Karandaaz Pakistan, an initiative to support financial inclusion and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is providing a grant of USD 2.3 million to a digitization project of the Central Directorate of National Savings (National Savings). Through this digitization project, CDNS will provide alternate delivery channels (ATM Cards, Internet and Mobile Banking) for the customers of National Savings.
National Savings is an attached department of the Ministry of Finance, responsible for the distribution of government-sponsored saving schemes for individual savers through its 376 branches across Pakistan. The envisaged digitization project will bring down the cost of serving more than 7.7 million account and certificate holders, out of which more than 38% are the individual investments of less than PKR.100,000, and help expand National Savings consumer base further, particularly women which already are more than half of the customer base. It will also help in linking a significant chunk of account and certificate holders to micropayment gateways, providing ease for on-boarding new customers, and setting up an established successful model of digitization making account opening and operations simplified and made available through multiple channels. The overall customer service will become more convenient enabling National Savings to attract more savers and leverage its unique offering of the attractive rate of returns and unique products, promoting greater financial inclusion.
Director General National Savings, Mr Zafar Masud acknowledged Karandaaz Pakistan’s support and said, “This partnership will help National Savings increase its reach and remove access barriers for the existing and potential account and certificate holders by adopting technology and creating a meaningful impact for its customers.”
Karandaaz Pakistan CEO Mr Ali Sarfraz stressed the need for centralization of banking data and reducing the response time for customers of a service such as National Savings that mainly serves small savers. “The digitization of National Savings will help in the introduction of digital channels for the customers like bio-metric verification for account opening and cash withdrawals. It will also open up possibilities of linking with other partners such as Pakistan Post and NIFT to expand financial inclusion and graduate small savers to other financial services. The customers can be provided digital transactional accounts and account opening process will become simpler. This is crucial since National Savings facilitates the majority of the bottom of the pyramid, and financially-excluded population,” he said.
Karandaaz Pakistan has financial and institutional support from leading international development finance institutions; principally the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.