In recognition of the outlook of the bank, as well as strong financial performance and considerable progress made in the areas of risk, compliance, governance, and all other facets of operations, the Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (PACRA), after the lapse of five years, has upgraded the long-term entity rating of The Bank of Punjab to “AA+”, with the short-term highest rating of “A1+”. As per PACRA definition, “these ratings denote a very low expectation of credit risk and a very strong capacity for timely payment of financial commitments, which is not significantly vulnerable to foreseeable events.” The upgrading of the Bank’s credit rating by PACRA is a testimony to the fact that The Bank of Punjab has come a long way during the past years and the astounding progress of the institution is being recognized and acknowledged by all of its stakeholders, including external monitoring agencies. It took a long period which witnessed concerted efforts by the management duly backed by the sponsor’s support to reinvigorate the Bank. Furthermore, the calculatively aggressive business plan and future roadmap set out by the new management, under the leadership of Mr. Zafar Masud, President/CEO, is poised to take the Bank to its well-deserved place among the top five financial institutions of the Country. The CEO PACRA in his brief to the Board of Directors said, “The incumbent management has revamped and strengthened the overall governance and compliance structure, which is essential for oversight and dynamic operations of the Bank.” BOP’s balance sheet crossed PKR 1 trillion benchmark, and its customers’ deposit base grew by 21% to stand at PKR 835 billion during 2020. As a result, the system’s share in terms of deposits inched up, and BOP prominently became eligible for classifying in the “large banks” category. The Bank, on prudence basis, has recently been recording subjective classification and general provisioning to ensure that asset quality remains unimpaired going-forth. The Bank’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) clocked in at 16.2% as at the end of December 2020, providing the Bank with a healthy cushion to expand its asset book, particularly in Government schemes, inline with its strategic business plan, whereby the growth in risk assets will be covered through insurance and first-loss guarantees, wherever available. “The top management is very much motivated and focused on further enhancing profitability and strengthening the Bank’s relative position, and it took a number of unprecedented actions for staff welfare and wellbeing to advance the trickle-down effects of this positivity across the organization. The Bank has taken due care of its employees and their families during COVID-19 pandemic by providing all possible medical facilities and by establishing vaccination centers in all major cities for BOP staff and their family members. This staff motivation and commitment has been the real reason for our future positive outlook and rating upgrade”, said Mr. Zafar Masud, the CEO of BOP.