Aims to boost financial inclusion and products in Pakistan through healthy financial habits
SINGAPORE - A consortium led by Singapore’s Atlas Consolidated, which owns and operates the fast-growing Wealthcare and savings app Hugosave, is one of five successful applicants formally granted a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) by the State Bank of Pakistan.
HugoBank Pakistan Consortium (HugoBank) is a joint venture between The Getz Group, Atlas Consolidated and Muller & Phipps.
David Fergusson, CEO of Atlas Consolidated, said, "From over 20 applicants, our winning
proposition was to drive financial inclusion and improve the lives of millions of people in
Pakistan. This is the reason why Hugo exists – to help individuals from every level of society
establish and build their financial journeys.”
Ray Simkins, President of The Getz Group said, "We are extremely honoured that the State
Bank of Pakistan has conferred this trust in the consortium, for the systemically important role of
expanding financial inclusion broadly across Pakistan. For many in Pakistan, that starts with
opening a bank account."
More than half (53%) of Pakistan’s population of 220 million is unbanked. The State Bank of
Pakistan attributes this to the “lack of awareness of financial products and a lack of basic
money and financial management skills”. HugoBank will help drive financial education, offering
products and services at price points that are accessible to anyone, and contribute to an
increase in bank account penetration to 85% within 5 years.
The digital banking licence will allow HugoBank to address these challenges and provide a
range of digital banking services to financially underserved customers in Pakistan. These
include online account opening, fund transfer, bill payments, consumer credit products, P2P
payments and other financial transactions. HugoBank plans to leverage its cutting-edge
technology and innovative products to provide convenient and secure banking services to
customers in Pakistan.
Kamran Nishat, CEO of Muller & Phipps Pakistan, said, "We have been present in Pakistan for
over a century, and this is a fundamentally important development for us as a group. Consumers
in Pakistan are familiar with our pharmaceutical, distribution, and courier businesses. We are
extremely excited to add banking to this mix."
The HugoBank consortium will lead with payments and account-based solutions, focusing on
dramatically increasing bank account penetration in Pakistan. HugoBank will utilise The Getz
Group's different platforms in Pakistan to reach the consumer; whether via Getz Pharma, or
Muller & Phipps, The Getz Group touches around 200 million consumers in Pakistan.
Operationally, HugoBank will leverage Atlas Consolidated’s Hugo platforms (Hugosave and
Hugoserve) to provide state-of-the-art digital banking services to Pakistan.
Herston Powers, Co-Founder of 1982 Ventures, an early financial backer of Atlas said, "We
have watched Atlas develop with pride. We have watched the team gel together, the product
development and the tech infrastructure surpass the competition, and the company exceed our hopes. This latest licence and the opportunity it holds is a major leap forward."
HugoBank is currently in the process of setting up operations in Pakistan and will provide
updates on its plans to launch its digital banking and Wealthcare services in due course.
Pakistani currency remains stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 21, 2024 (Wednesday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.6 for buying and 282.4 for selling.
Euro comes down to 300 for buying and 303 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 350.5 for buying, and 354 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.15 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.35.
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