LAHORE - The number of active borrowers of microfinance increased from 3.1 million in 2014 to an all-time high of 3.3 million in the first quarter of 2015. Whereas, the first quarter of 2015 has witnessed a strong growth in the gross loan portfolio (GLP) of the microfinance industry, increasing by Rs7 billion to reach Rs73 billion as compared to Rs66 billion in the last quarter of 2014.

Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN) has released its quarterly outreach bulletin – Micro Watch, stating that the number of savers has seen substantial growth of 20% reaching a historical high of 10 million savers by the end of Quarter 1 of 2015.

This significant growth was primarily driven by the microfinance banks whose number of active clients increased by 8.8% and GLP by 12.7%. The Microfinance banks continue to witness unprecedented uptake in new borrowers and amount of loan disbursed. NRSP Microfinance Bank became the largest contributor in the first quarter of 2015 and added 42,176 new clients to its portfolio with loans work PKR 1.6 billion. With this addition it is now on the fourth largest provider of micro-credit in the industry.

Akhuwat as a microfinance institution proved to be the largest contributor to the sector by adding 39,000 new clients and a loan portfolio of PKR 627 million.

Tameer Microfinance Bank (TMFB) added 1.85 million new depositors to its portfolio with a staggering 53% increase.

Overall, industry’s portfolio at risk (PAR) >30 days deteriorated slightly from 1.1% to 1.7%, primarily within Microfinance Banks and Rural Support Program peer groups.

Micro-insurance also exhibited a positive trend in the first quarter of 2015 – policy holders increased by 10.8% while the sum insured depicted an increase of 9.9%. Like the micro-credit, the increase in micro-insurance was also driven by Microfinance Banks.

The Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN) is an association of 50 microfinance practitioners with a focus on providing Microfinance services to the low-income un-served segment of the population. PMN’s mission is to ‘Support the financial sector, especially retail financial service providers, to enhance their scale, quality, diversity and sustainability in order to achieve inclusive financial services’.