Remittances by overseas Pakistanis

NBP signs deals with 30 foreign partners

National Bank of Pakistan has made agreement with 30 leading partners abroad for timely delivery of home remittances sent by overseas Pakistanis. Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, SEVP/Group Chief Global Home Remittances Management Group NBP and Chairman of NBP’s Exchange Company Limited Khalid Bin Shaheen said that 30 other similar international tie-ups were in final stages.

The function was attended among others by VP/divisional head (A) Corporate Communication and Brands Management Division Syed Ibne Hassan and EVP divisional head Agricultural division NBP Shaheryar Qaisarani. Khalid Bin Shaheen said that delays in the payments of rebates to foreign partners was directly hurting efforts to boost inflows and now the foreign exchange companies are not offering an impressive rate to overseas Pakistanis. “Some Rs 5-6 billion have not been paid to foreign partners of local banks engaged in enhance home remittances,” he said.

NBP has aggressively extended its remittance correspondence base across the globe to facilitate overseas Pakistanis and discourage the use of illegal channels. Despite concerted efforts, 60 percent of remittances are still being sent by illegal channels such as Hawala and Hundi, he said, adding that with some effort, inflows of home remittances could touch $20 billion annually.

He said that in a major strategic move, NBP created a separate independent group named Global Home Remittances Management Group in 2009 to focus on inward home remittances business and currently NBP is leader in home remittances business. As a result, NBP brought about a cultural change across the banking industry in Pakistan.

Keeping in mind requirements of overseas Pakistanis, NBP launched two schemes to facilitate overseas Pakistanis, Khalid said. ‘NBP Foree Cash’ remittance product allows overseas remitters to visit any of NBP’s overseas correspondent banks, exchange companies and send remittance in Pakistan free of charge, he said. This remittance “is immediately available to beneficiaries in Pakistan at any of NBP’s 1,294 branches nation-wide without having the need of maintaining account”.

Additionally, the bank also launched ‘NBP Foree Transfer’ remittance service, providing convenience, security, reliability for beneficiaries having accounts in Pakistan. This service is also free of charge, he said. NBP also established a dedicated and efficient complaint handling system to address queries of remitters, Khalid said.

Later, divisional head Agricultural division NBP Shaheryar Qaisarani said that over the past few years, NBP was focusing on promoting agricultural financing. Both working capital and long-term loans were being extended to farming and non-farming communities.

He said that the domestic farming sector needed Rs 750 billion every year while nearly Rs 300 billion was being disbursed via formal banking channels, leaving behind a gap of Rs 450 billion which is being filled by informal channels charging high mark-up rates. “Realising this, NBP started utilising its human resources and infrastructure to reach out remote areas, which were previously deprived of bank financing and offer agricultural financing at reasonable rates,” he said.

He said that the bank had deployed qualified agriculture field officers to provide technical assistance to growers. NBP’s outstanding agricultural financing witnessed a massive increase of 68 percent during the past two years. This amount surged to Rs 46.296 billion as on December last year against Rs 27.6 billion in December 2010. He said that till March 2013 Rs 42.384 billion had been disbursed against a target of Rs 35.625 billion. “Not only targets are surpassed by wide margins, but disbursement remained above all commercial banks,” he said.

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