Pakistan-based Telenor Microfinance Bank (TMB), a subsidiary of international mobile operator Telenor Group, is getting a $184.5 million investment from Ant Financial in return for a 45% stake in the bank.
TNB is formerly known as Tameer Microfinance Bank – it changed its name in March 2017, following its takeover by the Telenor Group.
“The strategic partnership between Telenor Group and Ant Financial combines TMB’s knowledge and local market presence with more than 20 million customers, and Ant’s technology in Alipay, the world’s largest digital payment platform, and other financial services, to bring mobile payment and inclusive financial services to individuals as well as small and micro businesses in Pakistan,” the two parties explain.
In addition to providing microfinance services, TMB also offers Easypaisa, Pakistan’s first mobile financial services platform launched in 2009, which has since developed into the largest branchless banking service in Pakistan in terms of agent network, active accounts and transaction value (according to the State Bank of Pakistan data).
According to the World Bank, more than 100 million Pakistanis are unbanked, accounting for 5% of the world’s unbanked population. This is expected to change drastically in the years to come, especially with rising smartphone penetration, Telenor says. “To prepare for that, TMB needs to build its digital competence and execution capabilities to serve the need of the users,” it adds.