The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has approved Habib Bank Limited (HBL) for the establishment of a wholly owned subsidiary HBL Zarai Services Limited, according to a bank’s notice to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Friday.
The decision to establish ‘HBL Zarai Services Limited’ was made by the bank in July of this year, to foster and support the agriculture sector in Pakistan.
According to a report by Profit, the launch of the subsidiary would mark an important milestone for the country’s agricultural sector which has remained largely unserved by the formal banking sector.
Agricultural financing in Pakistan has long been considered high-risk and has mostly been a collateral base. However, farmers with smaller land holdings have not been able to access formal banking channels because they do not have much to put up as collateral, and also because bank repayment timelines are rarely catered to crop cycles.