Pakistan's best bank for SMEs 2019: JS Bank
Four years since JS Bank relaunched its SME business, the strategy is paying off. While the small and medium-sized enterprise business at much bigger rival HBL might be larger, JS Bank’s SME division is now ranked the third largest in the country and is attracting attention – and compliments – from competitors for the rapid emergence of its shrewd relationship-centred operations.
Chief executive Basir Shamsie measures JS Bank’s SME portfolio at PRs47 billion ($340 million) as of the end of 2018, up a stunning 155% in the last year.
It claims a “revolutionary” partnership-driven model that results in one of the lowest non-performing loan ratios in the Pakistani SME sector of less than 2%. With increased focus by the new Imran Khan government on financial inclusion, one interesting initiative by JS Bank was to tie up with foreign aid-funded investor and incubator Karandaaz (‘entrepreneur’ in Urdu). Not-for-profit Karandaaz is funded by the UK government’s aid programme and the Gates Foundation, and has joined with JS and its national network to provide easier access to funding for SMEs.
JS Bank has also partnered with Washington’s USAid to drive SME funding.