My Career Progression – Ashraf Savani

After passing the matric examination, I started looking for a job because of the constrained financial position of my parents.

In 1964 I got a job as a clerk in Habib Bank Limited with a starting salary of Rs.167 per month. I had taken the responsibility of house expenses and remember that in order to save bus fare, I used to walk long distances to get to work.

In order to enhance my education, I joined evening classes at S.M. College, Karachi. After graduating in Commerce and passing the Banking examinations from the Institute of Bankers in Pakistan (IBP), I was promoted as Officer in the year 1968. I worked with full dedication and considering my performance, I was promoted as Bank Manager in 1971. Fortunately In 1974, I was selected for overseas posting and was transferred to the Dubai Branch of Habib Bank Limited.

In 1976, after a proogressive career at from Habib Bank Ltd, I joined Habib Bank AG Zurich in Dubai as a Manager. I gave my total dedication and always strived to exceed the expectations of my employer, which I was able to do year after year. In the year 1978 I was chosen and given the opportunity to be posted to Nairobi, Kenya in Africa with an assignment to set up the bank’s operation from scratch. It was a very challenging assignment but also very promising and also very rewarding. With God’s help I successfully set up the operation and managed to produce extraordinary results in a totally new country with a different culture, language, and working atmosphere. Within six years I was promoted to levels of Senior Manager, Chief manager, Assistant Vice president, and then Vice president. During this period I was also given the highest award as Man of the Year of the bank Globally.

I had developed a very good rapport with the business community and institutions of Kenya. After dedicatedly working for the same employer for 20 years, I had a deep desire and ambition to start my own institution that could create value to the business community through financial solutions. In 1984 after deep contemplation, I gave my letter of deep appreciation to my employer and requested to be given the blessings to leave the bank and the security of a lucrative job to try my luck at self employment. I decided to invest in a deposit taking Non-Bank Financial Institution (NBFI). During those days, the capital requirement for a finance company was quite low and manageable. We got the license with the registered name as Consolidated Finance Company Limited. At my humble request, the opening ceremony of this new company was graciously performed by the then Vice President of Kenya, Mr. Mwai Kibaki (later on he became president of Kenya).

With a low budget, I held the position of Managing Director. With very hard work and proper strategies in place, Consolidated Finance became a reputable and profitable institution. After 10 years of successful operations, In the year 1994, I applied to the Central Bank of Kenya (Regulating Body) to grant conversion of the Financial Institution to a full fledged Commercial Bank. Considering the track record of our institution, the Central Bank of Kenya issued us a Banking licence in 1995. We changed the name of the Institution to African Banking Corporation (Now popularly known as ABC Bank).

We started to expand the bank by opening the branches throughout the country with main concentration in Nairobi (Capital City). Soon ABC Bank was known as a sound, reputable and growing institution. I remained Managing Director and Executive Chairman until the year 2006 after which we put in place internationally recognised corproate governance structures with a professional indepenant Board of DIrectors. I held the position as Non-Executive Chairman for a few years and now trasitioned to a Non-executive director.

In the year 2011, I was humbled with the prestigious award of “Life time achievement Award in Banking” by the Think Business Organisation.

As of now under the umbrella of the ABC Group of Companies the following institutions are serving customers internationally : ABC Bank, Kenya, ABC Capital Bank in Uganda, ABC Insurance in Kenya and ABC Capital (A seat on the Nairobi Securities Exchange and stock and bond brokerage company).
For more information, please visit website: www.abcthebank.com.

Besides ABC Group of companies, our family is involved in Real Estate, Construction and Agribusiness under the Trade name “Developing Afrlka Limited” (DAL).

I take pride to state that my foundation starts from CMS School, Karachi, and am humbled by God’s blessings.

I would like to give message to young students of CMC School. In order to achieve your dreams and goals, believe in youselves, set high goals and work with enthusiam and dedication without wavering. Failures are part of learning, continue your efforts towards your goal and achieve it.