Telenor Microfinance Bank, the operator behind Pakistan’s foremost digital financial services platform, easypaisa, has secured an In-Principle Approval (IPA) for a Digital Retail Bank (DRB) license from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) within the Licensing and Regulatory Framework for Digital Banks.

This significant accomplishment positions TMB as a digital bank ready to provide a diverse range of exciting financial services primarily through digital channels, revolutionizing the digital banking experience for millions of Pakistanis.

In a ceremony held in Karachi, the SBP officially granted In-Principle Approval to five banks, including TMB. The event witnessed the participation of sponsors from other DRBs, CEOs of incumbent banks, financial institutions, fintech companies, SBP’s senior management, and TMB’s senior leadership and stakeholders, including Kashif Ahmed, Acting CEO, Amna Abbas, CLO, Solomon Jamin, Vice President, Investment Management, Telenor Asia, and Douglas Feagin, Senior Vice President, Global Strategic Partnerships and Investments, Ant Group.

In January 2022, SBP introduced a Licensing and Regulatory Framework for Digital Banks, with plans to issue licenses to up to five digital banks. Earlier this year, after a rigorous assessment process in line with the framework’s requirements, five applicants, including TMB, were awarded a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to establish a digital bank.

Irfan Wahab Khan, Chairman of Telenor Microfinance Bank, expressed his thoughts on this development, stating, “This is a significant milestone for us and a testament to our efforts to promote financial inclusion in Pakistan. TMB and easypaisa have emerged as one of the most trusted financial platforms in the last 13 years. On behalf of the Board and Management, I would like to thank the State Bank of Pakistan for believing in us and granting us In-Principle approval to establish a digital bank in Pakistan. Congratulations to the entire team for their dedication and commitment. Through this revolutionary step, we are one step closer to realizing our vision of a financially inclusive, Digital Pakistan.”

Kashif Ahmed, Acting CEO of Telenor Microfinance Bank, shared his thoughts, saying, “This monumental achievement validates our unwavering commitment to our digital-first business model, a strategic pivot we made to advance our mission of a financially inclusive Pakistan. Our success is indebted to the trust of our millions of customers who have made us a household name. The steadfast support from our esteemed shareholders, Telenor Group and Ant Group, has been instrumental in steering our organization in the right direction. It also stands as a testament to the extraordinary dedication of our entire team. My gratitude to the State Bank of Pakistan for giving us this opportunity. We eagerly embrace the role of being the regulator’s partner in the journey towards greater financial inclusion and innovation.”

Telenor Microfinance Bank is now focused on preparing its operations in accordance with SBP’s framework for digital banks. With this In-Principle approval, the bank is set to redefine Pakistan’s banking landscape, ushering in an era of financial inclusion, convenience, and empowerment for every Pakistani.