The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has allowed ASA Microfinance Bank (Pakistan) Limited to commence microfinance lending business nationwide.
The SBP said that the ASA Microfinance Bank (Pakistan) Limited, licensed under the Microfinance Institutions Ordinance 2001, is a wholly owned subsidiary of ASA International Group plc. which is recognized as one of the world’s largest international microfinance institutions.
By commencing the microfinance lending business, ASA Microfinance Bank will be the 12th Microfinance Bank (MFB) to operate in the country.
According to the SBP, microfinance banks (MFBs) play an important role in serving a large number of microcredit borrowers and depositors. They have approximately a three percent share of total advances of the banking system, however, in terms of number of domestic borrowers, MFBs have a share of 58.6 percent, signifying their importance in Pakistan’s credit market, financial inclusion and economy.
The commencement of business by ASA Microfinance Bank (Pakistan) Limited is expected to increase the market share of MFBs regulated by SBP within the overall microfinance sector.
It is expected that ASA Microfinance Bank will contribute towards poverty alleviation and financial inclusion mandate under the Microfinance Institution Ordinance, 2001.
Given the focus on women across their international network, ASA Microfinance Bank (Pakistan) Limited is expected to play an important role towards gender mainstreaming and female empowerment by providing small, socially responsible loans to low-income women entrepreneurs belonging to less-privileged and unbanked segments of the society, the SBP said.