2,205 Branchless Banking Agents Banned for Violating Rules

Branchless Banking companies have suspended and penalized their 2,025 agents throughout the country, it is learned.

This corrective and punitive measure was taken to control violation of rules and regulations and ensure best business practices in the sector.

Branchless banking companies have not only penalized their respective agents but warned a number of other agents for continuously infringing rules and regulations prescribed by central bank.

These much-awaited measures have been taken in the sector mainly for over-charging customers and avoiding Know-Your-Customer steps, which also impacted negativly on the routine business of the branchless banking sector but it will be good in long-run for agents and operators alike, said the central bank.

The agents’ base decreased slightly in the second quarter of 2016 from April to June as the number of active agents rationalized to 236,874 during current quarter from 240,220 compared to previous quarter.

Also, the agent activity ratio was 68% during the quarter under review, implying that 32% of agents remained inactive during the quarter Apr-Jun 2016. The major reason for this deceleration is that, agents of Omni, Meezan and Upaisa reduced their activity during the quarter

Branchless Banking players have also improved their risk management processes and monitoring systems to control the agent related activities posing reputational and operational risks to BB operations.

They are further required to improve their agent take on procedures, monitoring and compliance mechanism in line with SBP’s Framework for Branchless Banking Agent Acquisition and Management. The responsible agents have a pivotal role to achieve broader objectives of financial inclusion in the country.

In June 2016, State Bank of Pakistan directed banks operating branchless banking companies to take action against agents for being involved in malpractices such over-charging, fraud and forgeries, non-compliance of rules,  illegal banking practices, business with unauthorized agents, frequent denial of services to customers and etc.

Total number of agents grew by 1.6%, reaching 346,716 by the end of Apr-Jun 2016. The share of agents in the market is dominated by Easy Paisa (30%), Jazzcash (18%) and Upaisa by (13%). All players need to activate the existing agents’ infrastructure for promoting BB transactions including opening of new accounts, transfer of funds and raising deposits. HBL Express, Timepay and Mobilepaisa need to put more efforts for utilizing their agent network for BB activities.

During the outgoing quarter, Branchless Banking  transactions grew to 118.8 million valuing Rs. 543.6 billion, which is 2.5% higher in volume and 6.8% higher in value in comparison to the previous quarter. The number of BB accounts have been recovering from a marginal dip in the quarter Jan-Mar 2016, which have risen to 14.6 million (6.6%) during current quarter.

  • I presume over charging is being done everywhere. When mobile balance is loaded (easy load) sometimes load is done less (Rs. 1 or Rs. 2 less). Oneday, I went to an EasyPaisa shop to withdraw money from my mobile account (which is basically free to withdraw as per TOC), he said, Bhai Free Main Nhi Kronga, Rs. 10 Longa. I said, “Acha Bhai, Rakh Lain Aap Kya Yaad Karaingy.”

    • easypaisa agents are doing the same every now and then. i.e today’s due date of your utility bill. By chance, if you come to know at 2300 hrs, you have to pay 1% or 2% extra. This practice need to be noticed by higher authorities.

    • whether it be easypaisa jazzcash etc, they r all thugs. Forget their retailers but even their franchises ask tips for everything whether it be bill payment, mobile load or mobile money transfer. they don’t even deposit money without bribe. And if unfortunately one of your transactions get stuck then you will get to know the reality of their service when their helpline representative will talk to you like a hawaldar of Police Station and weeks and months will go like this with ur problem unaddressed and unresolved. So it’s all just money making, almost Rs.10 company gets just on every utility bill. Other fees apart.

  • Why dont they ban their own agents who deal with (we) agents???? They have near to 0 literacy, they get cash and ask us to wait 3 days, they are dumb, they are nonsense, they are immature, thru even don’t help us when needed. Why only we are the victims????? PTA????

    • Bro take them down,Use ATM card facility it is best remedy.
      If ur account reserves (Balance) remains more than or just 5000,Easypaisa will not charge u a single penny on ATM Cash withdrawal from Any ATM!!!
      Try it bro

  • One thing I also want to mention here that almost all Agents are declining mobile account transactions. For black Friday I visited almost 10 agents for mobile account load and all refuse to do so. This is serious thing because they don’t want people to do all these transactions for themselves so that their business may not hurt.

    Story does not end here I visited the JazzCash Khanapul franchise for mobile load and first they also refuse to do it. After 10 minutes discussion they finally said that their system is not working. These people are hurting this business badly.

    • We have our own relatives as agents in this business, never faced any issue even though when people sent me payment via easypaisa on wrong cnic :) ^_^

    • The one reason I got from an Agent was: “bhai account mn paisy transfer krny ka hmn bonus ya incentive ni milta..to hm q kren aisa kaam jis mn hmn nuqsan ho?”
      Then he asked for 10 rupees fee to transfer balance to my EasyPaisa account.

  • Yesterday I went to EasyPaisa agent to deposit money (25k) into my account, which is free, however he said company don’t give commission for this transaction and asked 100rs for that :) i said rehne do, and got this done free from other big agent.

  • Dear Governor State Bank of Pakistan
    You action against the Branchless Banking irregularities is really appreciated, similarly we request you to take hard action against HBL Express because due to their wrong planning and bogus activities, fake business reporting caused total investment loss of its more than 144 franchisees within Pakistan (more than two Billion rupee loss Scam), It worth to mention that regardless of our complaints on different forums and several email to you and HBL President but no action so far taken from any end.
    We are confident that you will intervene with the strong action to get released the compensation according to the HBL Express HUB owner’s damage claim that resulting from the unplanned & unprofessional behavior of HBL Express Management. It worth to mention that, if HBL Express business was not feasible then why HUB owners were asked initially for the huge dead investment on this white elephant.
    Lest you have forgotten this vital long pending issue and it is just to remind you that still we are sailing in the same boat of uncertainty of the HBL Express business with continues developing loss but no one listening us and consequently we have came on road because we have lost our life time saving (only I myself have lost 5.5 millions rupees in last four year). It is humbly requested please play your role positively and compel HBL to pay compensation of our loss and it is only possible through your support.

    God bless you and amplify your wisdom.

  • Honorable Governor State Bank of Pakisatan
    Honorable President of HBL
    HBL Express story is like a killing plan for looting poor HUB owner’s hard earned money by showing greens gardens but their business was not more than the dry prickly bushes and it was a trap of hunters. Please note that we, specially the Hub owners of non-BSP areas, are the part of the beginner’s 144 franchisees, suffering in drought cyclone since more than four years and if we leave this business means our total investment loss and if we continue this business further means we have to bear more loss in sense of HUB operating cost.

    Please recognize that HBL Express Management is responsible of this loss and it is clear cut HBL policy failure because we accepted this business due to HBL big name. Therefore, you are requested,

    1. Buy back our franchises because this business is not feasible at all.
    2. Compensate our investment and operating loss for last three years (Approximately Five to Eight million rupee per HUB owner).
    3. Ask each franchisee to submit their claims as it was asked during 2013 but not paid our claims yet.
    4. Set an investigation committee to understand the reality of this white elephant & cause of its failure.
    5. Bring to justice its launching team who has started this project without proper feasibility.
    Honorable Sultan Ali Allana, owner of HBL and His Majesty Prince Agha Khan, please intervene and help us on humanitarian ground because we have lost our life time saving in this business and it is impossible to earn that much during our remaining life. Being a highly praiseworthy personality on the face of the earth, please support for our right cause.

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