SBP To Award 5 In Principle Approvals For Digital Banks in September

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is likely to award the in-principle approvals in the next few weeks to newly constituted five financial companies for setting up Digital Banks in Pakistan.

The central bank will provide the initial license to these five entities including Easypaisa DB, Hugo Bank, KT Bank, Mashreq Bank, and Raqami.

Industry sources told ProPakistani that the central bank will evaluate the financial strength of their sponsors and will award them initial licenses to these entities likely on September 20.

These banks were given No-Objection Certificates in January 2023 with the directives to establish their corporation including hiring of the staff in the country.

These companies were selected after a thorough and rigorous assessment process on various parameters that included fitness and propriety, experience and financial strength; business plan; implementation plan; funding and capital plan; IT and cybersecurity strategy and outsourcing arrangements, etc.

These companies also presented their business case to the banking regulator. Going forward, these entities will streamline their operations within one year before they are given permission for the pilot and commercial launch of an array of financial services as per their licenses. Among these five entities will set up three full-fledged Digital Banks and two Digital Retail Banks.

According to estimates, these digital financial institutions will attract an investment of Rs. 50 billion from their foreign and local sponsors for meeting the requirement of paid-up capital, operational infrastructure, and human resources.

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