Meezan Bank and Karandaaz Pakistan Sign a First-of-Its-Kind Digital Credit Program MoU
Meezan Bank and Karandaaz Pakistan have recently signed a Digital Credit Program MoU, a first-of-its-kind initiative aimed at improving financial inclusion for the unbanked population of the country. The MoU forms the foundation for the parties’ long term goal to improve the socio-economic status of the low-income strata population by developing a program for extending direct credit to the masses.
Under the agreement, Karandaaz Pakistan and Meezan Bank will join hands to conduct a study for a pilot program aimed at using technology to evaluate and extend micro-credit to underprivileged members of the country. The study will evaluate the proposition from various perspectives encompassing financial inclusion, segment-based beneficiary identification, creation of AI (Artificial Intelligence) based digital credit scoring system and conducting awareness programs about this initiative for the masses. Another key objective supported by this MoU is the development of a technological infrastructure for Meezan Bank that would enable it to provide digital financial services focused on financial inclusion. The Bank shall later roll out a comprehensive program based on a digital scorecard algorithm which would instantly evaluate, approve and disburse micro-sized credits, thus creating a sophisticated digital lending mechanism. Meezan Bank will provide micro-funding through its Shariah-compliant products and procedures, further encouraging economic betterment at the grass-root level. The Bank will utilize ‘Meezan Upaisa’- the world’s first Islamic Branchless Banking platform, a joint venture between Meezan Bank and Ufone for this purpose, owing to its vast rural presence. Karandaaz Pakistan will provide technical and financial assistance for conducting the study and developing the program.
The signing ceremony of this MoU took place at Meezan Bank’s Head Office at Karachi, and was attended by senior management from both organizations including Mr. Irfan Siddiqui, President & CEO, Mr. Arshad Majeed, Group Head Payment Services, Mr. Khurram Shaikh, Head Branchless Banking, Mr. Danish Ahmed, Head Branchless Banking Operations from Meezan Bank and Mr. Imdad Aslam, Interim CEO, Director Digital Financial Services, Mr. Bilal Ali Qureshi -, Associate Digital Financial Services and Ms. Samar Hasan, Senior Manager Knowledge Management and Communications from Karandaaz Pakistan.
Commenting on the occasion Mr. Arshad Majeed said,
Meezan Bank is already on its way towards accomplishing the financial inclusion goals through its Islamic Branchless Banking services. Our collaboration with Karandaaz Pakistan will allow us to capitalize on our branchless banking capabilities for extending microfinance credit to individuals belonging to the unbanked and underdeveloped regions of the country. Subsequently as this project matures, we shall Insha’Allah see a full scale impression on the Pakistani market.
Mr. Imdad Aslam, Director and Interim CEO, Karandaaz Pakistan spoke of the parties’ commitment and desire to work together and said,
The collaboration between Karandaaz Pakistan and Meezan Bank will have immediate and promising gains for Pakistan’s economy by driving technological growth and providing an expansive reality to Islamic microfinance, particularly to the individuals who are inhibited by barriers associated with a weak banking infrastructure in the rural areas. We believe this to be an excellent opportunity to introduce Pakistan’s unbanked population to digital financial services so as to drive them towards greater financial inclusion.
About Meezan Bank
Meezan Bank is the 7th largest bank in Pakistan and the leading Islamic bank of the country. The Bank provides a comprehensive range of Islamic banking products and services through a retail banking network of more than 550 branches in 143 cities supported by a countrywide network of over 400 ATMs, Visa and MasterCard Debit cards, a 24/7 Call Center, Internet Banking and Mobile Banking facility.
Meezan Bank has consistently been recognized as the Best Islamic Bank in Pakistan by numerous local and international institutions, which is a testimony of the Bank’s commitment to excellence. These institutions include Islamic Finance News – Malaysia, Global Finance magazine – New York, Asset AAA – Hong Kong, Asiamoney – Hong Kong, The Banker – United Kingdom and CFA Association – Pakistan.
The JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited, an affiliate of Japan Credit Rating Agency, Japan has reaffirmed the Bank’s long-term entity rating of AA (Double A) and short-term rating at A1+ (A One Plus) with stable outlook. The rating indicates sound performance indicators of the Bank. Meezan Bank is the only Islamic bank with AA credit rating in the Islamic banking industry in Pakistan.