KARACHI:

Work to promote and facilitate financing for housing and construction is proceeding rapidly, and recent measures by the government and the Pakistani State Bank (SBP) are gaining momentum.

In a statement on Tuesday, the SBP highlighted that the real estate and mortgage lending portfolio increased from Rs 148 billion at the end of June 2020 to Rs 202 billion in March 2021.

“This corresponds to a growth of Rs 54 billion or 36% in three quarters of FY 21 compared to a stagnant position in previous quarters,” it said. “Such rapid growth in real estate and mortgage lending has never been seen in Pakistani history.”

It added that overall bank financing for the housing and construction sectors would continue to increase as mortgage financing activities under the Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar program picked up.

By April 20, 2021, banks had received requests for funding of more than Rs 52 billion from the public under the program, the SBP said. From the amount, the banks have approved funding worth over Rs 15 billion for the applicants, while the remaining applications are in various stages of the assessment and approval process.

“The state bank has actively partnered with commercial banks to ensure that a large part of the public benefits from the Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar real estate finance program,” it said.

To this end, the SBP, with the help of the Pakistan Banks’ Association (PBA), ensures that the process of applying for real estate finance remains simple. “If applicants encounter difficulties or have complaints, help is offered to them immediately,” it said.

Initially, commercial banks across the country designated 50% of their branches (around 7,700) for accepting applications under the “Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar” housing system.

In addition, the remaining branches will provide basic information about the system and refer applicants to the designated branches.

“Banks regularly advertise features of the program to attract and encourage potential customers,” it says. “To handle complaints, the State Bank has put in place a comprehensive complaint resolution mechanism that includes an Internet portal supported by a network of State Bank and Commercial Bank staff.”

Posted in The Express Tribune on April 28, 2021.

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