The State Bank of Pakistan has issued no objection certificates to five applicants for establishing digital banks in Pakistan. In January 2022, the SBP introduced a Licensing and Regulatory Framework for Digital Banks. The framework is in line with international best practices and decided to issue up to five licenses.
According to a statement issued by the central bank, the applicants who have been issued no-objection certificates include:
- Easy Paisa DB (Telenor Pakistan B.V & Ali Pay Holding Ltd.)
- Hugo Bank (Getz Bros & Co., Atlas Consolidated Pte. Ltd., and M & P Pakistan Pvt. Ltd.)
- KT Bank (Kuda Technologies Ltd., Fatima Fertilizer Ltd., and City School Pvt. Ltd.)
- Mashreq Bank (Mashreq Bank UAE)
- Raqami (Kuwait Investment Authority through – PKIC and Enertech Holding Co.)
The Regulatory Framework for Digital Banks was the first step towards introducing full-fledged digital banks in Pakistan. Digital banks are expected to provide all the banking services through digital means without any need for their customers to visit the bank branches physically.
Applicants were assessed on various parameters and given the opportunity to present their business case to SBP’s Regulatory and Licensing Committee (RLC).
Subsequently, they will commercially launch their operations after obtaining SBP’s approval.