Wednesday, May 29, 2024

U Microfinance Bank Bridging Financial Gaps Across Pakistan with Branch Network Expansion

The microfinance industry in Pakistan has seen a remarkable transformation over the past few years, playing a pivotal role in the nation’s economic development and financial inclusion efforts. In this dynamic industry, Ubank has emerged as a shining star, setting new standards as benchmarks and weaving its own story of progress and unwavering commitment to uplift communities.  

Ubank has been one of the leading and fastest-growing players in the microfinance industry in the country. It stands tall as a beacon of financial empowerment for all segments of the Pakistani population, with the largest geographical spread among local microfinance banks. At the end of 2022, Ubank reported a profit after tax of PKR 2.2 billion. For a microfinance bank where small ticket-sized loans dominate the business, this achievement has been a remarkable feat and reflects Ubank’s financial and operational prowess. Through its diverse portfolio of loan products, deposit accounts, and branchless banking services, the bank shows firm commitment to its core mission: to promote financial inclusion among the masses and serve the wider population of Pakistan that has limited access to conventional banking services.

Rapid and Unparalleled Growth Strategy: Network of 350+ Nationwide Branches

Ubank has consistently been a strong proponent of establishing an extensive branch network across the country to ensure maximum outreach and accessibility for all socio-economic segments of the population.

The bank currently has a network of 350+ operational branches nationwide, spread across 300 cities and rural regions of Pakistan, and has set aims to take this number up to 400 by the end of 2023. It is present far and wide, especially in remote locations like Nagarparkar, which stands as the last area before the border of India in the southeast of Pakistan. Additionally, the bank’s branchless banking solution UPaisa also has presence across the country through a network of 50,000+ UPaisa agents. This spread underscores Ubank’s dedication to bringing financial services to the farthest reaches of the nation and serving a diverse population.

Diversity & Business Sustainability with Urban, Rural, and Islamic Banking

Ubank over the past few years has invested in building six separate business canvases to diversify and expand its revenue engines. Under these, the extensive branch network encompasses Urban Retail Banking, Rural Retail Banking, and Islamic Banking divisions.

The bank’s urban branches are located at key locations in multiple major urban cities of Pakistan, including Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad, catering primarily to customers seeking lucrative rates of return on their savings. The rural retail division on the other hand ensures financial literacy and accessibility of products and services to the population that still is largely unbanked and undocumented, aiming to help uplift their lives and livelihoods. Having a larger number of brick and mortar branches helps enhance customer loyalty and retention and enables Ubank to provide the added value of interacting with customers face-to-face.

Ubank is not just a pioneer in geographical expansion; it’s also a trailblazer in the field of Islamic finance in microfinance in Pakistan. With close to 50 operational branches dedicated to Ubank Islamic Banking, the bank introduced this division in 2022 and obtained a commercial license from the State Bank of Pakistan to operate nationwide by the end of the same year. Ubank thus became one of the first microfinance banks in Pakistan to offer Islamic banking services, targeting a niche and fast-growing audience that seeks Shari’ah-compliant financing and savings solutions to improve their lives and livelihoods.

While Ubank continues to strive for innovation in its digital banking services, including its branchless banking solution, UPaisa, the bank firmly believes that maintaining a strong and expansive presence in the form of physical branches is essential to ensure accessibility for all, especially for those who do not have access to digital means due to a lack of devices, connectivity, or limited infrastructure.

The Road Ahead – Empowering Communities and Reducing Poverty

At its core, Ubank’s mission revolves around achieving financial inclusion for all segments of Pakistani society. Through financial empowerment, uplifting local economies, creating opportunities for women, and increasing income potential, Ubank is making a significant impact on larger communities. Its expansion strategy has not reached its conclusion yet – the bank has ambitious plans for the future, aiming to further expand its network and work towards a brighter and more financially inclusive future for all.

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