Pakistan's best digital bank 2018: Telenor Bank
It has been a busy year for Telenor Bank, the former Tameer Bank, which has pioneered mobile phone-enabled micro-payments in Pakistan on the Easypaisa platform.
After absorbing Tameer in June, the Norwegian-led Telenor extended what was already the largest footprint of any Pakistani bank to boast an estimated 23 million users across the country.
It then joined hands with Nestlé Pakistan in a unique programme to help Pakistan’s dairy farmers get paid, while providing expansion finance to farmers. That programme promises to be a model for other rural industries.
The bank also pioneered one of the country’s first data-driven digital methods to assess risk and make loans. And as the year drew to a close, Telenor agreed terms with China’s Alibaba group for latter to take a 45% stake in Telenor Bank in a $185 million deal.
The purchase underlines the ever-closer corporate links between Pakistan and China, most notably under the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. And with 100 million Pakistanis still outside the financial inclusion net, there would appear to be much upside for Telenor after its Alibaba deal.