Habib Bank closes its operations in New York

The Habib Bank Limited has announced its decision to wind up operations in New York following intimation from the state’s financial regulator as it seeks to impose a hefty penalty of nearly $630 million on the bank, it emerged on Monday.

The fine is going to be imposed for violation of the compliance programme, according to the NYDFS.

The bank management has informed the Pakistan Stock Exchange of the incident and pledged to immediately seek recourse from the concerned authorities. After the decision of imposing the fine, the bank has decided to voluntarily close down its operations in New York.

“HBL has voluntarily decided to close its operations in New York in an orderly manner and DFS has allowed HBL to submit a voluntary application for the orderly winding down operations in New York,” said the letter from the bank management to the PSX.

The letter termed the civil monetary penalty of up to $629,625,000 “outrageous”.

“HBL shall vigorously contest this in the scheduled administrative hearing and the courts of law in the US as being unjustified, capricious, unreasonable not supported by facts or law and as being time barred.

There will be no material impact on HBL’s business outside of the US and HBl will continue to service the requirements of its domestic and international customers, including US dollar business,” the letter states further.

The bank has also lodged an appeal against the decision with the DFS, which has accepted the application for winding down the branch.

The bank has also released a detailed response to the incident.

It clarified that a penalty has not been imposed but it is, in fact, a ‘notice of hearing’ that seeks to impose a civil monetary penalty. “Payment of penalty is subject to the approval of the State Bank of Pakistan,” it said.

It explained that the timeline of withdrawal of business in New York will be determined in consultation with the regulators.

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