Karachi: Khushhalibank (KB) announced today that it is extending its partnership with ShoreBank International Ltd (SBI), to develop and roll-out KB branchless banking services in partnership with a national payment platform provider. SBI has received a $1.19million funding extension from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support this partnership initiative with Khushhalibank.
This initiative is an extension of the South Asia Micro Savings Initiative (SAMI) which was implemented by SBI with partners across South Asia, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since the initiation of SAMI in 2009, KB has been able to develop and offer deposit accounts to approximately 350,000 un-served and low-income clients in Pakistan.
Through this extension, KB will continue its mission under SAMI to expand access to savings for low-income populations. The second phase of this project will allow KB to offer its banking products through branchless banking channels, allowing it to expand penetration to the under banked and deepen access to financial services. By linking in with a leading existing digital payment platform, KB will allow low-income customers to access not only savings, but also credit and other financial services over the platform, displacing cash over time and allowing customers to better manage their economic lives.
Ghalib Nishtar, President Khushhalibank, remarked, “Despite having banks, branches, ATMs and more, Pakistan has not been able to reach its full potential, which is where the gap lies in terms of the new frontiers of financial services. The market is there and we are thrilled that KB and SBI can work together during this time of global change to move toward our shared goal of implementing technology-driven services to expand financial access to the under banked.”
A kickoff meeting was held on July 20 between KB and SBI in Islamabad to formally initiate the second phase of the SAMI project. During the meeting, SBI-Pakistan Country Manager Amjad Arbab stated, “SBI attaches a huge amount of importance to this project because it is unique in that two financial institutions are collaborating to serve people in the same market but for different segments. This is a first in Pakistan both from a technology standpoint and a strategy standpoint and SBI is honored to play a role.”
SBI is a US-based consulting and advisory firm that specializes in supporting financial institutions in emerging markets to reach the underserved and unbanked population and has had a permanent presence in Pakistan since 2005. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation support’s financial inclusion initiatives in many developing countries around the world.