Zong secures branchless banking license, operation to start soon

Zong secures branchless banking license, operation to start soonZong is scheduled to start its branchless banking operation in collaboration with Askari Bank by the end of November 2012 an official of the company confirmed MORE. In this regard, State Bank of Pakistan has issued a license to the joint venture Askari-Zong last week.

Zong entered into branchless banking operation back in May 2012 when it started a pilot project in association with Askari Bank that went into audit by State Bank in September.

The license allows Zong to offer complete bouquet of financial services including  mobile accounts, money transfer, utility bill payment etc.

This would be first of its kind financial operation so far in Pakistan that will be a result of a joint venture between a cellular operator and a regular Bank. In past, we have seen branchless banking models from Telenor and Mobilink where the financial entity is a subsidiary of the group.

According to a survey, only 12% of Pakistani adults have the access to financial services or rather banking services. To improve the statistics, mobile banking is taking strength in Pakistan. Recently, the Deputy Governor of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Kazi Abdul Muktadir, said that in a couple of few months, mobile phone and smart card banking accounts have increased to nearly 1.45 million.

The World Bank’s Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) has declared Pakistan to be one of the fastest growing branchless banking markets in the world in its recent study. Such new products and services like Easy Paisa Khushaal from Tameer Microfinance Bank (TMFB) and Telenor is a new kind of joint venture that mobile service providers and banks can get together on.

During the second quarter from April to June 2012, around 30 million Branchless Banking (BB) accounts have been processed worth Rs.115 billion. This amount was alone contributed by TMFB and UBL Omni.