Pakistan's best digital bank 2017: Tameer Bank
Pakistanis like their corporate clichés, their ‘gamechangers’, ‘brand ambassadors’ and ‘paradigm shifters.’ But there’s one bank in Pakistan where the term ‘superbrand’ seems to sit right, barely a decade after it was rolled out – Tameer Bank, led by Ali Rias, and its easypaisa system.
Easypaisa is Pakistan’s first branchless bank, launched jointly by Norwegian telecom giant Telenor and Tameer Bank in 2009. They recognized that financial inclusion is a formidable challenge in developing countries like Pakistan.
Leveraging Telenor’s mobile network – the telco has 30% of the mobile phone Sim market, easypaisa offers the unbanked an extensive portfolio of financial services: savings, payments, transfers and much else beyond, even education services. And it does so with an innovative but simple system, via apps and texts, totalling around 800,000 transactions every day.
Easypaisa claims to be the world’s third-largest branchless banking service, serving an estimated 22 million users via 75,000 outlets in more than 800 Pakistani villages, towns and cities, easily the largest footprint in the country of any Pakistani bank.
It also helps that easypaisa has a powerful advocate in Pakistan central bank governor Ashraf Wathra. Now in his fourth year in the chair at the State Bank of Pakistan, Wathra has made financial inclusion a top priority of his governorship. This year saw Tameer founder Nadeem Hussain step away after he and partners sold their 49% of the bank to Telenor. Hussain had around 25% of Tameer, with the remaining stake held by the World Bank’s International Finance Corp and other Pakistani investors.