The International Finance Corporation has announced that Metropolitan Bank has become the first bank in Pakistan to join its Global Trade Finance Program. Metropolitan Bank is one of the leading private commercial banks in Pakistan.
The Global Trade Finance Program is aimed at supporting trade with emerging markets worldwide and promoting flows of goods and services between developing countries. IFC provides guarantee coverage of bank risk in emerging markets, allowing recipients to expand their trade finance transactions within an extensive network of countries and banks and to enhance their trade finance coverage.
Michael Essex, IFC’s associate director for the Middle East and North Africa, says: “IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program will support Metropolitan Bank’s expanding trade finance business in line with the bank’s growth strategy. The increasing number of participant banks in IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program paves the way for developing countries like Pakistan to increase their share of global trade through this wide network of correspondent banks.”
Kassim Parekh, president and chief executive of Metropolitan Bank, adds: “We are delighted to be working with IFC in the Global Trade Finance Program. This will not only enable Metropolitan Bank to further enhance its relationship with IFC, but also provide our customers access to developing markets.”
IFC’s first engagement with Metropolitan Bank was in early 2003 with a two-year facility under the Pakistan Trade Enhancement Facility established by IFC and ABN Amro with the objective of expanding trade finance to Pakistani private sector businesses. IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program offers confirming banks partial or full guarantees against underlying trade instruments and covers the payment risk of participating issuing banks.
The programme allows issuing banks to increase the volume and value of trade transactions with enhanced tenors and access to competitive pricing terms.
Metropolitan Bank started its commercial banking operations in October 1992 and is listed on all stock exchanges in Pakistan. The bank’s primary focus is on short-term lending to support international trade and is one of the leading service providers in retail banking. The bank will continue to be active in this sector as well as to diversify its product offering catering to the retail sector and consumer banking.
The target industries and sectors under trade finance revolve around textiles and garments, machinery and spare parts, telecommunication, palm oil and chemicals.
The bank continues to enjoy the highest credit rating of AA+ for long term, A1 for short term assigned to any private sector bank in Pakistan by the Pakistan Credit Rating Agency. These ratings are a reflection of very high credit quality, along with a low expectation of credit risk and a very strong capacity for timely repayment of financial commitments.
The bank maintains strong correspondent banking relationships with globally respected banks and is an active participant in various multilateral trade facilitation programmes provided by agencies such as the Asian Development Bank and IFC. The Global Trade Finance Program will help importers specifically in respect of transactions with longer tenors.