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Monday, August 31, 2009

Silver Jubilee of United Bank Limited (UBL) (November 7, 1984)

Foreign banks dominated the Pakistan banking scene at the time of independence. The number of branches of scheduled banks declined from 631 just before Independence to 213 immediately thereafter and the total number of branches dwindled to 195 on 1st July, 1948 when the State Bank of Pakistan came into being. Of these, 38 branches were of Pakistani banks and the rest belonged to Foreign banks. The rapid economic growth, after Independence, underscored the need for creating new Pakistani banks and other Financial institutions to cater to the needs of the expanding economy. The banking in Pakistan had spectacular growth. By 1958, the total number of Pakistani banks had risen to 7 and their branches totalled 232, but even these were inadequate as the financial and commercial requirements of an increasing population continued to grow.
United Bank Limited commenced banking business on November 7, 1959. From the very outset it has strived to meet the challenge of a rapidly growing economy by providing a wide array of banking services. With a view to providing efficient and personalised service to its clients it has been trying to adopt the latest banking techniques and managerial practices.
In August, 1963 UBL established a branch in London. It also established two subsidiaries, namely, United Bank of Lebanon & Pakistan SAL and United Bank A.G. Zurich. The bank is also operating successfully two joint ventures, Commercial Bank of Oman Limited in Oman and United Saudi Commercial Bank in Saudi Arabia. UBL also has a large network of domestic branches which extend to the remote areas also. It not only provided sufficient financial assistance and professional expertise to industrial and commercial sector but also gave adequate agricultural loans to farmers to boost farm yields. Interest-free loans and supervised credit schemes have also been introduced particularly for small farmers.
For training its staff, UBL established three staff colleges, at Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. An Executive Development Centre was set up at Karachi which later shifted to Islamabad and was renamed UBL School of Banking.
UBL was the first bank to introduce modern computers in the banking industry, in 1966. It introduced a most modern system of electronic banking which provides efficient service and completes all formalities within a few minutes for intending Haj pilgrims.
The bank reached Rs. 20 billion mark in deposits in just 20th year of its operation and crossed Rs. 40 billion mark in deposits in its Silver Jubilee Year which was actually the year of \'Growth and Glory\'. In 1983, UBL was placed 17th amongst the 50 top world banks having real growth of assets.
UBL has also made visible contribution towards promotion of better sports and welfare. Between 1960 and 1983, UBL\'s authorised capital increased from Rs. 20 million to Rs. 1,000; paid-up capital from Rs.10 million to Rs. 531 million; reserve fund from Rs. 0.5 million to Rs. 430 million; deposits from Rs. 70 million to Rs. 41,504 million; profits from Rs. 0.7 million to Rs. 184 million; total assets from Rs. 104 million to Rs. 5620 million and the number of offices from 7 to1650. Staff strength has also increased from 196 in 1960 to 19000 by 1983.
To commemorate the occasion Pakistan Post Office is issuing a commemorative postage stamp of 60 paisa denomination on November 7, 1984.