Bilal Sheikh has been in the banking sector for 47 years. He was serving as assistant vice president at MCB Bank in 1974 when former premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto nationalised the banking industry.
Only a handful of top bankers support Bhutto’s nationalisation policy, and Sheikh is one of them.
“The idea of nationalisation was excellent, but its implementation was wrong. Banks lent to a few families only. So they were nationalised to enable small borrowers have access to credit,” he said, adding political interference by successive governments caused the ultimate damage to the banking industry.
He left MCB Bank in 1982 as senior vice president to work for a foreign bank in the Middle East. He has led various commercial banks and development finance institutions, including National Development Finance Corporation (NDFC), PICIC Bank and Mybank since 1998.
Saying that Sindh Bank has nothing to do with provincialism, Sheikh noted that he hails from Lahore and was appointed chairman of NDFC by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1998. “I’m from Punjab. Yet the government of Sindh appointed me Sindh Bank’s first CEO and also renewed my contract after the first term expired.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2014.