Rehmat Nigar

Relationship manager with lender HBL, an IFC client.



I grew up in a town called Singal in the mountains in the Ghizer district in the North West of Pakistan.  When I ended up in Karachi,  I was happy to be in a place with so much opportunity. I interned with a bank for six months and then landed a job at HBL. I don't ever plan on leaving HBL. I have been here for six years I am happy and I know that in just a few years I will become a branch manager. At the moment, I work as a relationship manager.



However in Karachi, even if it is a big city, there are many communities where women are not present in public life at all. When the Nysa program started at HBL, I was encouraged to recruit more female account holders, so I started talking to my customers about setting up bank accounts for their wives and sisters. I remember one customer told me that his sister was afraid of getting on a rickshaw to visit the branch. I called her at her home and convinced her that there was nothing to be afraid of. She finally showed up but hesitated to speak to me. I showed her the other women working at and visiting the bank. Gradually she relaxed.



The Nysa program grants small discounts for female account holders on banking fees and even insurance. This is a good excuse for families to open accounts under the women in the household. We are moving away from the attitude of  "What do women need bank accounts for?" with these incentives.



I have a successful career. Last year I closed 7 million rupees in insurance sales. I know that I am talented and good at what I do. I believe that education is the only way to advance women, and that includes financial training.