A NEW OPTIMISM
Muhammad Umar is one of the many Pakistanis whose small enterprise contributes to the nation’s thriving textile industry. He runs a plant in Samanabad, near Faisalabad, that produces yarn. Before he discovered FINCA Microfinance Bank Ltd, his business struggled along with just one machine. He says he approached commercial banks for expansion loans, but was repeatedly rejected. His friends told him about FINCA Microfinance Bank Ltd, and he went to a branch but with, he admits, low expectations, figuring that this Bank, too, would spend two or three months before ultimately rejecting his application. To his surprise, the bank officers visited his plant the very next day and made the effort to really understand his business. They disbursed a loan of PKR 30,000 that same evening.
With that capital, Mr. Umar immediately bought a second machine. With the increased profits from his business, and subsequent loans from FINCA, he has steadily expanded his operations. Today his plant operates 10 machines, and he plans to keep expanding until his mini-factory is running 30 machines.
Mr. Umar stresses that if he had not had a good initial experience with FINCA, he would not have come back for additional financing after paying off his first loan. But he says that with FINCA’s help, his prospects have immensely improved. All of his children are studying in good schools now, unlike Mr. Umar himself who had to drop out of school as a child to earn money. Mr. Umar says that when he first started his one-machine plant, money was so scarce that some nights the family would go to sleep without eating. Nothing like that happens today. Today, he says, his mental stress is gone. He has nothing but optimism for his business, and for his family’s future. He has peace of mind.