On November 25th, 2013, tens of thousands of Pakistani men and women gained access to FINCA’s life-changing credit and savings services through FINCA Microfinance Bank Ltd. Six months after closing the deal that gave FINCA a majority stake in the bank formerly known as KMBL, new signs and billboards unveiled FINCA Microfinance Bank Ltd. in 50 cities across the Punjab.
Throughout the day, FINCA International President and CEO Rupert Scofield and FINCA Microfinance Bank Ltd. CEO M. Mudassar Aqil welcomed special guests to inaugurate the new venture that was more than 18 months in the making.
During a morning press conference, Mr. Scofield commented, “This is a great day for FINCA and the hardworking people of Pakistan, who have so warmly embraced FINCA’s acquisition of their former bank, and are readily transferring their trust to us. We welcome them as our newest clients and colleagues, and look forward to many years of continued growth and partnership.”
Messrs. Scofield and Aqil were joined by top FINCA executives and more than 400 of Pakistan’s most prominent political, business and opinion leaders for a celebratory dinner that included speeches from Ms. Roshaneh Zafar, KMBL’s founder, Mr. Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan; Mr. Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman, Finance Minister of Punjab; and chief guest His Excellency Muhammad Sarwar, Governor of Punjab.
FINCA first began exploring Pakistan as a potential expansion market in April 2012. Most of the nation’s employment is in the agricultural and micro and small enterprise sector which is FINCA’s target market. Pakistan’s hardworking farmers and entrepreneurs are also seriously underserved: in this nation of more than 180 million people (the sixth most populous in the world), more than 80 percent of the population lacks access to formal financial services.
KMBL, one of Pakistan’s most prestigious microfinance banks, was looking for new investment at the same time FINCA was looking for the right expansion opportunity. Pakistan’s immense market and favorable regulatory climate and FINCA’s and KMBL’s shared mission for poverty alleviation made the decision a natural one.