Karachi: Meezan Bank, Pakistan’s first and largest Islamic bank, also became the first bank to launch the Islamic SME Asaan Finance Scheme (I-SAAF) for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) under State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) SME Asaan Finance Scheme (SAAF). The launch ceremony was held at Multan Chamber of Commerce and was attended by Dr. Reza Baqir – Governor, SBP, other senior officials of SBP, Mr. Ariful Islam – Deputy CEO, Meezan Bank, Mr. Khawaja Muhammad Hussain – President Multan Chamber of Commerce – and members of the business community.
Under the Scheme, Meezan Bank will extend Shariah-compliant short-term and long-term facilities of up to PKR 10 million to eligible customers, at a subsidized rate of 9 percent per annum. The Scheme was introduced by SBP, and eight participating banks were selected through a transparent bidding process. Meezan Bank was one of the successful bidders, with a sizeable share in the overall program, and the only Islamic bank offering its Shariah-compliant alternate, in-line with its Vision of establishing ‘Islamic banking as banking of first choice…’ I-SAAF will allow access to finance to SMEs that despite being credit-worthy are unable to avail financing due to collateral or other requirements.
While distributing cheques to I-SAAF customers, Mr. Ariful Islam – Deputy CEO, Meezan Bank reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to invest in human resource and technology to ensure success of the Scheme and enable a swift and hassle-free application process for its customers. Mr. Ariful Islam also presented a memento to Dr. Reza Baqir for gracing the event with his presence.