Mashreq acquires digital banking license to commence operations in Pakistan
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Mashreq acquires digital banking licence to commence operations in Pakistan

Mashreq acquires digital banking licence to commence operations in Pakistan

The lender aims to invest in the country’s rural infrastructure, including microfinance institutions

Mashreq acquires digital banking license to commence operations in Pakistan

Dubai-based lender Mashreq has announced that it acquired a digital banking licence to commence operations in Pakistan.

The licence was acquired under the digital regulatory framework issued by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

With the beginning of digital banking operations, Mashreq will introduce bankers and engineers as well as its Neo banking capabilities to address the evolving customers’ needs in Pakistan.

Read: Mashreq NEO to become UAE’s first digital bank to use facial recognition for account opening

Mashreq said in a statement that “it has always considered Pakistan to be an attractive financial destination owing to the unprecedented growth and turnaround of the country’s banking sector in recent years.”

“Our ingress into Pakistan’s banking sector with the digital banking solutions is indeed a seminal moment in Mashreq’s strategic expansion plans,” said Ahmed Abdelaal – group chief executive officer, Mashreq.

“I strongly believe we can capitalise on Pakistan’s existing robust financial infrastructure to greatly enhance the banking experience by delivering customer centric solutions through our products and services.”

“Mashreq will, without a doubt, prove to be a catalyst in leading the evolution of digital finance and the wider digital economy in Pakistan through the deployment of truly transformational banking platforms and solutions.”

Pakistan has the third largest unbanked adult population globally, with around 100 million adults without a bank account and 82 per cent women without any access to financial services. According to the World Bank, 63 per cent of the country’s population comprises youth aged between 15 and 33 years.

Mashreq is set to bring its offerings to empower customers in rural areas and underserved markets, while the lender also aims to contribute to the economic activity by increasing lending to small businesses and providing consumer loans to low-income households, especially women entrepreneurs and youth.

“I believe that Mashreq’s vision is in tandem with the country’s Digital Pakistan Initiative,” added Fernando Morillo – group head of retail bank, Mashreq.

“At Mashreq, we applaud the efforts of SBP in laying down the foundation that has catalysed the digitisation of the country’s banking sector, transforming it as a whole. Through this powerful synergy, we aim to create and deploy a digital ecosystem in the country with infrastructure and institutional frameworks for the rapid delivery of innovative digital services.”

The Dubai-based lender said that i plans to invest in rural infrastructure, including microfinance institutions to help increase access to financial services for underserved populations and promoting economic growth through increased lending activity.

Mashreq has continued to expand its presence across markets and geographies. In 2021, it inaugurated a representative office in Shanghai amid a strategic move to expand its presence in China.

Read: UAE’s Mashreq opens first representative office in Shanghai

The lender posted Dhs2.6bn in net profit for Q3 2022, while its operating income increased by 24.3 per cent over the previous year to reach Dhs5.3bn.

Read more: UAE’s Mashreq bank posts net profit of Dhs2.6bn for Q3 2022

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