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Telenor Bank Granted In-Principle Approval for Digital Retail Bank

ISLAMABAD: Telenor Microfinance Bank, operator of Pakistan’s leading digital financial services platform, easypaisa, has received In-Principle Approval (IPA) for Digital Retail Bank (DRB) license from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) under the Licensing and Regulatory Framework for Digital Banks.

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This remarkable achievement positions TMB as a digital bank poised to offer a wide array of exciting financial services primarily through digital channels, revolutionizing the digital banking experience for millions of Pakistanis, said a press release issued here on Friday.

Telenor Microfinance Bank receives in-principle approval to establish digital retail bank

The SBP hosted a ceremony in Karachi to officially grant In-Principle Approval to five banks, including TMB. The event saw the presence of sponsors of other DRBs, incumbent bank CEOs, financial institutions, fintechs, SBP’s top management, as well as TMB’s senior management and shareholders, including Kashif Ahmed, Acting CEO, Amna Abbas, CLO, Solomon Jamin, Vice President, Investment Management, Telenor Asia, and Douglas Feagin, Senior Vice President, Global Strategic Partnerships and Investments, Ant Group.

In January 2022, SBP introduced a Licensing and Regulatory Framework for Digital Banks and planned to issue up to five digital banks’ licenses. Earlier this year, 5 applicants including TMB were selected after a rigorous assessment process as per the requirements of the framework and were awarded a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to set up a digital bank.

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SBP granted in-principle approval (IPA) for establishing 5 digital retail banks

Commenting on the development, Irfan Wahab Khan, Chairman, Telenor Microfinance Bank, said “This is a great milestone for us and a testament of our efforts towards enabling financial inclusion in Pakistan. TMB & easypaisa has emerged as one of the most trusted financial platforms during the last 13 years. On behalf of the Board and Management, I would like to thank the State Bank of Pakistan for believing in us and giving us the In-Principle approval to set up a digital bank in Pakistan. Kudos to the entire team for working with full zeal and commitment for this achievement. Through this revolutionary step, we are now one more step closer to our vision of a financially inclusive, Digital Pakistan.”

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Sharing his thoughts, Kashif Ahmed, Acting CEO, Telenor Microfinance Bank said, “This monumental achievement validates our unwavering commitment to our digital-first business model, a strategic pivot we made to advance our mission of a financially inclusive Pakistan. Our success is indebted to the trust of our millions of customers who have made us a household name. The steadfast support from our esteemed shareholders, Telenor Group and Ant Group, has been instrumental in steering our organization in the right direction. It also stands as a testament to the extraordinary dedication of our entire team. My gratitude to the State Bank of Pakistan for giving us this opportunity. We eagerly embrace the role of being the regulator’s partner in the journey towards greater financial inclusion and innovation.”

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Telenor Microfinance Bank is now prioritizing its operational preparedness in accordance with SBP’s framework for digital banks. With this In-Principle approval, the Bank is poised to redefine the banking landscape in Pakistan, ushering in an era of financial inclusion, convenience, and empowerment for every Pakistani.

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