For the first time in the country’s history, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has provided major facilitation to mentally disordered persons by allowing them to open a bank account with the help of a court-appointed manager.

“Mentally disordered persons will be able to open a bank account under a new category of customers account namely ‘mentally disordered person account’ introduced by the SBP in its Anti-Money Laundering, Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Countering Proliferation Financing (AML/CFT/CPF) regulations,” a statement issued by the central bank said on Tuesday.

It stated that the SBP has advised all banks to facilitate mentally disordered persons by allowing them to open and maintain a bank account with the help of a court-appointed manager as per the applicable laws related to mental health.

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“Account opening process will include presentation of valid identity documents and biometric verification through Nadra [National Database Regulatory Authority] of mentally disordered person and court-appointed manager.”

Moreover, the SBP said, the bank will verify certified true copy of the court order to ensure the authenticity of the appointed manager. “All CDD (customer due diligence) requirements should be completed for both persons to meet AML/CFT/CPF regulations,” it added.

It may be recalled that the SBP had earlier taken several measures and initiatives in consultation with the banking industry for persons with disabilities like giving special consideration for their employment and improvement in accessibility infrastructures such as ramps and wheelchair facilities in their branches.

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The official statement stated that the SBP has also made available subsidised financial facilities and credit guarantee schemes for differently-abled persons. “All these measures are being undertaken under a broader objective of improving financial inclusion in the country.”

It also said that the SBP’s current step along with a new comprehensive financial inclusion policy for persons with disabilities, to be unveiled shortly by the central bank, will pave the way for universal financial inclusion including those of marginalised segments.

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