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Role of microfinance banks in poverty reduction and economic growth


In 2008, the bank was founded with a mission to alleviate poverty in Pakistan. FINCA provides state-of-the-art deposit and payment solutions including micro-credit facilities aimed at improving livelihoods in Pakistan.

Khushali Microfinance Bank

Founded in the year 2000, Khushhali Microfinance Bank Limited was a part of the Government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s Poverty Reduction Strategy and its Microfinance Sector Development Program (MSDP). MSDP was developed with the facilitation of Asian Development Bank (ADB). With its headquarters based in Islamabad, Khushhali Microfinance Bank (KMBL) operates under the supervision of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

Apna Microfinance Bank

Apna Microfinance Bank managed by Group of highly experienced bankers committed and specialized in providing financial services to less privileged/marginal poor including economic empowerment of women & micro-entrepreneurs in the Agri and Micro enterprises in rural areas of Pakistan. It is a private commercial microfinance bank, currently licensed by the State Bank of Pakistan under the Microfinance Ordinance 2001 to operate its operations nation-wide. Their main focus is to provide personalized services to the poor segment of the society through their dedicated products that aims to change lifestyle of micro-entrepreneurs by offering them the lowest markup rate in the market.

Advans Pakistan

Advans Pakistan is a microfinance bank which provides adapted financial services including accessible loans, attractive deposits and insurance to MSMEs and low-income populations in Pakistan. Serving clients from several different areas of Karachi, their main aim is to offer customers a complete range of tailored financial products and quality financial services.

Telenor Bank

Telenor Microfinance Bank Limited, is the first scheduled microfinance bank in Pakistan. They have a distribution network of 75,000 agents and 176 branches nationwide. Telenor Microfinance Bank provides microfinance and related financial services to the less privileged and unbanked segment of the society, with an aim to contribute towards poverty eradication under the Microfinance Institution Ordinance, 2001.

First Micro Finance Bank

The First Micro Finance Bank Limited, Pakistan (FMFB-P) was established in 2002 as a nation-wide microfinance bank, licensed by the State Bank of Pakistan. FMFB-P was created through a structured transformation of the credit and savings section of the Aga Khan Rural Support Program’s (AKRSP), an integrated development program to pioneer the microfinance sector in the country since 1982 in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. FMFB-P was established with the mission to respond to poverty and contributes to the social and economic well-being of society by providing opportunities to thousands of under-privileged households. Through targeted financial and multi-sectoral products and services based on the evolving needs of the poor, FMFB-P enables its clients to strengthen their entrepreneurial base and build financial, physical and human capital to secure their future.


NRSP Microfinance Bank Limited is one of the leading microfinance banks in Pakistan. It commenced its operations in March 2011 with a strong social mission to provide financial services to poor and marginalized clients including small and landless farmers. The Bank also offers quality banking services to its valued clients including government and private institutions.

Pak Oman

Inaugurated on May 21, 2006 as a nationwide micro finance bank. Their sponsors are Sultanate of Oman with 67% shareholding and Pak Oman Investment company (joint venture between Government of Pakistan and Sultanate of Oman) with 33% shareholding. The Bank is offering a range of micro credit and micro savings products and services and aspires to become an engine of job creation for the under privileged segments of our society.


Sindh Micro Finance Bank

The Sindh Microfinance Bank Limited (SMFB) has started its microfinance business operations on May 3, 2016 from its Karachi Branch. Sindh Microfinance Bank aims to focus on serving the under-privileged segment of society by introducing products easily accessible to those who are not able to avail banking services of conventional financial institutions. With the vision to empower women, SMFB shall establish Service Centers providing credit facilities exclusively to women. Though the savings, loans and other banking facilities shall be available to all small entrepreneurs, but special attention would be given to low income section of the society.

U Microfinance Bank

U Microfinance Bank Limited (U Bank) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) – Etisalat Company. The bank has a network of 149 touch points, across 108 cities and rural areas in Pakistan and offers a wide range of microfinance loans, deposit products, and branchless banking solutions. U Microfinance Bank is proud to be at the front line of fighting poverty in Pakistan and is dedicated to play its critical part in the implementation of National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2020 that aims to bring 50% of Pakistan’s adult population into banking net.

Kashf Foundation

Kashf was set up in 1996 as the first specialized microfinance institution of Pakistan and began operations as a Grameen replicator. Since then Kashf has successfully carved out a distinct and unique niche for itself in the microfinance sector at home and abroad by offering a suite of innovative and transformative products and services to low-income households especially women. Kashf offers appraisal backed individual lending to its clients along with other non-financial services to have a transformative impact at the household level.

Waseelamicro Finance Bank (Mobilink)

Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited (MMBL) is Pakistan’s largest digital bank with over 15 million mobile wallets. Backed by Global Telecom — VEON Co., MMBL started operations in April 2012 and launched branch-less banking operations under the brand name JAZZCASH in partnership with Pakistan’s largest telecom operator JAZZ in Nov 2012. Being a hybrid model that combines traditional micro finance with mobile/digital banking technologies, the bank now operates with 61 branches, 1300 employees, a network of over 76,590 branch-less banking agents (growing) and a USSD (GSM) based digital channel in the country offering savings, micro enterprise (MSME) loans, small housing loans, remittances, collection (of utility bills and loan installments), mobile wallets, insurance, G2P, B2B & B2P payments and thus playing a leading role in promotion of financial inclusion.


It is a non-profit company established in 2001 and registered with SECP. Akhuwat aims to alleviate poverty by creating a bond of solidarity between the affluent and the marginalized. Their goal is to develop and sustain a social system based on mutual support. They extend a helping hand to the poverty-stricken by providing interest-free loans so they can start a business and become self-reliant.

The writer is a Karachi based freelance columnist and is a banker by profession. He could be reached on Twitter @ReluctantAhsan

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