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Mashreq acquires digital banking license to start operations in Pakistan

By Leandra Monteiro

January 16, 2023

  • Digital Lending
  • Digital Transformation
  • Internet Banking

Mashreq Bank, Mashreq, Mashreq, a financial institution in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), announced the acquisition of a Digital Banking license, under the Digital Regulatory Framework issued by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

Mashreq’s intention is to bring its digital expertise to Pakistan and further the interests of the SBP in the digital arena. With the commencement of digital banking operations, Mashreq will usher in a team of bankers and engineers with a multicultural experience as well as its proven neo-banking capabilities and technology to address the evolving customers’ needs in Pakistan.

Ahmed Abdelaal – Group Chief Executive Officer, Mashreq said, “Our ingress into Pakistan’s banking sector with digital banking solutions is indeed a seminal moment in Mashreq’s strategic expansion plans. I strongly believe we can capitalize on Pakistan’s existing robust financial infrastructure to greatly enhance the banking experience by delivering customer-centric solutions through our products and services.”

Fernando Morillo – Group Head of Retail Bank, Mashreq said, “We look forward to exploring a new Pakistani chapter in our strategic expansion road map. I believe that Mashreq’s vision is in tandem with the country’s Digital Pakistan Initiative. At Mashreq, we applaud the efforts of SBP in laying down the foundation that has catalyzed the digitization 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.”

“As for the country’s flourishing banking sector, Mashreq underpinned with the Digital Banking license, remains committed to deliver its promise of customer value creation and financial inclusion,” he added.

Pakistan has the third largest unbanked adult population globally with about 100 million adults without a bank account and 82% women without any access to financial services. With financial inclusion and customer convenience at the centre, Mashreq is set to bring its premium offerings to empower customers in rural areas and underserved markets. Mashreq plans to increase lending to small businesses and providing consumer loans to low-income households, especially women entrepreneurs and the youth.

Additionally, Mashreq has plans to invest in rural infrastructure, including microfinance institutions. These initiatives will help in increasing access to financial services for underserved populations and promoting economic growth through increased lending activity. Thus, by addressing the distinctive needs of its customers in Pakistan, Mashreq will lay the roadmap for all banking operations entering the country’s financial landscape for years to come.

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