KARACHI: To celebrate women’s financial inclusion journey in Pakistan, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), in collaboration with Bank Alfalah, Standard Chartered Bank and United Bank Limited, organized an event titled “Asaan Digital Account: Breaking Barriers,” on March 7, 2022, according to a statement.
SBP Governor Dr. Reza Baqir was the chief guest. The event was organized on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
Dr. Baqir expressed his belief that the Asaan Digital Account will break down barriers to women’s financial inclusion by providing faster, cheaper, efficient and convenient solutions to meet their needs.
Asaan Digital Account is a fully digitized solution to open a full-service bank account from anywhere, anytime, via smartphones or computers with only a Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) and no other security requirements. documentation.
The SBP Governor commended the contributions of women in various fields and emphasized that empowering women is key to the socio-economic development of the country.
Gender gaps do not allow women the same freedom to enjoy opportunities, rights and obligations in all areas of life as compared to men.
“However, International Women’s Day encourages us to pause and reflect on the systemic barriers that limit women in their activities,” he said and stressed the need for reflection and a renewed sense of purpose. ambition and opportunities for transformation around gender equality in the financial services space.
Dr. Baqir said that traditionally women’s participation in financial services remained low due to persistent barriers such as onerous documentation requirements, proximity to bank branches and availability of suitable products, which, combined with social norms and cultural constraints have prevented women from enjoying even basic financial services such as owning a bank account.
The central bank is breaking down these barriers and tackling women’s financial inclusion through various initiatives such as building on equality policy, Raast, Pakistan’s first instant payment system, an “integration framework Digital Customer Service” feature to facilitate convenient opening of bank accounts, Asaan Mobile Account where anyone with a simple feature phone can open and use an account by dialing *2262#.
In the same vein, the SBP has also launched various financing programs such as the SBP Refinance and Credit Guarantee Program for Women Entrepreneurs, the SME Asaan Finance or SAAF Initiative and the Entrepreneurship Program for Women Entrepreneurs. young Prime Minister’s Kamyab Jawan, etc. Literacy program, which provides essential financial education to the masses.
Dr. Baqir pointed out that these initiatives are already closing gender gaps in the financial sector and services. However, he stressed that more needed to be done and encouraged women to open their bank accounts through the new Asaan digital account.
He urged all banks to take steps to simplify the account opening process, increase the value proposition for women and market features to expand their reach.
Mehreen Ahmed, Group Head of Bank Alfalah, said the bank has been playing its part for several years now in helping women in many segments of the economy to become financially independent.
Bank Alfalah enabled women entrepreneurs to obtain seed funding to start their new businesses, as well as provide funds to expand their already established businesses.
Standard Chartered Bank CEO Rehan Shaikh said women are an integral part of society and their full and equal participation in all facets of society is a fundamental human right.
He commended the efforts of the State Bank of Pakistan for playing a leading role in creating an enabling environment to push the boundaries in this space. With the continued attention and support of the State Bank of Pakistan, the banking sector is embracing digital transformation, he added.
UBL Chairman and CEO Shazad Dada praised the State Bank for the Asaan Digital Account initiative and called its resounding success for its simplicity and accessibility to customers across Pakistan, including including unbanked regions.
The account is ideal for women in Pakistan as it can be opened from anywhere and there is no need to visit a branch to open or manage the account.
The event brought together heads of financial institutions, influential women and personalities from various walks of life.
On this occasion, SCB, UBL and Bank Alfalah had set up stands where the public could witness the opening of Asaan Digital Accounts live.