Branchless banking shows impressive growth in first quarter of FY12: State Bank

Karachi: Branchless banking in Pakistan has shown impressive growth in first quarter of current fiscal year (FY12) according to latest State Bank of Pakistan SBP publication.

It says branchless banking would prove a game-changer in improving access of unbanked population to financial services in the country. Total number of active branchless banking agents reached to 17,448 in short span of two years whereas number of branches of all commercial banks is almost 10,000. Total number of active branchless banking accounts increased by 51.23% to 357,598, total branchless banking deposits by 28.03% to Rs 187 million, number of transactions by 26.93% to 15.867 million and volume of transactions by 43.20% to Rs 58,710 million during July-September, 2011 quarter.

Average size of branchless banking transaction is Rs 3,700 while average number of transaction per day is 176,296 in first quarter of FY12, showing evidence of access of these services to poor and low-income group. Almost half of its users did not have a bank account and almost two-thirds used service regularly. These results hint at considerable un-met demand for efficient, low cost and accessible financial services.

Pakistan has huge potential in branchless banking as mobile phone banking successfully emerged in Pakistan after issuance of branchless banking regulations in March, 2008. Early success of mobile banking in Pakistan is attributable to collaborative efforts of wide range of stakeholders – government, regulatory authorities, development agencies, NADRA, telecom operators, financial institutions, technology firms.

Innovative branchless banking models have been penetrating in massive payments such as utility bills, Government-to-persons, persons-to-persons payments while poising for scaling up for other services relating to deposits and loans. Branchless banking models are witnessing growth but are still in early-phase experimentation, requiring understanding of critical issues and taking measures to expand retail networks, leverage technologies. Once these models reach to degree of maturity, inter-operability will come in to facilitate customers to send money to anyone with account at any bank, do cash-in, cash-out with agent of any bank. Getting to this ultimate stage will be both exciting and challenging.

SBP decided to publish Branchless Banking News on quarterly basis to disseminate development in branchless banking. July-September quarter first periodical document published and serve as information hub for all developments in branchless banking, regional, international news. It has detailed overview of current branchless banking developments, initiatives taken by SBP, other stakeholders, branchless banking snapshot of two major models – Easypaisa & Omni, salient revisions in branchless banking regulations, outcomes of G2P conference & AFI Global forum, CGAP surveys on branchless banking models in Pakistan.

Leave a Reply