COMPANY NEWS

Published December 5, 2022

TMB announces $15m equity injection

Telenor Microfinance Bank (TMB), an operator of Pakistan’s leading digital payments platform Easypaisa, has received a $15m (Rs3.4bn) equity injection from its shareholders Telenor Group and Ant Group, according to a press release. This is the first tranche of a total investment of $30m planned by the shareholders to support the latest business plan.

This tranche brings the total equity invested by the shareholders since 2018 to $305m. The investment has further strengthened the bank’s capital position and placed the organisation on an upward trajectory to continue its growth in Pakistan’s digital finance space.

Senior management from both Telenor Group and Ant Group visited Pakistan a few weeks earlier to meet the Leadership team of TMB and reaffirmed their support for the bank’s future roadmap.

In pursuit of its mission of creating a financially inclusive and cashless society, TMB has become the first bank in Pakistan to roll out a digital-first model successfully. With more than 11m monthly active users, the platform continues to diversify its offerings. It enables customers to use a suite of digital financial services, including payments, savings, and digital lending, eliminating the need to come to a branch physically.

Commenting on the development, M. Mudassar Aqil, CEO Telenor Microfinance Bank & Easypaisa said: “We are thankful to our shareholders for their continuous trust and confidence in us. The commitment by Telenor Group and Ant Group is evident from the $305m investment to date in the business, which is the largest foreign direct investment in the history of Pakistan’s banking sector. This equity injection will allow us to pursue our Digital-First strategy and make digital financial services accessible to every Pakistani.

“With more than 11 million monthly active users and growing, together with the largest digital payments platform in the country, we remain committed to transforming Pakistan into a cashless and financially inclusive society through collaboration and technology.”

Being the leader of the fintech revolution in Pakistan, Telenor Microfinance Bank/Easypaisa is providing best-in-class services to millions of users across Pakistan. The bank continues to work towards financially empowering Pakistanis through a robust portfolio of innovative digital banking solutions in line with its mission of a financially inclusive Pakistan.

NBP signs up with 1Link

NBP becomes the first bank to sign up with 1Link to enable 3D secure digital commerce and payments for UnionPay international debit and virtual cards, as per a press release. Muhammad Hamayun Sajjad, Chief Digital Officer NBP, Nadeem Haroon, Country Manager UPI, Pakistan, and Najeed Agarawalla, CEO 1Link, along with their team members, were present on the occasion.

ILO recognises MMBL’s WIN programme

Mobilink Microfinance Bank’s (MMBL) flagship women empowerment programme, ‘Women Inspirational Network (WIN)’ has been recognised at the Women Empowerment Conference held in Karachi — a joint venture of the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan (EFP) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), under PRS/STRIDE project funded by Government of Japan, as a best practice case study in ILO’s upcoming publication documenting similar cases globally, according to a press release.

Senator Rukhsana Zuberi graced the event as chief guest.

Mobilink Microfinance Bank is part of the VEON group, a global digital operator that provides converged connectivity and online services across seven countries. As part of its digital operator strategy, VEON is transforming people’s lives, creating opportunities for greater digital inclusion, and driving economic growth across countries that are home to more than 8pc of the global population.

Women empowerment remains a strategic priority in MMBL’s long-term ambition of fostering inclusive and sustainable economic growth and prosperity across Pakistan. The WIN programme aims to help bridge the gender gap in economic opportunity by enabling women entrepreneurs to succeed professionally through skill development, digital and financial literacy, strategic guidance, and access to customised banking products and services.

Thus far, the programme has equipped 900+ women entrepreneurs with the skills to make informed business decisions and drive their businesses toward prosperity. These inspirational stories have encouraged thousands of aspiring women entrepreneurs to take their first steps toward financial independence, leading to significant growth in MMBL’s female borrower base and heralding a robust change at the grassroots level.

Welcoming this development, President & CEO MMBL, Ghazanfar Azzam, said, “WIN receiving global recognition for its impact on women empowerment in Pakistan is commendable. Diversity and inclusion are deeply woven into MMBL’s business philosophy, and we have undertaken concrete steps to inspire inclusive and sustainable development at the national level.

“Besides our efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, our nine-point Agenda for Financial Inclusion 2.0 is a pioneering policy document focused on enabling the rapid development of the digital financial ecosystem in Pakistan for an amplified and long-term impact.”

Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, December 5th, 2022

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