U Microfinance Bank wins top award for rural banking initiatives at the Asian Banking & Finance Awards 2021
The Pakistani bank is set to continue promoting financial inclusion in rural areas.
Despite the majority of its population residing in rural areas (64% as per the 2017 Census of Pakistan), the World Bank reports that the financially included population in Pakistan is predominantly urban (68%). U Microfinance Bank devotes itself to battling this disproportionate lack of financial inclusion in rural areas by serving the economically active poor customer segment, i.e. farmers, small entrepreneurs, and daily wagers. The needs of this customer segment are vastly different from the affluent customer segment residing in cities.
In Pakistan, where there remains a gross absence of banking facilities in rural areas, winning the Rural/Cooperative Bank of the Year - Pakistan award recognizes U Bank’s efforts in ensuring the availability of modern banking to our core customer group. This acknowledgement is especially meaningful amidst the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, which brought with it a series of unforeseen economic and health-related challenges in the lives of our customers. U Bank takes immense pride in the fact that, against all odds, we keep our customers afloat in such hard times. We took a determined stand and decided to not stop lending to our customers, i.e. the most vulnerable segments of society. U Bank was very cognizant of the fact that these customers would not be able to recover from reduced cash flows and other implications of the imposed lockdown.
Apart from considering the needs of rural communities, i.e. customers and employees alike, despite the pressures of the pandemic, the bank has continued to set performance benchmarks in the sector. It successfully closed the year 2020 standing third in the entire industry in terms of its gross loan portfolio and the largest increase in active savers, and first in the industry in terms of the largest increase in value of savings (PMN Microwatch). Overall, our deposit grew to PKR40b, the loan portfolio increased to PKR31b in the year 2020.
The Asian Banking & Finance Retail Banking Awards are held yearly and seek to honour outstanding banks that have introduced groundbreaking retail banking products and services that proved to be industry game-changers.
Hear from the bank's president and CEO, Kabeer Naqvi, as he talks about their winning initiative and the bank's future plans for their valuable customers.