SBP receives big response for Digital Bank Licenses

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State Bank of Pakistan has concluded the process of receiving applications for Digital Banks Licenses as per its announced deadline of March 31, 2022 and receives overwhelming response.

SBP received twenty applications from a diverse range of applicants including domestic commercial banks, microfinance banks, electronic money institutions and FinTech players, said SBP statement.

Foreign players already operating in the digital banking space overseas have also expressed their interest to venture into Pakistani market. The strong interest shown by both local and international players into SBP’s digital banks’ initiative reflects their confidence in the financial sector of Pakistan and the potential of the investment opportunities available in the country. Earlier this year on January 03, 2022, SBP launched its “Licensing and Regulatory Framework for Digital Banks”.

While setting foundation for the customers’ convenience, providing cost effective digital financial services and promoting innovation for achieving SBP’s overall goal of digitization in the banking business, the Framework is primarily aimed at providing financial services to un-served and under-served segments of the society. For achieving the intended objectives under this regulatory initiative, the applications were solicited from interested applicants who can demonstrate strong value proposition, robustness of technological infrastructure, sufficiency of financial strength, high level of technical expertise and effectiveness of their risk management culture in the Digital Banks’ space.

SBP developed and finalized this Framework after an extensive consultative process. Initially, SBP released an exposure draft of this Framework and a targeted survey was launched to invite feedback from a wide range of local as well as international stakeholders. Subsequently, a number of meetings were held with all the stakeholders to further enrich the consultative exercise.—APP

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