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KARACHI: Dr Reza Baqir, Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Friday, said that digital banks will play a key role in promotion of financial inclusion by providing affordable financial services to unserved and underserved segments of society.

Addressing a webinar titled “Digital Banks-A New Era in Banking” organized by the SBP, in his keynote address, Governor SBP highlighted the potential of digital financial services to become ubiquitous in the banking industry and its significance in terms of inclusion and innovation.

Recently, the SBP has issued “Licensing and Regulatory Framework for Digital Banks”. To create awareness of this important development in regulatory ambit, SBP organized an online event - “Digital Banks - A New Era in Banking” on Friday.

The objective of the webinar was primarily to create awareness about the next generation of banks i.e. digital banks and the potential they offer for financial inclusion in the country. It was also aimed at sharing the details of digital banking framework amongst the market participants and prospective investors and to address their queries.

Discussing the prospects of digital banks in Pakistan, Governor SBP emphasized that one of the key goals of the State Bank was to promote inclusion, innovation, and modernization of financial sector of Pakistan. He emphasized the SBP’s expectations from digital banks in promoting financial inclusion by providing affordable financial services to unserved and underserved segments of society, alongside fostering a new set of customer experience.

He highlighted that how digitization of financial services is picking up pace and is transforming the way banking is done for both individuals and businesses. He mentioned that Pakistan’s journey for digital financial services started in early 2000s, and since then, a number of enabling regulatory initiatives were launched, notably, Branchless Banking Regulatory Framework, Electronic Money Institutions Regulations, Roshan Digital Account, RAAST, Customers’ Digital Onboarding Framework, and Asaan Mobile Accounts, etc.

He further said that Licensing and Regulatory Framework for Digital Banks is another milestone towards digital transformation and a major step towards revolutionizing our banking services industry.

The event was attended by prominent members of the banking community, fintechs, business fraternity and Government agencies. While giving his welcome address, Arshad Mehmood Bhatti Executive Director Banking Policy and Regulation Group, informed the audience that SBP will grant up to five (05) licenses for digital banks, as SBP intends to bring digital banks with strong value proposition, robust technological infrastructure, sufficient financial strength, technical expertise and effective risk management culture. He assured the market participants and potential investors that his team will remain available to provide necessary guidance in this regard.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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