State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has directed local banks to facilitate disabled citizens with special arrangements to provide them access to banking and financial services.
Yet, the local banks are far behind in facilitating disabled persons in Pakistan, limiting their access to financial services.
The banking regulator instructed banks to facilitate customers with visual and hearing impairments through making special arrangements at the branches for them. However, banks have shown reluctance in this regard.
In 2014, SBP instructed the banks to print all the relevant forms, documents, etc., in Braille Script.
The banks were also directed to collaborate and ensure that in a vicinity where various banks are operating, at least one branch should have Talking ATMs for the facilitation of visually challenged persons.
Regarding this, the State Bank has directed the banks to submit the compliance status by December 31, 2020.
These steps will facilitate disabled persons to avail necessary banking services such as opening and operating a bank account, cash withdrawal, cheque book facility, credit cards, ATM or debit cards, mobile and internet banking, lockers, and extension of loans.
The banking regulator prompted all banks, including Microfinance Banks (MFBs) and Development Financial Institutions (DFIs), to construct ramps at all newly opened and existing places of business (excluding Mobile Banking Units) to provide easy access to persons with disabilities and wheelchair users.
SBP has instructed the banks to submit a 2-year time-bound action plan to construct ramps at all-existing places of business by December 31, 2020.
Also, a senior level management committee of the respective banks, MFBs, and DFIs shall be constituted, which will be responsible for monitoring the overall progress in the implementation of the action plan. Furthermore, the quarterly implementation report should be submitted to this committee within 15 days after the end of each quarter.