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MGT604 - Management of Financial Institutions - Lecture Handout 21

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ROLE OF COMMERCIAL BANKS IN MICRO FINANCE SECTOR

Microfinance in its broadest terms can be defined as provision of a range of financial services such as deposits, loans, payment services, money transfers and insurance to poor and low income households, and their micro enterprises (Source: Asian Development bank report on microfinance development strategy). While a commercial bank is a financial institution that offers a broad range of deposit accounts, including checking, savings, and time deposits, and extends loans to individuals and businesses.

The decision as to whether the commercial banks be involved in microfinance is a sensitive and debatable issue which requires a deep analysis of many factors.

Primarily, the microfinance customers are large in number, scattered in far-flung areas with very minute transaction sizes. Only government or state bank alone cannot reach out to millions of potential Microfinance beneficiaries; a whole well knitted network with almost doorstep reach is required, which is only possible when the commercial banks will be involved in microfinance. In Pakistan it is estimated that as many as 5.6 million households need microfinance services but these services reach only to less than 1 percent, most probably because of the absence of commercial banks from the microfinance sector. (Source: Pakistan microfinance Network PMN) This way a poor person just need to visit his local commercial bank to get access to microfinance benefits, which will help reduce many economic problems.
One criticism over involving the commercial banks in microfinance is that commercial banks will charge higher interest rates, further lower the standard of living and will exploit the public. The ground realities are totally different; empirical evidence has demonstrated that participants in microfinance programs have improved their living standards at both the

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MGT604 - Management of Financial Institutions - Lecture Handout 09

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STATE BANK OF PAKISTAN - VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS (Contd.)

Banking Surveillance Department

Health of an economy depends on the degree of safety and stability of its banking and financial system. A sound, stable, and robust banking and financial system is a pre-requisite for economic well being of a country and its populace. In Pakistan, ensuring the stability and soundness of the banking system is a statutory responsibility of State Bank of Pakistan. The banking supervision departments viz. Banking Policy and Regulations Department (BP&RD), Banking Surveillance Department (BSD), Off-Site Supervision and Enforcement Department (OSSED) and Banking Inspection Department have been assigned this important function to work jointly and severally to ensure the soundness of individual banks and of overall banking industry. The Department is responsible to supervise financial institutions in the country. The department ensures effective adherence to regulatory & supervisory policies, monitors risk profiles, evaluate operating performance of individual banks/DFIs & the industry as a whole while issuing guidelines for managing various types of risks. It also ensures that banks are adequately capitalized & have policies & systems in place to assess various risks. The department is also responsible for the implementation of the Basel II Accord in Pakistan. The function & activities of Credit Information Bureau also falls within the domain of Banking Surveillance Department. The CIB collect credit data,
under section 25A of the Banking Companies Ordinance 1962, maintain its database & disseminate credit information to financial institutions online to facilitate their credit appraisal process.

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