Growth Of Branchless Banking in Pakistan Amidst COVID-19

Branchless banking is the delivery of financial services outside conventional bank branches, often using agents and relying on information and communications technologies to transmit transaction details – typically card-reading point-of-sale (POS) terminals or mobile phones. Recently, it has been observed thar branchless banking has seen a rapid increase in Pakistan amidst Covid-19.

Noman Azhar, Executive Vice President and Head of branchless banking and Digital Implementation Department at JS Bank was noted to have gone over the impact of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic over the banking sector in Pakistan. He was noted to have said that the impact of Coronavirus is unprecedented and it has certainly affected not only the banking sector in our country but every also most sectors in the world. Although the banking sector has seen some challenges throughout this time, Noman Azhar wanted to emphasize that that they are also part of the frontline workers in this time, whilst not getting the recognition for it. 

Although Work From Home has been readily adopted in most branches, some  branches in some areas og city are still open amidst the pandemic as a need to support the customers who do not have readily access to internet banking. Speaking on JS Bank, he mentioned that they have worked hard to support their customers. He went on to highlight that they are working on the frontlines to facilitate the economy and working alongside law-enforcing agencies and with the healthcare agencies. 

The bank has also introduced digital programs to work in the banking sector. This includes working alongside the Ehsaas Kafalat program which was launched by the Prime Minister. To facilitate this, they use a branchless banking network called JCash, which has around 30,000 agent networks across Pakistan. They have also provided their agents with necessary protective gear whilst also giving away cash to those that are in need. They have also dispersed a large sum of money under the Kafalat program as well.