Tajik Bankers Visit Pakistan to Study Mobile Financial Services

Pakistan’s mobile banking has gained immense prominence in the world as it is considered as a model to follow for different developing countries seeking to establish advanced financial system.

For instance, a delegation of National Bank of Tajikistan is on its week-long official visit at State Bank of Pakistan to understand regulatory framework for branchless and microfinance banking sector.

The purpose of the visit is to understand regulatory framework for microfinance sector and mobile financial services, which include different issues such as supervision of agents; technological requirements; legislative provisions for payment system and oversight of electronic banking; experience of pilot financial institutions and development of a road map for introducing mobile financial services in Tajikistan.

Tajik’s delegation comprising 6 members mostly heads/directors of supervisory, payment system and microfinance departments held discussions with senior officials from different departments of the State Bank of Pakistan, Tameer Microfinance Bank, United Bank Limited, and MCB Commercial Bank.

It held meetings with technology experts and observed demonstration of different technological instruments for routing transactions. The delegation also visited different agent locations to see how agents are providing different financial services to unbanked clients.

The study visit was facilitated by Development Finance Group of the State Bank of Pakistan and sponsored by M/s Deutsche Gesellschaft fürInternationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) – German International Cooperation under its “Regional Program in Support of Microfinance in Central Asia” to draw up a road map for starting mobile financial services in Tajikistan.

Pakistan has been declared as laboratory of innovation for branchless banking with a variety of business models are emerging that involves a wide range of players, including mobile network operators (MNOs), technology companies, and even a courier business.

The World Economic Forum’ global report on Mobile Financial Services gave extensive coverage on Pakistan, praising the country for its fast developing branchless banking.

The CGAP report said that Pakistan has been showed as one of the fastest developing market for branchless banking in the world.

Presently, the two major branchless banking models have emerged in Pakistan “Easypaisa” by Tameer Microfinance Bank and “Omni’ by United Bank Limited and marked a success story with a span of just two years, the combined daily transaction volume of the two services already averages over 175 thousand, with an average size of Rs 3,700.

In addition to them, there are different banks and mobile operators have introduced their branchless banking services such as First Microfinance Banks collaboration with Pakistan Post, and Dubai Islamic Bank pilot project. MCB Bank and Askari Bank are both expected to roll out their pilot tests shortly.