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Branchless banking accounts increase 73pc

Branchless banking accounts increase 73pc

KARACHI: The number of branchless banking accounts increased by 73 per cent to 23.69 million in 12 months through March, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported on Friday.

In geographical terms, Punjab is leading the way with over 60pc share in branchless banking accounts.

In January-March, the number of active accounts reached 11.3m, up 15pc from 9.8m in the preceding quarter. “The activity in these accounts showed consistent growth after July-September 2015, and reached the peak of 52pc in January-March 2016. All branchless banking players need to focus on more value-added services in their product offerings to maximise the use of the m-wallet channel,” the report said.

The report said the female participation in branchless banking has substantially increased. The number of female customers having a digital account increased to 5.2m in the latest quarter from 4.1m at the end of the preceding quarter.

The share of women with mobile accounts reached 22.1pc of the total mobile accounts, showing the growth of 26.8pc over the quarter. The region-wise gender representation in Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Punjab is 26.7pc, 27pc, 19pc and 29.9pc, respectively.

The branchless banking industry experienced overall improvement in key indicators in Jan-Mar. A significant increase was observed in the number of accounts, which grew 19pc over the preceding quarter. Similarly, an increase in the number of transactions and the number of agents was also witnessed during the quarter under review.

However, the value of branchless banking transactions decreased to Rs564.4 billion in January-March from Rs596.9bn in the preceding quarter. A major decline in the value of transactions was seen in bulk government-to-person (G2P) payments. The reduction in the value of G2P payments is transitory in nature and likely to improve in the subsequent quarters, the report said.

A total of Rs13.5bn was disbursed among 3.69m beneficiaries during the quarter. Employees’ Old-age Benefits Institution (EOBI) pensioners remained the major contributor as Rs7.6bn was disbursed among 353,053 beneficiaries. About Rs2.5bn payments were made to 2.39m beneficiaries on account of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and Rs1.4bn was disbursed among 58,748 internally displaced persons.

The report reveals that Punjab is the focus of branchless banking with a share of about 61pc in the number of accounts as well as the number of transactions. Sindh and KP represent about 17pc and 16pc share in the number of branchless banking accounts, respectively.

Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2017

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