OUR STAFF REPORTER PESHAWAR - The Bank of Khyber (BoK) will open 12 new branches including five branches of Islamic banking in the current year, while bank has been upgraded from rating B to A due to its excellent performance. Among the proposed 12 new branches, seven branches would be of conventional banking and five of Islamic. It has also been decided that some of these branches would be set up in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan, the BoK MD Bilal Mustafa said this while briefing media here on Tuesday. Historical growth has been recorded in private deposits and remittances. At present around 60 percent are private deposits in the BoK. Over the last two years, the banks deposits have been showing improvement and it recorded growth by Rs10 billion in 2010, the MD informed. Despite all odds including the prevailing threat of militancy, the BoK is the only bank carrying out lending in the province. Bilal Mustafa said that being the provinces only own bank, the BoK was committed to continue serving people of the province. The MD said that the gross advances portfolio had reached Rs21 billion in December 31, 2010. Flanked by Executive Director Mir Javed Hashmat, he said the bank is operating fifty branches against 41 branches in 2010. The new branches will include five Islamic and seven conventional branches, he said adding that the seven dedicated booths for the remittances are also operating in different parts including the remote areas of Katlang, Mardan, Vehari, Jehlum etc. Apart from this, he said, management is planning to open new branches in Afghanistan, for which, all necessary requirements have already been completed, he added. In addition, he said that every branch of the bank has an Islamic desk to facilitate those interested in Islamic banking. The bank is also carrying out investment in wheat procurement and it is paying the provincial government Rs 7.5 billion for procurement in the province another Rs 1 billion will be provided procurement of the wheat in Punjab. He said that the BoK is also facilitating the provincial government in the distribution of the loans under the Bacha Khpal Rozgar Scheme through which loans up to Rs100,000 on first come first serve basis are being offered. while bank would also facilitate in the disbursement of small loans to unemployed skilled people.