Work on promoting and facilitating housing and construction finance is progressing rapidly and upward momentum is building up as a result of recent measures undertaken by the government and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

In a statement on Tuesday, the SBP highlighted that the housing and construction finance portfolio rose from Rs148 billion at the end of June 2020 to Rs202 billion in March 2021.

“This represents a growth of Rs54 billion or 36% in three quarters of FY21 compared to a stagnant position in earlier quarters,” it said. “Such level of growth in housing and construction finance within a short period of time has never been witnessed in Pakistan’s history.”

It added that overall bank financing for the housing and construction sector would surge further because the mortgage finance activity under the “Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar” scheme was gaining pace.

As of April 20, 2021, banks had received applications for financing of more than Rs52 billion from the general public under the scheme, the SBP revealed. Out of the amount, the banks have approved over Rs15 billion worth of financing for the applicants while the remaining applications are at different stages of evaluation and approval process.

“The State Bank has been actively engaged with commercial banks to ensure that a vast majority of the public benefits from the ‘Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar’ housing finance scheme,” it said.

For this purpose, the SBP, with the help of Pakistan Banks’ Association (PBA), is ensuring that the process of applying for housing finance remains easy. “In case applicants face difficulties or have complaints, help will be provided to them promptly,” it said.

To begin with, commercial banks have designated 50% of their branches, around 7,700, across the country for accepting applications under the “Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar” housing scheme.

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

“Banks are regularly advertising features of the scheme to attract and encourage potential customers,” it said. “In order to address complaints, the State Bank has established a comprehensive complaint resolution mechanism, which comprises an internet portal supported by a network of State Bank and commercial bank staff.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2021.

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