Ahmad Saad Siddiqi
PACRA Maintains Entity Ratings of Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited
The ratings take comfort from the bank's association with a leading global telecom group – Veon (formerly VimpelCom) - and with Pakistan's largest cellular operator – Jazz (formerly Mobilink). Sponsor’s commitment to the bank is witnessed in the form of both technical collaboration and financial support. Ensuing synergies have strengthened the bank's penetration in target markets. Leveraging on the sponsors' network and brand name - JazzCash, branchless banking domain is taking on sanguine growth and is expanding through platform of Mobile-wallet accounts. The bank's current strategy is pivoted around capitalizing on its digital banking base having strong support from its super-agent cellular operator. The management's confidence lies in keeping this segment's margins sustained and bring it at the forefront of mobile banking services, amidst rising competition. The bank held a market share of ~7% in the microfinance industry’s Gross loan portfolio and ~13% in the total deposits as at End-Dec'20. Overall asset quality is healthier compared to peers. The bank's business model is directed towards fostering core and branchless banking simultaneously. Granular small ticket size deposits in the BB domain, is growing, which adds benefit to performance indicators. Positive Outlook denotes comfort on business and financial profile as depicted by a higher granularity of deposit, significant expansion in demand deposits and fast rationalising cost of funds. This would augment the reported profitability, going forward. Under the current scenario, continuity of COVID-19 pandemic (penetration of third wave in Pakistan) will poise challenge to business and asset quality. Though SBP’s Relief Packages have come handy to the sector in protecting the credit quality of the players during the first wave, the out-turn of the situation, and its relative impact on the risk profiles of industry players, including Mobilink, is yet to unfold in the days to come.
The ratings are dependent upon the bank’s ability to aptly combat the emerging risks under the current scenario in order to keep its business and financial risk profile intact. Meanwhile, the bank’s propensity to protect its performance indicators amidst constrained business environment, is imperative.
Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited commenced its operations in 2012, as a nationwide Microfinance bank. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Global Telecom Holding (GTH), which in turn, is majority-owned by VEON (formerly Vimpelcom) - one of the world's largest telecom groups. VEON also owns Jazz (formerly Mobilink), the bank's super-agent in branchless banking.
The Board of Directors comprises seven members consisting of four non-executive directors, two independent directors and the CEO - Mr. Ghazanfar Azzam, who carries with him over 35 years of experience in the banking sector. He is assisted by a qualified and experienced management team.