In a first, SBP to facilitate 'mentally disordered persons' to open accounts

Published June 9, 2021
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said it had previously introduced initiatives for persons with disabilities, including giving special consideration to their employment and improvement in accessibility infrastructures in branches. — APP/File
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said it had previously introduced initiatives for persons with disabilities, including giving special consideration to their employment and improvement in accessibility infrastructures in branches. — APP/File

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Wednesday announced that "mentally disordered persons" could open a bank account through a court-appointed manager for the first time in the country's history.

In a press release, the central bank said a new category, "mentally disordered person account", had been created in the SBP's Anti-Money Launde­r­ing, Combating the Financing of Terrorism & Countering Prolife­ra­tion Financing (AML/CFT/CPF) regulations.

"State Bank advised all banks to facilitate the mentally disordered persons by allowing them to open and maintain a bank account with the help of a court-appointed manager as per the applicable laws related to mental health," the release stated.

It said the "well-defined" process for opening the account was devised after thorough discussions with stakeholders. The process includes the presentation of valid identity documents and biometric verification of the person and the court-appointed manager through the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).

The bank would also verify the court order to determine the authenticity of the appointed manager, the press release said, adding "All CDD (customer due diligence) requirements should be completed for both persons to meet AML/CFT/CPF regulations."

SBP said that a new comprehensive financial inclusion policy for persons with disabilities would be unveiled soon, which along with the "mentally disordered person account", would "pave the way for universal financial inclusion including those of marginalised segments".

The press release recalled that the SBP had previously introduced initiatives for persons with disabilities, including giving special consideration to their employment and improvement in accessibility infrastructures such as ramps and wheelchair facilities in branches.

"SBP has also made available subsidised financial facilities and credit guarantee schemes for differently abled persons. All these measures are being undertaken under a broader objective of improving financial inclusion in the country," the release added.

Last year, the central bank had assured President Arif Alvi of supporting people with disabilities.

SBP Governor Dr Reza Baqir had said that a sizeable number of differently abled persons did have the capacity to work and contribute to the mainstream economic activities and thus support their families. He had urged the banks to explore avenues to make inclusion of this untapped segment of the economy a reality.

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