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UAE’s Mashreq obtains digital banking license in Pakistan

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Mashreq plans to increase lending to small businesses and provide consumer loans to low-income households

UAE’s Mashreq has acquired a digital banking license under the digital regulatory framework issued by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the bank said in a statement.

Ahmed Abdelaal, group CEO, Mashreq, said the move will act as a catalyst in leading the evolution of digital finance and the wider digital economy in Pakistan through the deployment of transformational banking platforms and solutions.  

Fernando Morillo, group head of retail bank, Mashreq, added that the bank aims to create and deploy a digital ecosystem in Pakistan with infrastructure and institutional frameworks for the rapid delivery of digital services.

Pakistan has the third largest unbanked adult population globally, with about 100 million adults without a bank account and 82 percent of women without any access to financial services. 

According to the World Bank, 63 percent of Pakistan’s population comprises youth aged 15 and 33, making it an important market for Mashreq. 

The UAE-based bank plans to increase lending to small businesses and provide consumer loans to low-income households, especially women entrepreneurs and youth. Mashreq also intends to invest in rural infrastructure, including microfinance institutions. 

The statement said these initiatives will help increase access to financial services for underserved populations and promote economic growth through increased lending activity.