FIRST WOMEN BANK LTD.
First Women Bank Ltd. is a unique financial institution and commercial bank of its kind in the world. In 1989 FWBL 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 Government of Pakistan now owns majority shareholding (80.16%) in the Bank. The remaining shares are held by the five big commercial banks – NBP, HBL, MCB, UBL and ABL.
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. 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.
Initially the FWBL model was only catered to women at all levels of economic activity – micro, small, medium and corporate. It was the first Commercial Bank to launch Micro-Credit in Pakistan. Over the years with promotion or specialisation 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.
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.
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.
The Asian Banking Award 2005 awarded First Women Bank Limited, FWBL / ILO – IPEC Micro-Credit Program as Runners-Up in its Micro-Finance Program category. 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 initiatives for the empowerment of women were recognized at all levels and the Bank received the “Brands of the Year Award” for 2010 -2013.
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.
The bank remains true to its roots as a women centered organisation and facilitate financial inclusion of 50,856 customers who have availed financing facilities of Rs. 60,076.949 million and 90,000 customers who are maintaining their savings and other business accounts.
The Government has selected FWBL for financing loans to women under the Prime Minister’s Youth Business Loans which is a great success story as all loans disbursed under the scheme are used for setting up business and its repayment is 100% regularly.
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 recently launched “FWBL Smart Account” which not only fulfills personal needs, but also helps meet business requirements for both men and women.
In light of the guidelines issued by SBP for financial inclusion, FWBL launched a Product ‘FWBL ZINDAGI ASAAN ACCOUNT’ offering easy access to the Bank account without the complex account opening procedure and secured savings. The Account is for common people and is open to all low income unbanked/under-banked masses who face difficulties in opening a bank account due to normal account opening requirements or lesser means.
First Women Bank Limited (FWBL) and State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC) have 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.
FWBL GoldEncash – a product introduced by the bank that let the customer meets his/her business needs as well as safeguard assets.
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 offers E- Banking facilities and has an array of Alternate Delivery Channels that let customers bank 24/7. FWBL’s country-wide ATM network allows its customers to withdraw cash, view statements, transfer funds, make mobile (Post- paid) Bill Payment, Top –up and pay utility bills at the touch of a button.
The Bank is also live on SWIFT to transfer funds internationally. At present, the Bank has a network of 42 branches in 24 cities of Pakistan.
FWBL has always looked out for the best interest of the women of Pakistan. From economic empowerment to financial assistance, FWBL has always put women at the forefront of their efforts. Taking another step towards the wellbeing of the women of Pakistan, FWBL has joined hands with Pink Ribbon Pakistan to promote the noble objective of Pink Ribbon Pakistan in providing cancer awareness among women.
It is pertinent to mention here that the model of FWBL has been adopted by Tanzania and India in 2009 and 2013 respectively.
No. of branches: 42
Site last updated March 17, 2017 @ 10:58 am