Top 5 Banks in Pakistan 2019 and Here’s Why

Pakistan State Bank (SBP) is the central bank of the country. It was incorporated under the Act of 1956 of the State Bank of Pakistan. The central bank is responsible for the liquidity control and the soundness of the financial system of the country. In this guide, we have enlisted top 5 banks in Pakistan in 2019.

There are three types of banks in Pakistan:

  • Commercial Banks
  • Exchange Banks
  • Industrial Banks

Due to rapid economic growth and secure funding from high liquidity levels and customer deposits, Moody’s rates Pakistan’s banking system as sound. Nonetheless, according to the rating agency, domestic banks are facing challenges from their large low-rated government bond holdings in Pakistan, as well as high asset risks and modest capital rates.

For most banks, 2019 was a challenging year due to tough rivalry, operational and regulatory issues, but few banks outperformed the rest amid all these challenges, sustaining profit growth while at the same time expanding the sector. For anyone in Pakistan considering a banking career, the list of top banks in Pakistan is a helpful guide on where to start.

 National Bank of Pakistan

top 5 banks in Pakistan

In terms of profitability, the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) retained its position in the banking sector. The National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) was established in 1949 and is an independent organization headquartered in Karachi, Pakistan. It focuses on consumer banking, corporate banking, investment banking, and offers loans and savings services.

In 2018, NBP recorded a Rs. 20 billion profit compared to Rs. 22.3 billion in 2017. The profitability of the bank was impacted by the huge loan losses in the past year, which at the same time hurt the bank’s bottom line.

On the other hand, in the same year, NBP registered a few records. It has become the first bank in deposits to reach the Rs. 2 trillion mark. This includes in top 5 banks in Pakistan.


Muslim Commercial Bank

Top 5 banks

Established in 1947, MCB Bank in Pakistan, South Asia, the Middle East, and Eurasia provides commercial banking and related products and services. It is based in Lahore City with about 14,000 employees.

In 2016, the bank posted $9.51 billion in total assets and $19.8 million in net profit.

MCB Bank was the bank with the highest profit last year. The bank secured its first position in and replaced United Bank Limited.  At the end of last year, the bank posted a profit of Rs. 21.36 billion, which is 4.8 percent lower than the profit of 2017 although this figure remained the highest in the banking sector.


United Bank Limited

Top banks in Pakistan

In 2018, United Bank of Limited (UBL) failed to maintain its crown position in the banking sector. In terms of profit in the banking industry, it fell from the top position to number three. The bank operates through a network of approximately 1,341 branches in Pakistan, including 47 branches of Islamic banking and two branches of the Karachi Export Processing Zone and 18 international branches.

In 2018, UBL posted a profit of Rs. 15bn compared to Rs. 25bn in 2017, showing a huge loss of Rs. 10bn in productivity that also affected the industry. The sharp decline in earnings was due to the impact of non-performing loans including the bank’s operating loss due to the closing of its branch in New York.

UBL posted Rs. 27.7 billion’s highest ever income in 2016 and stayed number 2 after HBL. The income of the bank has decreased significantly over the past three years.


Habib Bank Limited


Habib Bank Limited, once Pakistan’s most profitable bank, is now in the banking sector at No. 4. In 2018, the bank reported a profit of Rs. 12.4 billion, with a healthy 41 percent growth compared to 2017.

The bank is operating actively under the new leadership to reclaim its former leading position in the banking industry. The income for 2018 is not even half the profit it made in 2016 (Rs. 34 billion, the highest ever in the banking industry’s history).

Habib Bank, based in Karachi, was founded in 1941. This operates across divisions of branch banking, corporate banking, treasury, and international banking. It manages a network of 1,677 branches with approximately 17,000 employees, including 45 branches of Islamic banking in Pakistan as well as 54 branches in other countries.


Standard Chartered Bank

standard chartered

Standard Chartered Bank handled the profitability position last tear as well as this year. The bank made Rs. 11.2 billion in 2018 its highest ever income. Standard Chartered Pakistan was established in 2006 and operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Standard Chartered Bank, based in the UK. The bank includes divisions of corporate and institutional banking, commercial banking, retail banking, and central and other products.

With a profit of Rs. 8.24 billion, the bank stood at No. 5. In terms of profit, its competitors like Bank Alfalah and Bank Al Habib were ahead of this bank.

Standard Chartered is one of the top go-to banks. About 54% of the companies that make up the PSX-100 index of the Pakistan Stock Exchange use Standard Chartered for their payroll requirements, and 76% use the corporate division of the bank.

The bank’s business and operational strategy, however, worked well with positive results, and this year it regained exceptional profitability.


Competition between these banks will intensify in the coming months, but with near margins the individual banks market performance and strategy will decide their current ranking. Such rankings were based on the value of income. There are also other metrics that drive banks ‘ position, including asset values, paid-up capital, and penetration of the network.


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Nayab Khan

Nayab Khan is a freelance tech-writer whose specialty is absorbing the key data and articulating the most important points. She helps IT based organizations communicate their message clearly across multiple channels.
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