Kabul, Afghanistan, 26 July 2017 – The First MicroFinance Bank, Afghanistan (FMFB-A), a leading commercial and microfinance bank, announced the opening of the country’s first women-only branch in Kabul today. This initiative will allow Afghan women to manage their finances in a safe and facilitating environment thus overcoming social and cultural hurdles to their economic empowerment. The unique branch, located in Dasht-e-Barchi, is served and supervised by 21 all-women staff and caters to only women customers in a first-of-its-kind exercise by any bank in Afghanistan.
The First MicroFinance Bank in Afghanistan, a part of the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance, opened the country’s first women-only branch in Kabul.- Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance
“This is one of our key Values-based-banking initiatives. Most Afghan women are hesitant to open their independent accounts or avail financial services just because of the prevalent belief that men are to ‘take care of such things. We will aim to encourage women to open accounts, avail loans and also educate them on how to manage their money well,” said the FMFB-A’s CEO, Frank van der Poll.
“The branch has an indoor play area for children which is great for getting kids to burn off excess energy while their mothers are busy inside the branch. We are rapidly improving services and launching new products, and experiences at a pace we’ve never done before,” Frank added.
FMFB-A – the largest microfinance institution in the country, with $83.4 million in outstanding portfolio – has plans to set up 2 similar branches in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif by 2019. These new branches will offer preferential rates for savings, as well as a host of affordable loans to women clients. In addition to the existing branch network, FMFB-A continues to leverage branchless banking using M-Paisa platform to enhance customer experience.
In 2016, FMFB-A became a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), the first bank to do so in the country.
Source: AKDN org
ABOUT The Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance
For more than 60 years, various agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) have offered microfinance services through integrated development programmes and self-standing microfinance institutions. Today, these programmes have been brought together under the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM).
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AKDN Financial Inclusion
AKDN’s goal is to deliver services along the continuum of financial needs in ways that help local and national economies grow, and, ultimately, help create stable financial institutions that contribute to the overall quality of life.
AKDN’s microfinance lending activites. More
The world of financial inclusion is changing rapidly today, with major new entrants, including social media companies, disruptive technology service providers, peer-to-peer networks, telecommunications companies, and commercial banks, amongst others. In this challenging landscape of specialization and mass-market technology disruption, AKDN activities are grounded in understanding and responding – sustainably and ethically – to the needs and desires of critical segments of unserved clients. For this reason, the Network forges partnerships with other actors in the broader financial ecosystem to offer a range of products and services: from community-based savings groups to mobile banking, from microfinance institutions to corporate banking.