IFC helps Pakistani bank increase lending to small, medium enterprises

ISLAMABAD: IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping improve access to finance and support the growth of small businesses in Pakistan through an agreement with Habib Bank, or HBL.

IFC has helped HBL develop a new suite of financial services, HBL Business Faida, designed specifically for small-scale entrepreneurs. HBL launched the services on November 1 to provide such entrepreneurs access to financing so that they can expand their businesses and create jobs. IFC has also helped HBL develop a new business model for small and medium enterprise banking.

“HBL recognizes the importance of the small and medium enterprise sector as a strong contributor to the country’s economy,” said Mubashar Maqbool, HBL’s head of retail and commercial lending. “We are committed to supporting this sector and aspire to be a leader in this market.”

The bank, with IFC assistance, initially is rolling out HBL Business Faida in the Lahore region, home to 45 percent of the country’s small and medium enterprises. HBL then will launch the program countrywide through its extensive branch network.

“We hope this groundbreaking initiative will trigger the growth of small and medium enterprise banking in Pakistan,” said Kaiser Naseem, head of IFC’s Bank Advisory Services in the Middle East and North Africa. “The success of this joint IFC-HBL initiative will demonstrate to other banks the benefits of lending to this market segment.”

Small-scale entrepreneurs in Pakistan have long had trouble getting bank loans and other forms of financing, which limits their growth prospects. With over 1,450 domestic branches and the new suite of financing products, HBL is well positioned to serve the market.

Pakistan is a priority country for IFC. During the last three years, IFC has ramped up its investments and advisory services work in the country, supporting the development of Pakistan’s private sector. IFC has focused on mobilizing investments in power and infrastructure, and providing access to finance for micro, small, and medium enterprises through financial intermediaries.

Leave a Reply