In a statement issued this Wednesday, Habib Bank Limited (HBL) has acquired 51 percent stake in First Micro Finance Bank Ltd. (FMFB), Pakistan’s first and oldest microfinance bank with its presence in more than 150 locations covering 66 districts nationwide. The bank’s roots lie in the credit and savings programs initiated by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) started back in 1982.
FMFB offers targeted financial and multi-sectorial products and services, based on the ever changing needs of its clients, including a wide range of flexible loan products to serve the diverse financial needs of the unbanked and the under-banked in the rural, urban and semi-urban areas in Pakistan,” the statement said. “The bank also offers micro-insurance products with credit and saving services to all borrowers to provide protection against life, health and financial liabilities.”
An event was held in Islamabad with the presence of Princess Zahra Aga Khan and Prince Rahim Aga Khan for the signing ceremony. Sultan Ali Allana, chairman at HBL said the acquisition is in sync with the bank’s promise to be a front-liner in financial inclusion with a focus on serving clients from all segments of the society and across all areas of the country. Nauman K Dar, president and chief executive officer at HBL said the investment will enable the bank to accelerate the financial inclusion and rapidly scale up the customer base in the microfinance space.
HBL also promises to incorporate its guidance and technology based protocols such as branchless banking and mobile banking which suit the microfinance space as majority of the users in rural areas lack proper access, knowledge or the means to avail such services as walk-in customers and will also make it an easier and hassle free process for consumers.