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Karachi: According to the latest news, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) approved Pakistan’s first branchless banking Licensing & Regulatory Framework on Monday. Initially, five licenses will be issued to banks with a significant technological acquisition, and applications will be accepted until March 31, 2022, under the newly formed framework.

Read More: Revised SBP amendment bill approved by Cabinet

According to the SBP circular, the framework will allow banks to build technology and regulations for entirely digital banks, which will provide all banking services, including account opening, deposit, and lending, through digital means, with consumers not needing to visit a physical branch.

The license will allow for the establishment of two types of digital banks: a Digital Retail Bank (DRB) for retail clients and a Digital Full Bank (DFB) for both retail and commercial customers. The licenses will be available in both Islamic and traditional banking, with firms eligible to obtain both. The initial capital cap for banks seeking licenses will be PKR 1.5 billion, with the maximum gradually increasing to PKR 4 billion over time.

Read More: SBP adds additional Rs382bn for 63 days

The framework, according to reports, contains guidelines on license criteria, potential sponsors, and allowed use-cases at various stages. It also requires applicants to have solid digital governance, a robust, secure, and resilient IT infrastructure, as well as an effective data management strategy and practices. Similarly, digital banks would be required to maintain staff and a physical presence in the country for regulatory purposes.

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