbank remains an equal opportunity employer and adheres strictly to its core values of integrity and meritocracy. This is evident from the diverse mix of talented employees the Bank has. I emphasize on and practice an open-door policy and believe in leading by example. The Bank follows my policy and has a culture which promotes open communication between the staff and their line managers. I have built an immaculate system for whistle-blowing and have a strict policy for protection against harassment, which makes the work environment conducive and friendly. I also encourage staff to go on training for their personal and professional development, and to polish their expertise and acquire new skills.
BM: Who has had the most influence on your life and why?
AT: Amongst the role models, Bill Gates has been an inspiration for me. He is a true entrepreneur who started from scratch and built a gigantic business empire, with a personal net-worth of almost USD 80 billion. His real greatness lies in having willed USD 10 million only to each of his three daughters, with the rest going to charity through Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is ostensibly the largest charity organization in the world working towards promotion of healthcare, education and access to technology alongside alleviating poverty. If I have to choose someone from the banking Industry, it would be Mr. Shaukat Tarin. He revolutionized the Financial Sector by pioneering Consumer Banking, which includes Credit Cards, Personal Loans, Auto and Mortgage Loans in the Middle East and Pakistan.
BM: How do you resolve conflicts in general?
AT: Conflicts are a by-product of a lack of effective communication between the parties concerned. This results in not being able to comprehend the views of the other party. As a matter of fact, if you go still deeper into the conflict, it is always a systemic structure which impacts key inter-relationships that influence behavior over time. These are actually not conflicts between people but amongst key variables of the system.
My foremost consideration in such situations is to create an environment of effective communications and viewing the systemic issues as a common challenge for both parties and to view conflicts as an organizational issue rather than a departmental issue. They work together and are able to find a solution to the problem which is always in the best interest of the organization.
BM: What are your views about consumer financing in Pakistan?
AT: With falling discount rates, affordability will improve which will spur the demand for consumer products. Banks which are better positioned to cater to this demand will be able to achieve higher spreads and better profitability.
BM: What products and services are being offered by Silk bank currently?
AT: Silk bank is a full-scale commercial bank with a total of 88 branches in 33 cities. Our business is broken up into Retail, Corporate & Investment Banking, SME, Consumer and Islamic banking. We have the widest product menu amongst the medium-sized banks in the industry. Our offerings include credit and debit cards, an array of innovative deposit products, consumer loans which include personal loans as well as a revolving credit facility, mortgage-based SME lending facility and a host of other SME and Middle Market banking products. We have the honor to win an award for the most innovative product offered in the financial services sector in 2014, in respect of our preference share issue of Rs. 2.2 billion.
Silkbank pioneered with the 0% APR Credit Card, the daily profit payout savings account – Munafa Rozana, and a breakthrough last year mark-up waiver on Personal Loan in Pakistan. The Bank’s running finance facility, Ready Line, is ostensibly the most popular unsecured loan product in the market with a rapidly growing market share. Our Islamic Banking Division, Emaan Islamic Banking, has a presence across Pakistan offering a variety of Sharia-compliant products.
We pride ourselves in having Service Quality entrenched into every process of the Bank. We measure service delivery on an ongoing basis to ensure that our service quality standards remain the best in the financial services industry. It will be our endeavor to continue to provide a very high quality of service. I can state with confidence that, at this point, we are rated amongst the top service providers in the industry, which has been established by independent surveys conducted.
BM: Any message which you would like to give to your readers?
AT: People form the backbone of any organization. The choice of the right people for the right position is by far the most important challenge for leadership. Understanding the key positions and the skill sets required to manage those positions and subsequently, bringing compatible staff into place will be a key driver of success for the organization. The same principle should cascade down into the junior hierarchies to match the strengths of each individual with the demands of the respective activity.