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A new dawn - SBP grants approval to five digital retail banks

A new dawn - SBP grants approval to five digital retail banks


SBP approval will transform financial landscape

KARACHI (Dunya News) - In a bid to foster innovation, financial inclusion and availability of affordable digital financial services, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has granted in-principle approval for establishing five digital retails banks.

The banks are HugoBank Limited, KT Bank Pakistan Limited, Mashreq Bank Pakistan Limited, Raqami Islamic Digital Bank Limited and Telenor Microfinance Bank Limited. 

It may be recalled that the SBP issued NoCs to five successful applicants for establishing digital banks in Pakistan in January 2023.

After the fulfillment of the necessary requirements, these entities have now been granted in-principle approval to prepare themselves operationally to launch the digital financial services.

At a momentous ceremony at the SBP Museum Building in Karachi, Governor Jameel Ahmad awarded IPAs to the five proposed digital banks. This event was attended by sponsors of proposed DRBs, CEOs of incumbent banks, Payment System Operators (PSOs)/ Payment System Providers (PSPs), Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs), Fintechs and SBP’s top management. 

During his address, the SBP governor highlighted the significance of the initiative of introducing DRBs in the country, its profound benefits to the financial system and some of the key challenges faced by such genre of financial players. 

Jameel also mentioned a few other important regulatory initiatives in support of building a digital financial ecosystem and assured that the SBP was fully committed to supporting various stakeholders for a bright, innovative, and digitally empowered future of banking in Pakistan. 

Jameel assured the financial fraternity of SBP's commitment to make financial system more inclusive, more innovative, and more responsive to the needs of the citizens of Pakistan. He also shared his expectations that post operational commencement, digital banks would help develop a digital eco-system, foster a new set of customer experience, provide affordable digital financial services including credit access to unserved and underserved segments of society.

Earlier this year, the SBP issued NOCs to the proposed DRBs allowing them to incorporate as a Public Limited Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).