Habib Bank Limited (HBL) and Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for strategic cooperation to promote technology, digital innovation, and skill development in Pakistan. The MoU was signed by Mr. Muhammad Aurangzeb, the President & CEO of Habib Bank Limited (HBL), and Mr. Amer Hashmi, the Chairman of STZA, in a ceremony held in Islamabad on 14th January 2022.

HBL was the first commercial bank to be established in Pakistan in 1947. Over the years, HBL has grown its branch network and maintained its position as one of the largest private sector banks in Pakistan with over 2100+ ATMs globally, serving 23+ million customers worldwide.

HBL and STZA share the objective to transform Pakistan into a digital economy. STZA and HBL aim to jointly initiate the development of a technology-driven ecosystem and boost human capital development. The bank will be taking robust steps for the promotion of technology, including training, mentorship, workshops, and webinars for the Skills and Human Capital Development (S&HCD) in Pakistan in partnership with STZA.

The key areas of focus for collaboration include; the opening of tech-enabled bank branches in the Special Technology Zones (STZs)  and providing banking services to Zone Developers and Zone Enterprises, to promote innovation and investments in the fintech sector by setting up Innovation Labs in STZs. To promote fintech for financial inclusion and data security, hackathons will also be designed to encourage creative and disruptive thinking.

HBL envisions creating a business-friendly ecosystem for small tech businesses by bringing entrepreneurs, investors, and venture capitalists under one umbrella. Under HBL’s “Small Business Finance” operations, the bank aims to provide loans to small start-ups and SMEs in the STZs. HBL will also become a part of STZA’s “One Window Portal” which aims to provide a single platform to Zone Developers and Zone Enterprises for providing ease of doing business in STZs.

This collaboration is the latest addition to STZA’s portfolio of strategic partnerships within the tech and innovation sector. STZA envisions that this MoU will allow companies in the STZs, to have access to cutting-edge banking facilities and competitive financing options that will support their growth and improve the competitiveness of the Pakistani tech industry as per global benchmarks.