Ufone and NBP Sign MOU for Long Term Strategic Partnership

National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Ufone today signed an MoU under which Ufone will arrange the disbursement and repayment of Prime Minister’s Youth Business Loans.

This long-term arrangement between NBP and Ufone will include a series of partnerships that both the organizations will undergo in phases, including the provision of customized ICT solution to National Bank of Pakistan, a SMS notification portal for NBP with customization for different pull and push notification.

Down the line, Ufone will handle the SMS and mobile application for banking related initiatives. It will also assist NBP for Contact Center services, which includes, provision of a CMS (Complaint Management System) and Call Center related services.

Officials of Ufone and NBP told ProPakistani that this strategic partnership of both the organization is first of its kind in Pakistan where a bank and a cellular company are joining hands to facilitate their customers with technologically advanced financial solutions.

Both parties agreed on deploying a number of project together, but in phases, that will include the provision of branch-less banking services to NBP account holders, such as withdrawal and deposit services at over 27,000 Upaisa agents across the country.

Down the line, NBP, the largest bank in Pakistan, will be able to disburse funds for salaried accounts, bill payments, advance salary loans, loans repayments and renewals through Ufone’s UPaisa.

Ufone is also set to assist NBP in Pension Disbursement and brand promotion through various co-branding initiatives e.g. Debit Card.

The representatives of National Bank at this MOU Signing ceremony were Mr. Mudassir H. Khan – SEVP & Group Chief, Commercial & Retail Banking Group (C&RBG), Mr. S. H. Irtiza Kazmi – EVP & Coordinator – PMYBL, C&RBG, Ms. Nageen Rizvi – VP & Unit Head Marketing & Promotions PMYBL, C&RBG.

From Ufone Mr. Mr. Jamal Eddine Trache (Chief Officer – Contracts & Procurement, Mr. Yousef Al Zaabi (Chief Officer HR, Admin & Security) and also acting CEO, Mr. Ahmad Kamal (Chief Officer – Customer Operations), Mr. Naveed Khalid Butt (Chief Officer – Government & Regulatory Affairs), Mr. Atif Ishaque (General Manager Customer Operations) and Mr. Taimur Faiz Cheema (General Manager Marketing) were present.

The Group Chief and SEVP National Bank of Pakistan, Mr. Mudassir Khan stated that the majority of people in Pakistan are unbanked or have no access to organized banking sector. Various surveys show that in this specific sector the undocumented borrowing culture has imposed excessive requirements on collateral/ guarantees and prohibitively high lending rates, resulting in supply-side barriers that are likely to negatively affect the growth of SMEs.

Mr. Mudassir Khan stated that backed by a strong banking expertise and an in-depth knowledge of the emerging socio-economic markets, and driven by a deep and compassionate understanding of the poverty factor, National Bank of Pakistan along with its various corporate alliances is fully prepared to offer viable answers to how poverty can be alleviated and optimistically reduced in the near future through the success of PMYBL scheme.

Ufone has a wide network of mobile users who can benefit from the PMYBL scheme if the awareness is created about the scheme and the application procedures are made easier.

Banking will be made accessible to the 80% of the population through their mobile phones which will provide them with immediate access to financial solutions. The customers will be assisted by a 24 hour contact center help line for their queries or complaints.

Mr. Irtiza Kazmi, the Executive Vice President and the Coordinator for PMYBL said that the people who need to benefit from small loans live in remote and rural areas which are often difficult to access. Conventionally, banks have been reluctant in venturing into this area due to numerous challenges of operating in the unorganized sector. NBP’s existing presence in the agriculture and retail sectors can be leveraged to take advantage of this opportunity for emancipating the small businessmen, armed forces and retired employees.

He also added that various surveys show in the unorganized lending sector the borrowers are burdened with high lending rates and excessive requirements on collateral and guarantees exist, resulting in supply-side barriers that are likely to negatively affect the growth of SMEs and serve as the most serious barriers to accessing financial institutions.

Mr. Kazmi added that backed by a strong banking expertise and an in-depth knowledge of the emerging socio-economic markets, and driven by a deep and compassionate understanding of the poverty factor, National Bank of Pakistan along with its various corporate alliances is fully prepared to offer viable answers to how poverty can be alleviated and optimistically reduced in the near future through the success of PMYBL scheme.

He said that the formation of alliance with Ufone would lead to the availability of funds to the borrowers of the scheme at the convenience of their neighborhood and SME financing will assist in secured provision of funds for their enhancing of existing or developing of new small businesses.

Thanks to the leadership role played by State Bank of Pakistan by being a progressive and dynamic regulator, Pakistan is one of the fastest growing financial services markets all over the world. The challenge (as well as opportunity) is simple i.e. bridging the gap between tele-density and banking coverage.

Banking coverage in Pakistan is approximately 28 million accounts as per State Bank statistics whereas tele-density has crossed 112 million. There are estimated 84 million cell phone subscribers who don’t have any bank account but can now enjoy luxury of having a truly real-time online mobile account or wallet on their cell phones.

A wallet that could manage their savings, loans, purchases, funds transfers, utility bills, insurance and mobile top ups etc. on click of a button. Hence, sustaining branchless banking to all the unbanked people of Pakistan.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK