A licensing and regulatory framework for digital banks was introduced by the central bank in January 2022 by global best practices, and it was agreed to provide licenses to up to five digital banks.
The following applicants have received certificates of no objection, according to a statement from the central bank:
Easy Paisa DB (Telenor Pakistan B.V & Ali Pay Holding Ltd.
Bank, Hugo (Getz Bros & Co., Atlas Consolidated Pte. Ltd., and M & P Pakistan Pvt. Ltd.
Bank KT (Kuda Technologies Ltd., Fatima Fertilizer Ltd., and City School Pvt. Ltd.
Mashreq Bank Raqami (Mashreq Bank UAE) (Kuwait Investment Authority through – PKIC and Enertech Holding Co.
The Regulatory Framework for Digital Banks marked the beginning of Pakistan’s introduction of full-fledged digital banks. The goal of digital banks is to eliminate the need for clients to physically visit bank offices by offering all banking services digitally.
A wide range of interested parties, including commercial banks, microfinance banks, electronic money institutions, and fintech companies, submitted 20 applications in response to SBP’s Licensing and Regulatory Framework for Digital Banks by March 31, 2022.
In addition, several foreign participants, notably venture capital firms active in the digital banking sector, expressed a desire to enter the Pakistani market either directly or through partnerships with local businesses.
After a thorough and exacting assessment procedure by the Framework’s requirements, the five applications were chosen. Each candidate was given the chance to present their business case to SBP after being evaluated on a variety of criteria.