3 September 2021 marks a special occasion in the history of HBL. On this day, Pakistan’s largest bank in the private sector celebrated the 50th anniversary of the HBL Plaza building.
Recognized as one of the prominent buildings of Pakistan, HBL Plaza continues to be an important landmark of the country that has become a symbol of public trust and will continue to inspire generations for the next 50 years.
The foundation stone of the HBL Plaza building was laid by Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan, the then President of Pakistan on 12 November 1966. The building became operational on 4 September 1971.
Upon its commencement, HBL Plaza was the tallest bank building in Asia and for decades and remained the tallest building in Pakistan. This 22 storeyed skyscraper stands 335 feet tall on I.I. Chundrigar Road, the heart of Pakistan’s financial district, and houses over 1,700 employees.
The avant-garde design of HBL Plaza, with its distinct shape and innovative engineering in Pakistan was developed by a renowned global architecture firm. Its architectural features, ahead of its time, still remain a significant and unique landmark of Karachi’s skyline.
Today, HBL Plaza serves as the nerve-centre of HBL’s operations, technology and the digital transformation that the Bank has embarked upon. The building is the backbone of the products, services and controls that HBL provides to its clients.
A symbolic landmark
HBL Plaza is a monument to the pioneering spirit of Pakistan, a witness to history, recognized and loved by all. The building is a testament to the commitment the Bank has always had in serving Pakistan and its people.
Founder of Pakistan
“I have opened an account with Habib
Bank Limited, Chandni Chowk in the
name of Muslim League Bihar Relief
Fund for the sufferers and distressed
Muslims of communal riots of Bihar
and Delhi. I appeal to Muslims
all over the country to contribute
generously and send contributions
to Habib Bank.”
Most will agree that HBL Plaza has witnessed the country’s socio-cultural transformation, economic growth and the rapid urbanization of Karachi. Only a few structures in Pakistan are embedded into the nation’s psyche like the HBL Plaza.
For most people, in early years of their childhood, HBL Plaza was the first skyscraper that they became aware of. Some even enjoyed it as a sightseeing destination with panoramic views of Karachi from its rooftop.
A few may even remember the building being used for the sighting of the Ramazan and Eid moons. 50 years later, HBL Plaza continues to be a symbolic landmark of the banking industry in Pakistan.
HBL was the first commercial bank to be established for the Muslims of the subcontinent in 1941 and today, it serves over 31 million clients in 14 countries. HBL’s inception has been inextricably linked with the story of Pakistan and has always been an institution that has played a significant role in the nation’s socio-economic progress.
After having carved a place for itself in the history of banking in the sub-continent, the Bank at the behest of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah shifted its head office to Karachi. It continued its work with renewed ardour and zeal ,and proceeded with a dauntless spirit to lay the foundations of a strong economic base for the newly born state.
Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah reposed confidence in the Bank by not only opening his personal account, but also by entrusting the collection of Relief Fund for Muslims in 1947. It was with this implicit trust and support that HBL achieved its privileged position of becoming the first bank in Pakistan.
Over the past 50 years of HBL Plaza’s operations, the Bank has witnessed remarkable strides in the financial industry, and a significant growth in the financial well-being of both the country and the millions of HBL clients. For perspective, around that period, the Bank’s profit stood at approximately Rs 100 million; today, it has crossed Rs 30 billion.
In these intervening years, the Bank’s advances have grown from Rs 4 billion to Rs 1.2 trillion, while its total deposits have risen from Rs 6.8 billion to Rs 3 trillion. HBL’s key areas of operations are Branch Banking, Corporate, Commercial & Investment Banking, Consumer, Rural and SME Banking, Treasury and Global Markets, International Banking and Financial Institutions, Transaction & Employee Banking, Development Finance and Islamic Banking.
HBL has grown its branch network and maintained its position as the largest private sector bank in Pakistan with nearly 1,700 branches, 2,100+ ATMs and has acquired more than 50,000 Konnect by HBL agents (branchless banking platform). The Bank has continued to evolve, setting precedents in financial services through innovation.
President & CEO – HBL
“HBL’s financial journey wouldn’t have
been possible without our clients,
stakeholders and employees who have
been steadfast in their loyalty to the
Bank. Their support has enabled HBL
to become one of the leading brands of
Pakistan. As HBL looks ahead to its
future, to serve the clients through its
physical and digital channels, I would
like to take this opportunity to express
our deep appreciation and gratitude
to all our stakeholders, as the Bank
continues to serve them in the decades
HBL: A Technology company with a banking license!
HBL is shaping the future through a paradigm shift as a ‘Technology company with a banking license’. The Bank’s various apps and platforms enable it to reach out to various segments of the community and speak their language.
HBL’s commitment to serve its clients with a superior banking experience is underpinned by digitization and innovation of its services. It aims to use data driven insights to provide more contextualized products to the right audiences and extend relevant banking services to previously underrepresented and unbanked communities while remaining true to consumer needs.
The end goal remains to be a customer centric bank that is quick to pivot as opportunities present themselves by being a Mobile first, Data enabled, inclusive and agile organization. HBL aims to be an organization that empowers its clients and employees alike, and that has the ability to form eco system partnerships and deliver scalable solutions to the clients in a secure and compliant manner.
As HBL looks ahead to its future, to serve its clients through its physical and digital channels, the Bank remains committed to its objective of financial inclusion for all segments of society as the leading financial institution of Pakistan.