About Us

FIRST WOMEN BANK LTD.

First Women Bank Ltd. is a unique financial institution and commercial bank of its kind in the world. It is the only Bank in Pakistan that has a mandate to cater to financial and business needs of women and provide them with easy access to credit for enterprise development. The FWBL Vision and Mission statements reaffirm this commitment.

Initially the FWBL model was only catered to women at all levels of economic activity – micro, small, medium and corporate. Over the years with promotion or specialization of Micro Finance banks which are set up to cater to financial needs of low income communities, FWBL has shifted its focus to range of financial services (SME) other than MF. Now the Credit worthy business concerns, irrespective of gender, can avail loan on competitive basis.

The bank remains true to its roots as a women centered organization and facilitate financial inclusion of 51,661 customers who have availed financing facilities of Rs. 66,662.69 million and over 90,000 customers who are maintaining their savings and other business accounts.

SPONSORS
The Government of Pakistan owns majority shareholding (82.64%) in the Bank while its remaining shares are held by the five big commercial banks – NBP, HBL, MCB, UBL and ABL.

CAPITAL BASE
Minimum Capital required to set up and run commercial banks in Pakistan is PKR 10 Billion whereas SBP has given special relaxation to FWBL to meet MCR net of losses of PKR 3 Billion instead of PKR 10 Billion. The Bank successfully managed to close the year 2015 in compliance to the revised MCR of PKR 3 Billion with overwhelming support of Ministry of Finance (MoF) Government of Pakistan.

CREDIT RATING
The Bank has short-term entity rating of A2 and long-term entity rating of A-.

HISTORY
In 1989 the establishment of FWBL was an innovative and bold step conceived by the then Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto (Shaheed) who envisioned a bank that would undertake the conduct of all forms of business of Banking Company in a manner designed to meet the special needs of women and to encourage and assist them in promotion and running of trade and industry and practice of profession.

The bank came into being as an affirmative action of the Parliament to indicate the Government’s commitment to provide access to half of its population to the formal financial services. The Bank was incorporated as a Scheduled Commercial Bank under the Companies Ordinance 1984 as a joint venture of five largest Commercial Banks and Government of Pakistan.

The core purpose of the bank was to mobilise funds, providing saving solutions to the savers and channel those funds to the potential borrowers. Bank availed this opportunity fully and initiated many non-traditional banking and women centric products / projects which met with great success. Bank was pioneer in introducing:

  • Micro Finance to women under Group Guarantee scheme (which was later adopted by micro finance institutions came into being) and initiated micro and small lending programs in suburbs and rural areas close to FWBL Branch network.

  • Bank imparted Computer Literacy Training to large number of women through its Computer Literacy Centres located in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
  • The bank also introduced many non-traditional products to build capacity of women to undertake income generating projects.

Bank also took a number of unprecedented initiatives, such as:

FWBL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & TRAINING CENTRES
In its early years FWBL went backward and imparted training to those women who wanted to run their businesses because economic and financial environment was not mature enough for them to start their own business and become entrepreneur. The idea was to train and upgrade women so that they can avail loan facility from FWBL and start their own businesses.

In 2011 FWBL set up the Women Entrepreneurship Development Division and also launched FWBL’s Capacity Building & Training Program.

Now when the environment is taking care of these needs, bank has changed its strategy and giving more focus on building its own capacity to design and deliver financial services primarily needed by women and their families.

SHELTER PROJECTS
Under the project FWBL provided loans to women who could not afford a shelter. The funds were disbursed for up gradation and construction of houses located in Katchi abadis, regularised under Sind Goth-Abad Scheme.

FWB- UNDP PARTNERSHIP
Under the partnership FWBL provided opportunity to its micro-borrowers for selling their products at Sunday Bazaars in Islamabad by putting their stalls.

FWBL- CIDA PARTNERSHIP
First Women Bank Ltd. was recognized by Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the most prestigious development agency of the world as a unique institution catering to the special needs of women in Pakistan. FWBL and CIDA entered into a 3 years collaboration to provide financial assistance for the two important directions of the Bank i.e. setting up of Financial Services Desks and Training and Capacity Building of FWBL employees.

FWBL/ILO/IPEC
To combat child labor in the carpet weaving industry, FWBL collaborated with ILO and directly financed women micro-borrowers in rural areas. The Bank disbursed micro-credit to 2921 women living below the poverty line in 162 villages, with 100% recovery rate. Under this project, 5842 children were weaned out from child labor and educated through non-formal educational centers.

“JAFAKASH AURAT”
The Ministry of Women Development collaborated with First Women Bank Ltd.,for economic empowerment of rural women and Rs. 35 Million were provided for the pilot project, with a revolving credit line of Rs. 20 Million. The major objective of the project was to enable the poorest of the poor women in rural areas to supplement their livelihood by supporting micro enterprise development, through strong linkage between micro-credit and skill development, thus leading to their economic empowerment.

FWBL- UNIDO PARTNERSHIP

In 2011 First Women Bank Ltd. became the strategic partner of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) for the implementation of Women Entrepreneurship Development Program (WED).

FWBL- GEP
In 2011 Aurat Foundation awarded a grant of PKR 13.8 million to FWBL under Gender Equity Program supported by the American people through USAID for a period of 02 years for which FWBL collaborated with the institute training of high repute for providing training to women.

In 2015 First Women Bank received another grant of Rs. 27.5 Million under the Gender Equity Program by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Aurat Foundation. This grant was purely for the purpose of supporting a specific piece of research & particular development for the financial inclusion of women of Pakistan. This also helped FWBL in capacity building of its staff through trainings on Leadership, Customer Service & new product development.

RECENT INITIATIVES
The bank successfully managed the expectations of its diverse stakeholders while managing dual and competing objectives. The later this management has taken concrete steps to bring the twin roles of the Bank (commercial aspect and its development side) to the fore. The Bank has repositioned itself based on its objective, and internal SWOT analysis, in a manner that they complement each other rather than competing. In order to bring structural clarity to the mandate and to manage the paradox, the Bank has separated the two roles:

  1. Development & Research Unit
  2. Commercial Banking Unit

Being a commercial bank it is utmost important for FWBL to be a sustainable financial institution hence it has taken a strategic shift from its slogan of by women and for women to a bank manned by competent individuals with a 50% women / men ratio to avail the benefit of diversity. It has also opened up its market to men as well. However its product development focuses specially on women business needs. It ensures that:

  1. The Product is easily accessible to women,
  2. Improve women participation in labour force.
  3. Improve women asset ownership.
  4. That all products & services fulfil the social responsibility for its users & end users.

The products that fulfill these objectives include:

  • FWBL GOLDENCASH

FWBL GOLDENCASH which is given against jewellery, which majority women possess.

  • PRIME MINISTER YOUTH BUSINESS LOANS

FWBL is an active player of Prime Minister’s Youth Business Loans for financing loans and handholding support to women & men both.

  • FWBL BUSINESS LOANS FOR WOMEN

FWBL extends loans to businesswomen for establishment of new business/development of existing business, and for working capital.

  • FWBL SMART ACCOUNT

FWBL constantly strives to keep pace with changing market dynamics and customer needs. Keeping in view the appetite for current account products in the market, FWBL launched “FWBL Smart Account” which not only fulfills personal needs, but also helps meet business requirements for both men and women.

  • FWBL SALARY LOAN

FWBL Salary Loan facility enables customers to bridge their financial shortcomings for the purpose of going on vacations, arranging children’s wedding, paying for children’s education, and other general expenses.

  • FWBL MERA CASH

FWBL Mera Cash, a cash backed loan facility helps customers to meet personal financial needs at their convenience with competitive market rates and quick processing.

  • FWBL ZINDAGI ASAAN ACCOUNT

In light of the SBP guidelines for financial inclusion, FWBL launched Zindagi Asaan Account to serve unbanked/under-banked masses. The Bank objective is not only to increase the number of accounts but to let it operative. To facilitate the customers bank waived the ATM issuance charges and also waived the annual fee up to 50%.

  • FWBL NIKHAR

This product is specially designed to encourage and empower the professionals including women, men and transgender associated with the beauty industry.

  • BANCASSURANCE

First Women Bank Limited (FWBL) and State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC) entered into a strategic partnership to sell insurance products under Bancassurance.

Three product plans i.e. Endowment Plan, Three Payment Plan and Sada Bahar Plan are being offered under the partnership.

INVESTMENT IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Information Technology has been one of the critical factors for growth of the banking industry. FWBL has always strived to stay true to its roots and provide convenient banking services to its customers.

FWBL PAYPAK DEBIT CARD
The Bank has achieved a successful milestone and launched FWBL PayPak Debit Card – a convenient way to make purchases anywhere within Pakistan securely without the need of carrying cash around.

However launch of Mastercard and internet banking are in pipeline.

FUTURE OUTLOOK
FWBL is fully committed to Pakistan’s national and international commitments highlighted in the Beijing Platform for Action, 1995; the National Plan of Action for Women, 1998 and the National Policy for Development & Empowerment of Women.

FWBL is also committed in ensuring SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and is looking for the organizations which equally believe on Women’s economic empowerment and can partner with FWBL to achieve its long term objectives.

AWARDS & ACCOLADES
FWBL initiatives for the empowerment of women were recognized at all levels and Bank received numerous awards nationally and internationally.

  • In 1992, an ILO Geneva Study recognized First Women Bank Ltd. as a major innovation in Pakistan, along with Edhi Trust and Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).
  • In 1994, Euromoney awarded FWBL the Best Bank in Pakistan for its low administrative cost.
  • In 2001, Women’s World Banking in its Global Directory profiled FWBL for Banking Innovation in Micro-Finance, and acknowledged that FWBL features among the world’s micro-finance leaders.
  • In 2005 FWBL received Asian Banking Award (Runner- up) for this program. Under this project, one of the borrowers received the Global Micro-Entrepreneurship Award (Runners-up) organized by the UN Capital Development Fund in collaboration with Citi Group Foundation, Harvard Business School and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund.
  • FWBL received the “Brands of the Year Award” (2010 -2013) in the category of women Banking.
  • The Bank was also conferred with the 8th Consumers Choice Award. This was in acknowledgement of FWBL’s contribution towards the promotion of women banking in the country.
  • In 2016, FWBL won the EFP award for Excellence in Women Empowerment and ranked first in the Banking sector category.

It is pertinent to mention here that the model of FWBL has been replicated by Tanzania and India* in 2009 and 2013 respectively.

* Bank was merged in 2017

“First Women Bank Ltd. has a wider vision than any other commercial bank to cater to women’s economic needs and to encourage them into trade, business, industry and the practice of their professions to promote economic prosperity and self reliance in women of urban and rural areas.”

Extract from Finance Division Government of Pakistan Year Book 2011- 2012

It’s all about empowering institutions that empower women.

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Site last updated September 14, 2018 @ 5:52 am

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