Pakistan is a lower middle-income country, with a GDP of $244 billion in 2014. Located at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia, China and the Middle East, it is at the centre of a regional market, and, with a population of 185 million inhabitants and large and diverse resources, is an untapped potential for trade. Pakistan’s growing working-age population requires the government to provide adequate services and increase employment, and coupled with economic, governance and security challenges, as well as its susceptibility to natural disasters, economic growth continues to be struggle.
AKDN programmes in Pakistan were among the first to be launched by the agency, and many of the methods employed elsewhere by AKDN agencies, and replicated by other NGOs and governments, were tried first and then refined in Pakistan.
FMFB’s ability to strengthen clients’ entrepreneurial base and build financial, and physical and human capital to secure their future is well recognized, most recently by the 9th Micro-entrepreneurship Awards organized by Citi Foundation and PPAF (2015) which honoured four of FMFB-Pakistan’s clients with national and regional awards. The Bank’s strength as a corporate entity is also acknowledged. It carries a credit rating of A/A-1 with a positive outlook, according to ratings agency JCR-VIS. It has also received multiple awards, such as approved employer accreditation by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (2015), and the MF Transparency Seal of Pricing Transparency (2014).
FMFB-Pakistan offers targeted financial and multi-sectoral products and services based on the evolving needs of its clients, including a wide range of flexible loan products to serve the diverse financial needs of the poor in the rural, urban and peri-urban areas in Pakistan, especially women. Further ensuring the needs of its customers, the Bank also offers a micro-insurance with credit and saving services to all borrowers to provide protection against life, health and asset related liabilities.
With its traditional focus on vulnerable populations, FMFB-Pakistan has sought to ensure a wide outreach and is the first private sector entity that is represented in all of Pakistan’s provinces. In addition to its network of 136 locations, it has introduced branchless banking to Pakistan’s remote and poor areas, in cooperation with the Pakistan Post. These efforts provide a strong and diverse asset base to ensure the financial and operational sustainability of the Bank.
To further tap a greater market share while ensuring that the financial needs of the vulnerable are met adequately, the Bank is in the process of upgrading its technological infrastructure and acquiring a state of the art core banking system. With the new system in place, the Bank will be geared to offer real-time financial services and begin digital financial services.
Building upon its core areas of product development and research, in the coming years the Bank will continue to tailor its products according to the needs of the target populations, and through market based research offer innovative credit products as well as savings, insurance and payments services to bring a larger segment of the population into the formal financial system.