KARACHI - The SBP on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tameer Micro-finance Bank (TMB) under which the SBP will provide Rs 82 million to TMB over a period of one year under the Institutional Strengthening Fund (ISF). SBP Governor Syed Salim Raza, who was present at the signing ceremony, expressed the hope that the grant facility would help TMB launch branchless banking operations and build its institutional capacity. It is to be noted that the SBP in 2008 introduced Prudential Regulations for Branchless Banking to provide a regulatory framework for banks to provide services in areas where they cannot be physically located. Earlier this month, the Central Bank also signed two MoUs with Pakistan Micro-finance Network (PMN) and NRSP Micro-finance Bank wherein the SBP agreed to provide a total of Rs 215m under the ISF. The SBP has also developed the National Micro-finance Strategy, which envisages maximising the micro-finance outreach to 3m clients by 2010 and 10m by 2015. The strategy targets the demand-and-supply side bottlenecks to enhance micro-finance sector sustainability to help raise its capital base and human resource capacity. Moreover, the strategy promotes substantive up-scaling through entry of new players, development of market infrastructure and promotion of alternative delivery channels through partnerships and use of tech. As part of a multi-pronged strategy to expand frontiers of financial access, SBP has initiated programs to strengthen institutions that provide financial services to the un-banked segment of the population. Earlier, SBP had launched the Micro-finance Credit Guarantee Facility (MCGF), Institutional Strengthening Fund, and Improving Access to Finance Services Fund (IAFSF).