Karachi, April 6, 2011 – The National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), the largest microfinance organization in Pakistan to focus on rural, agricultural markets, has launched a fully regulated, deposit-taking, privately-owned microfinance bank. The Bank has been awarded a license by the State Bank of Pakistan, the Central Bank, to operate nationwide. NRSP has partnered with Acumen Fund, International Finance Corporation and Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW) as shareholders in NRSP Microfinance Bank. Its mission is to reduce poverty by providing low income rural farmers with timely access to essential financial services such as crop and livestock loans on simple and affordable terms, as well as deposit products to encourage savings and to enable economic well-being.
“This $1.9 million investment is the latest in Acumen Fund’s expanding Pakistan portfolio and signals our continued commitment in the country to building transformative businesses that serve the poor for the long-term,” said Aun Rahman, Country Director of Acumen Fund Pakistan. “Acumen Fund continues to focus on scalable, innovative methods for providing resources, dignity and hope to the poor.”
Pakistan’s financial sector remains inaccessible to the majority of low income Pakistanis — an estimated 86% of the adult population has no access to formal financial services — but NRSP Bank is expected to reach nearly 625,000 borrowers nationwide over the next five years.
“NRSP Bank will provide access to financial services to small and poor farmers. This will enable them to mitigate against rising inflation and food prices.” said Dr. Rashid Bajwa, Chairman of NRSP Bank. “It will also help those struggling farmers affected by floods to restore their livelihoods and restore hope. The Bank is poised to be the first of its kind in Pakistan and the region.”
“Acumen Fund has been investing patient capital in Pakistan since 2002 in our effort to provide the critical goods and services that empower Pakistanis to improve the livelihoods of themselves and their families,” said Acumen Fund CEO, Jacqueline Novogratz. “Through the expansion of NRSP, Acumen aims to improve the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis.”