It appears that Pakistan State Oil (PSO) is looking to diversify its offerings, as it has recently announced that it will start branchless banking services through its 3,600 retail outlets across Pakistan. A highly unorthodox move by an oil marketing company, this move will likely add to PSO’s earnings.
The availability of cash and 24-7 retail outlets will enable the company to resolve the issue of nationwide accessibility and coverage, which would otherwise require a lot of time and capital. According to the reports, the oil marketing company will initiate branchless banking operations within the next two months. By January 2018, the company aims to offer branchless banking services across all its outlets in Pakistan. Reports further indicate that PSO is planning to form a strategic partnership with Omni (United Bank Limited’s branchless bank), in the coming few months.
As per the details, retail outlets of PSO would offer services like dealing in cash (debit & credit) with Omni’s customers, receiving payments against utility bills (gas and electricity), and opening new mobile bank accounts. By launching branchless banking services, PSO is planning to entice its customers to visit their petrol pumps more often.
Reports indicate that PSO is also planning to sign deal with Telenor Microfinance Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Habib Bank Limited.
“Offering (banking) services would help PSO increase its earnings,” said PSO Managing Director and CEO Imran ul Haque. “It would soon start earning profit that branchless banking agents earn on financial transactions,” he added.
UBL Group Executive Retail Bank SEVP, Zia Ijaz said that his bank is about to finalize the deal with PSO. Providing details about the agreement, Zia Ijaz said “it may take us two months to start offering branchless banking services at PSO pumps. These services would be launched in a phased manner as the bank would simultaneously train staff to offer banking services as well.”