KARACHI - Pakistan is a huge market for microfinance industry which has tapped nearly 2.6 million active borrowers against 30 million targeted customers largely residing in small cities and villages with no access to financial institutions.

This was stated by Nadeem Hussain, President and CEO of Tameer Microfinance Bank Limited (TMFB), in a media briefing held by Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN). There is a big chunk for every bank to attract as the market has only covered a merely 8 percent of its actual potential size, he added.

He said that competition and stability among microfinance banks has increased within the sector, which is a good omen for the entire sector but banks should focus on penetrating in the untapped markets rather than competition with each other in the banked areas.

Tameer Microfinance Bank has laid its focus in penetrating the underprivileged areas and untapped markets and has plans to open 15 new branches in cities where there is no banking facility for masses, Nadeem Hussain, who is also director of PMN said.

Foreign direct investment in microfinance sector is likely and positive for the country and it is hoped that it will bring technological advancement and innovation in services for the customers, he added.

Tameer Microfinance Bank aims at reaching masses as maximum as possible with customized products that will cater to their financial needs and promote businesses and strengthen the economy of the country, Hussain said.

Bilal Rashid, Head of Marketing Services at TMFB earlier in the media briefing, said the TMFB has introduced different products for customers which include Micro Enterprise loans, Equity Financing, Micro health insurance, Alternative Energy Financing, Branchless Banking (Easypaisa, in collaboration with Telenor Pakistan) and many other innovative products.

The TMFB has taken many initiatives including pilot project to finance micro business which will not only strengthen different industry sectors but it will generate economic activities and employments. The bank disburses loans worth more than Rs 800 million on a monthly basis yet its default ratio is surprisingly low at more than one percent, which is a big success for a microfinance bank.

He said the microfinance banks along with regulator is working earnestly to promote microfinance banking through branchless and other innovative banking products to tap the unbanked market of 82 percent in Pakistan.

Microfinance banking is getting success and popularity among the masses who are now adopting its services to meet their financial needs through easy terms and process.

At TMFB, we have made easier the access of credit to the unbanked and where we don’t have established branches in small and low-lying areas we operate through a mobile branch (Bank on Wheels) in far-flung areas to attract our customers, he said.