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Mashreq Pakistan to launch Islamic Banking operations

Mashreq Pakistan, a part of Mashreq, the leading financial institution in the MENA region, has announced a significant milestone in its foray into Pakistan. Mashreq Pakistan has been granted In-Principal Approval (IPA) by the State Bank of Pakistan to commence its Islamic Banking operations within the country. This is a pivotal moment that reaffirms the Bank’s commitment to providing an ethical, innovative and robust banking system that aligns with the principles of Shariah, thereby contributing to the nation’s financial landscape and becoming a catalyst for its future growth. Mashreq is actively progressing towards acquiring a restricted license from the State Bank of Pakistan to initiate pilot digital retail banking operations in Pakistan.

Mashreq Pakistan organized a celebratory event with its leadership team and employees to mark this momentous occasion. The event also celebrated Mashreq Al Islami’s recent global recognition as the World’s Best Islamic Digital Bank by the Euromoney Islamic Finance Awards 2024, for the second year in a row that has further solidified Mashreq’s position as a leader in Islamic banking innovation. Mashreq continues to invest in and improve its digital offerings, which has enabled the creation of a nearly 100% digital customer experience – setting new benchmarks for digital Islamic Banking globally. To add to its global laurels in Islamic banking, Mashreq was also recently recognized as the ‘Most Innovative Islamic Banking Product – Nature Saver – UAE 2024’ at the 2024 International Finance Awards.

On the occasion, Fernando Morillo, Group Head of Retail Banking at Mashreq said, “Our goal is to provide enriching experiences that go beyond traditional banking services, ensuring every interaction with our customers is meaningful and rewarding. We are not just adapting to technological advancements, we are driving them. Our advanced digital capabilities have set a benchmark in the global Islamic banking industry, and we are excited to bring the same level of excellence to our operations in Pakistan.

Muhammad Humayun Sajjad, CEO of Mashreq Pakistan, said, “Receiving the IPA for Islamic banking operations is a pivotal step towards realizing our vision of offering innovative, customer-centric banking solutions that cater to the diverse needs of the Pakistani market. We are poised to be an Islamic-first digital bank in the country, aspiring to deliver the best Islamic Banking solutions to not just meet Pakistani’s expectations, but to exceed them.”

G.M. Abbasi, Director of Islamic Finance Policy Department at the State Bank of Pakistan, remarked, “SBP has worked proactively over the years to promote and develop Islamic Banking in Pakistan through introduction of comprehensive legal, regulatory and Shariah compliance framework, different training & building capacity initiatives, and creating awareness drives for various stakeholders on Islamic banking & finance. These efforts are part of a SBP’s strategy to foster a more inclusive financial environment in Pakistan, which will include digital banks like Mashreq’’.

Mashreq Pakistan’s advanced digital platform is set to revolutionize the banking experience, offering unparalleled convenience, security, and customer service for Pakistanis. Moreover, the bank’s innovative digital solutions, such as Mashreq NEO, NEOBIZ, NEO NXT and NEOPAY, are poised to set new benchmarks in the banking industry. It is worth noting that NEO has been recognized by Brand Finance as the strongest digital banking brand in the UAE. The bank aims to leverage advanced technologies such as AI and blockchain to provide intuitive, seamless, and personalized banking experiences.

The bank’s strategic vision aligns with the broader national objectives of financial inclusion and economic empowerment, aiming at integrating seamlessly into the fabric of Pakistani society, particularly focusing on underrepresented segments and demographics such as women, youth, and SMEs.

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