The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has allowed ASA Microfinance Bank (Pakistan) Limited to start microfinance lending business across the country from November 13, 2023, SBP said on Tuesday.
Licensed by SBP under the Microfinance Institutions Regulations, 2001, ASA Microfinance Bank (Pakistan) Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of ASA International Group plc. It is considered one of the largest international microfinance organizations in the world.
ASA Microfinance Bank (Pakistan) Limited will become operational, becoming the 12th Microfinance Bank (MFB) to operate in the country.
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“MFBs play an important role in serving a large number of microcredit borrowers and depositors,” SBP said.
However, MFBs account for about three per cent share in the total advances of the banking system; The central bank added that in terms of the number of domestic borrowers, MFBs account for 58.6 per cent share, indicating their importance in Pakistan’s credit market, financial inclusion and economy.
According to SBP, the launch of ASA Microfinance Bank (Pakistan) Limited is expected to increase the market share of central bank-regulated MFBs in the overall microfinance sector.
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“Focusing on women across its international networks, ASA Microfinance Bank (Pakistan) Limited is expected to play a key role towards gender equality and women empowerment by providing small, socially responsible loans to less privileged and low-income women entrepreneurs. “Sections of society that do not have bank accounts,” he said.
The central bank expects ASA Microfinance Bank (Pakistan) Limited to contribute to poverty alleviation and financial inclusion mandate under the Microfinance Institution Regulations, 2001.
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