United International Group completes acquisition of Network Microfinance Bank

Islamabad: United International Group (UIG) has completed acquisition of Network Microfinance Bank Limited (NMB), which will be renamed as Apna Microfinance Bank.

The NMB, previously part of the JS Group, which started operations in January 2005, will prove an asset providing an opportunity to support unbanked population, said Mian Shahid, Chairman UIG.

Speaking at a ceremony, he said that poor and low-income groups remain deprived of proper financial services which is impeding their development. He said that 56 per cent of the adult population has no access to formal financial services while only 10 per cent of SMEs are served by banks resulting in socioeconomic disparities. Traditionally, banks would ignore providing loans to poor therefore microfinance banks should come forward to bridge the financial divide, he stressed.

Mian Shahid said that SME sector is backbone of the economy which can minimize inequality only if strengthened. Some policies need to be revisited, he demanded. Apart from conventional banking, Pakistan also needs a strong banking system based on mutual trust, local accountability, participation, creativity and community involvement, he observed.

Microcredit can cause reduction in interest rates by 3060 per cent and increase the level of savings among the poor, he informed. He said that Bangladesh, Kenya, India, South Africa, and Sri Lanka have been performing well in the micro finance sector while we have yet to go a long way.

Mian Shahid said that we will focus on providing financial services to farmers, agriculture market, small sized businesses and individuals. He said that recent decision by Pacra to maintain “A credit rating of United Insurance Company, the main component of UIG and bringing Saudi Pak Insurance Company back to profit proves that dedicated teamwork and caring management model always pay dividends

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