BCC established a global banking presence in 73 countries at its peak with branches, affiliated banks and representative offices, in mostly Third World countries where the banking sector at the time was dominated by few large British and French colonial banks.
BCC's growth was exponential. Its growth strategy was part of a well-considered plan for expansion.
The BCC Group pursued its objectives consistently and progressively, and played a useful role in providing commercial banking services, both retail and wholesale, in the domestic markets of the countries where it operated as well as in the international banking field, thus promoting business, recycling of surplus funds and technology between the industrially developed countries, with presence in such financial centres of the world as Luxembourg, London, Paris, Zurich, Geneva, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, Montreal and the Middle Eastern capital surplus countries, and the developing countries of the Third World.
BCC's largest network in the developing countries reflected the real concern of the BCC President, Mr Agha Hasan Abedi, for the upliftment of the Third World impoverished by the western colonial powers who continued to dominate the country's banking sector.
First phase of expansion
To begin with BCC grew in and together with the Middle East oil-producing states, and did so quite substantially, fuelled in part by infusions of petrodollar deposits from Gulf State rulers during the prosperity of the OPEC years.
Second phase of expansion
The second burst of expansion was in Africa where BCCI was the bank with the most branches there in the most countries, both English speaking and French-speaking. At the same time, the bank began to gain a further foothold in continental Europe. As a result, BCCI established branches and offices in France, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. In Hamburg and Frankfurt BCCI had been represented since the second half of the 1970s.
Third phase of expansion
BCCI then turned its attention towards the end of the 1970s to the Far East, establishing its presence by takeovers and new branches in Hong Kong, Korea, the Philippines, India and Thailand. The bank already had a presence in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Fourth phase of expansion
In the fourth growth phase, which started at the beginning of the 1980s, what is often called "the first multinational bank outside the OECD", BCCI expanded in North America and, later in Latin America. In Panama, Colombia and Venezuela BCCI had seen its opportunities - in spite of the fact that the continent, shaken by austerity and political unrest, was likely to remain overindebted for years to come.
- BCC Group of subsidiaries and affiliates: January 1981
- BCC Group and Network of branches in 1987
- BCC Country Information: BCC Desk Diary 1991
Non-banking associated companies
BCCI's reach also extended to 17 other countries through associated companies that offered basic services like money exchange and worker remittances.
Importance of deposits
BCCI 's expansion required increasing the bank’s deposit base to finance its growing business, without having to depend interbank borrowings and raising further capital from shareholders. Like other major western banks with an international presence, BCCI was equally aware that mobilisation of deposits was closely linked to asset growth and profitability, and the key to success was BCCI's significant international network of branches and offices that played a vital part in financing international trade flowing between the developing countries and the industrialised world. Over the years, BCCI became less dependent on Middle East deposits and business.
BCC network of branches and offices across the globe was ideally placed to attract the growing foreign trade business in the developing countries and provide personalised services at both end of transactions to business clients worldwide.
BCC's expertise was in financing foreign trade involving making advance payment to business clients against Bills of Exchange drawn under import and export letters of credit and Bills for collection both inward and outward.
Managing BCC’s Global Business
The responsibility for managing country operations was divided into regions directly looked after by a dedicated Regional Offices. Countries that did not come under any region were overseen by the Central Support Organisation at BCCI Central Office in London, UK, subsequently Abu Dhabi, UAE.