With the world undergoing rapid digitalization post-pandemic, social and economic barriers to be dealt with are rampant. Moreover, alleviating poverty is the need of the hour and microfinance plays a dynamic role in doing so. It is an apparatus that allows the financial gap to be filled and facilitates low-income families to participate in economic activity.
Without a doubt, the omnipresence of poverty across the country has decreased with the introduction of microfinance. Despite some prevailing challenges and a general lack of financial knowledge amongst the masses, Pakistan’s microfinance ecosystem has paved the way to promote financial inclusion and empower unbanked and underbanked segments of our society. In this regard, microfinance institutions like Mobilink Microfinance Bank Ltd (MMBL) are effectively striving to uplift low-income individuals by meeting their basic financial needs and offering seamless, easy-to-use loan offerings.
The Bank is dedicated to strengthening the digital banking ecosystem by developing customized products and services that are specifically designed to financially empower low-income individuals in the country.
The story of Shakeel is a testimony that MMBL’s microfinance initiatives have not only helped thousands of families living on the edge of poverty but also improved their living conditions as well. “The ongoing pandemic has aggravated income inequality in Pakistan. Thousands of individuals including myself experienced job and income losses amid COVID-19 and rising inflation, as well as pandemic-related disruptions, and it further added to our list of problems,” explained Shakeel.
Shakeel owned a commercial vehicle, which he used to transport fish from Ibrahim Hyderi, Karachi to restaurants, markets, and other businesses. The shockwaves of the global pandemic COVID-19 ravaged Pakistan’s economy forcing small businesses, restaurants, and companies to close down and Shakeel’s case was no different. Restriction on economic activity due to the lockdown directly impacted individuals like him.
“COVID-19 has changed all of our lives, but more so the families and individuals who are not financially strong. Daily wagers were hit the hardest due to the lockdown. I came to a point where it got hard for me to even make ends meet. Ultimately, I had to sell my vehicle,” shared Shakeel. When the lockdown was lifted, Shakeel was determined to find a practical solution and so, he rented a vehicle for PKR 25,000 monthly.
Even though Shakeel was working hard to earn a sustainable income, he could not manage to meet his expenses and ended up borrowing money from his friends and family. Now, Shakeel was tied into a cycle of debt, and a lack of working capital to purchase a new vehicle made matters worse for him.
He then learned about MMBL and was convinced that a microloan would help sort his financial problems. “After talking to a few people, I approached MMBL for a Commerical Vehicle Loan and was exhilarated when I was informed that the loan request was accepted. I received a loan for PKR 827,200 and with that, I was able to purchase a new Suzuki Ravi,” shared Shakeel.
The vehicle purchased allowed Shakeel to work full-time and enabled him to earn up to PKR 8,000 daily, which also helped him to return his installments of PKR 22,000 per month in time. “With the help of MMBL, many individuals like me began turning a profit, and today, I am a proud owner of my own vehicle once again. Nothing feels better than that. The financial assistance from MMBL allowed me to gain profit, get rid of my debt, and pay off the microloan quickly”, shared Shakeel.
MMBL’s microfinance loans combine innovations and technology by leveraging Pakistan’s digital banking sector to deliver tailored products and services. The Bank has been a key driver for financial inclusion and women empowerment because it recognizes the fact that financial inclusion yields unequivocal returns.