KARACHI: Mobile phone and smart card banking accounts have surged to nearly 1.45 million in the country, indicating that the financial sector is going through a dynamic transition led by latest technology solutions, says a top official of the central bank.
Speaking at the launch of a new deposit mobilisation product – Easy Paisa Khushaal – of Tameer Microfinance Bank (TMFB) and Telenor here on Tuesday, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Deputy Governor Kazi Abdul Muktadir said existing active players – TFMB (easypaisa) and UBL (Omni) – had so far registered more than 1.447 million mobile wallet accounts of un-banked and under-banked population of the country.
mWallet accounts mean branchless banking and include both mobile phone and smart card accounts.
Muktadir said nearly 30 million branchless banking accounts worth Rs115 billion were processed in a single quarter (April-June 2012) by only two players – TMFB and UBL Omni.
Such type of innovations in product designing would not only attract small savings to generate internal funding for microfinance banks (MFBs), but would also provide savers a feeling of safety and security of insurance, he said.
“Now the time is only of demand-driven innovative products, through which MFBs can easily handle the challenges like scarcity of funding and financial exclusion.”
He expressed the hope that with the entry of new players and scaling up of existing institutions, the growth momentum of branchless banking would rise further.
“Our tele-density also highlights the inherent potential for mobile banking in Pakistan,” and achievements in branchless banking put the country at the global centre stage of financial inclusion and innovation, he said.
The World Bank’s Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, in its recent study, has also recognised Pakistan as one of the fastest growing branchless banking markets in the world.
In an effort to support and promote microfinance, the SBP has issued Strategic Framework for Sustainable Microfinance. This mainly focuses on promoting use of alternative delivery channels to enhance financial services to people without access to finance, which is recognised as one of the fundamental constraints in achieving sustainable economic growth in many developing countries.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2012.
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