KARACHI – The Habib Bank Limited (HBL), which is the largest bank by asset in Pakistan, has decided to wind down its operations in Afghanistan in line with the regulatory requirements in the neighbouring country.

“HBL’s exit from Afghanistan is expected to be completed latest by third quarter 2019 and will be done as per the regulatory requirements of Afghanistan and in consultation with the central bank of Afghanistan (Da Afghanistan Bank),” the bank’s spokesman said. “HBL’s international footprint is important for the bank to service its domestic and international clients even better and this role will only strengthen in 2019.”

A public notice, in an international newspaper, said Habib Bank Afghanistan commenced an orderly and organised winding down of its operations in Afghanistan. “As per the instructions of Da Afghanistan Bank, Habib Bank Afghanistan will not accept any further deposits as of March 11, 2019,” the notice said. “All depositors are requested to withdraw/transfer their funds and close their accounts with Habib Bank Afghanistan on or before June 10, 2019.”

HBL currently has one branch in Kabul. The bank obtained business licence from Afghanistan Investment Support Agency in April 2004, which is valid till July 30, 2020, according to the information available on the HBL’s website.

The bank has branches in Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, China, Lebanon, Maldives, Mauritius, Oman, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Turkey, UAE and USA. It’s operating with a representative office in Beijing. HBL has around 1,800 domestic and international branches.