FBL sponsors IFN Pakistan to promote financial inclusion through Islamic Banking

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Islamabad:     (Parliament Times)     One of Pakistan’s leading banks, Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), was amongst the lead sponsors and participants in this year’s IFN Forum Pakistan conference. The day-long conference was held in partnership with the State Bank of Pakistan.

The IFN Forum Pakistan conference provides local regulators, market players and interested stakeholders an impartial platform to identify critical issues and objectively discuss potential solutions for the Islamic Banking industry. Faysal Bank Limited is committed to expanding financial inclusion through Islamic finance.

Speaking on the panel for Financial Inclusion through Islamic Finance, Mr. Muhammad Faisal Shaikh, Head Islamic Banking, Faysal Bank Limited, said: “On the Fintech side, to increase our reach to the mass population, we are working on a new digital strategy in which we are coming up with new payment strategies, including mobile wallets. We have also hired the services of an International Consultant who is advising us on developing our digital banking model. In order to increase financial inclusion in the country, we have also partnered with IBA Karachi and IMSciences Peshawar to increase awareness about Islamic Banking products and services in Pakistan.” Commenting with regards to what regulatory initiatives the Islamic Banking industry would like to see, to increase financial inclusion, Mr. Faisal Shaikh stated: “It is time we all collaborate on an industry level to make it easier for the investors and SMEs to simplify the process of Islamic Banking transactions through effective usage of Islamic Fintech solutions. This will not only benefit the industry, but will also help increase the penetration of Islamic Banking on the SME side.”

Responding to a question regarding the transformation process Faysal Bank is undergoing, he added, “As you are aware Faysal Bank is going through a conversion process, which is in fact the largest conversion process in the world. Nowhere in the world has a bank, with more than 200 branches, been converted. We are not just converting our existing branches but we are opening new branches as well. On 31st December 2018 we had 255 Islamic banking branches, by the end of this year we will have 414 Islamic branches. We have converted 64 branches and added more than 100 branches this year.”

Ms. Tayyaba Rasheed, Executive Vice-President and Head of the Investment Banking Group, Faysal Bank Limited, speaking on the panel for Infrastructure Financing – Potential for Islamic Finance said: “The State Bank of Pakistan has played an effective role by introducing the infrastructure finance regulations back in 2016. They have already established the footprint for taking infrastructure project financing and infrastructure sector spending to the next level, but this is not enough. Commercial banks who are involved in infrastructure spending are collectively spending, on an average, PKR 150 billion annually; whereas the requirement for infrastructure spending in the country is PKR 400 billion annually, so there is a huge gap. To fill this gap Public Private Partnerships, which are globally an accepted method of financing, is the need of the day.”