BHURBAN: As part of a USAID-funded project on Widening Harmonized Access to Micro-finance (WHAM), the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) on Monday presented awards to its best performing small enterprise lending branches and loan officers. “The NBP staff has proven that small firms represent a profitable market for banks,” said Amy Meyer, Director Economic Growth Office, USAID Pakistan in her remarks. “I congratulate you on surpassing your targets and setting the bar high for your peers in the micro-finance sector.”
Ms. Meyer informed that USAID Pakistan’s Economic Growth Program has provided, to date, financial services to over 100,000 families in 30 districts across Pakistan.
Divisional Head NBP SME Division Kamran Amin, Senior Executive Vice President NBP Amer Siddiqui, Senior Consultant Shore Bank International Kirsten Weiss and approximately 40 award-winners from 13 branches of NBP were also present on the occasion. Through USAID’s 4.9 dollars million WHAM project initiated in 2005 and implemented by Shore Bank International (SBI), NBP began lending to small enterprises. NBP’s small enterprise lending project has been so successful that the Bank plans to expand the program across six hundred branches throughout Pakistan.
Through the Financial Services component of its 72 million dollars Economic Growth program launched in 2003, USAID Pakistan has moved beyond conventional micro-credit to micro-entrepreneurship by creating loan products consistent with the needs of the borrowers, developing staff and systems to manage those loan products, and delivering them to the market. Support for WHAM is part of the 1.5 billion dollars in aid that the US is providing to Pakistan, through USAID, over five years to improve economic growth, education, health, and governance, and for earthquake reconstruction.-SANA