Number of Bank Accounts in Pakistan Cross 177 Million

Pakistan’s banking system, including commercial and microfinance banks, branchless banking sector, and Electronic Money Institutions, has an account base of over around 177 million by the end of June 2023.

This was disclosed by the Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Jameel Ahmad while delivering his keynote address at the inaugural event of Pakistan Financial Literacy Week (PFLW) held today at Learning Resource Centre, SBP, Karachi.

He said 83 million are unique accounts, which is 60 percent of the 137 million adult population.

The total number of accounts owned by women is 49 million, of which unique accounts are 29 million. These 29 million unique accounts represent more than 43 percent of the female adult population.

Although the financial inclusion indicators have shown improvement over the past few years, significant efforts are still required to catch up with regional and peer economies. In our strategic plan for the next five years “SBP Vision 2028”, we aim to strengthen the financial inclusion framework through targeted policy initiatives with enhanced focus on digital means, he further said.

Governor SBP mentioned that the initiative of the State Bank of Pakistan to hold a National Financial Literacy Program, one for adults and one for youngsters, is instrumental in disseminating financial literacy to more than 2.9 million individuals, with more than 50 percent female participation. In addition, an impressive 80 percent account opening rate of beneficiaries was witnessed under NFLP. The theme for the week is ‘Digital Bankari – fori aur asaan’.

The event was attended by Presidents and CEOs of commercial banks, senior officials from the World Bank, Alliance for Financial Inclusion, and other stakeholders. He said that SBP fully recognizes access to financial services as a fundamental right, and SBP’s mission is to empower every citizen by providing them with the tools and knowledge needed to participate fully in the economy.

The Governor said that an inclusive financial sector is not only important for the overall growth of the banking industry but also augments monetary policy transmission channels and increases its effectiveness.

Ahmad went on to add that SBP has always been working on increasing the availability and utilization of financial services for people and businesses to meet their financial services needs in a fair and dignified manner.

The key initiatives taken for expanding financial services to the unbanked and underbanked segments of society include the implementation of national-level strategies and policies such as the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, National Financial Literacy Program and Banking on Equality Policy.

He shared that SBP has been implementing a number of initiatives under the national level policies which are uniquely positioned to benefit all segments of the population, i.e. RAAST, ASAAN Digital Account, ASAAN Mobile Account and more recently Digital Banks and specialized schemes to enhance access to finance.

The specialized schemes include the SME Asaan Finance Scheme (SAAF), Refinance and Credit Guarantee Scheme for Women Entrepreneurs, Line of Credit for MSMEs, and Prime Minister’s Youth Business and Agriculture Loan Scheme (PMYB&ALS). After the Governor’s inaugural speech, the Excellence Awards were conferred upon various commercial banks that actively participated in the National Financial Literacy Program since its commencement in 2017 and contributed to improving financial literacy among the beneficiaries. The second session of the event included a panel discussion, where experts and thought leaders explored the future landscape of digital finance.

The discussion delved into emerging trends, challenges, and opportunities in the rapidly evolving digital financial ecosystem. Panelists, representing diverse sectors, shared insights on how technology is reshaping the financial industry and discussed strategies to ensure a secure and inclusive digital finance landscape.

SBP in collaboration with stakeholders, actively shapes an ecosystem that embraces technological advancements. This collaborative effort ensures financial stability and sustainability, critical components in the nation’s journey towards a digitally empowered and financially inclusive society.

As Financial Literacy Week progresses, a wide range of programs and activities, both on-ground and online have been designed to raise awareness and educate citizens on the importance of financial literacy in the evolving digital era.

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