Default loans drop by Tk13,740cr in Oct-Dec on relaxed policies
Between October and December of last year, the banking sector saw default loans significantly decline by Tk13,740 crore thanks to a new loan rescheduling policy and relaxed repayment options offered by the central bank. According to the Bangladesh Bank, the total amount of default loans fell to Tk1.20 lakh crore in December, after reaching a record high of Tk1.34 lakh crore in September last year. In December last year, the rate of default loans fell to 8.16% from 9.36% in September. Mirza Elias Uddin Ahmed, managing director of Jamuna Bank, attributed the drop mainly to an easy rescheduling policy. “Now bank boards can regularise the long defaulted loans on their own. The rescheduling earlier required around 8%-10% down payment, but the amount is now only 2%-4%,” he told The Business Standard.
Agent banking transactions climb over 46% in 2022
Transactions through agent banking accounts rose more than 46 per cent to Tk 673,069 crore in 2022 in Bangladesh riding on the increased use of the fast-expanding banking window, official figures showed. It was Tk 460,981 crore in 2021, according to data from the e-banking and e-commerce statistics unit of the central bank. Transactions jumped 27 per cent year-on-year to Tk 62,761 crore alone in December. In 2013, the central bank introduced agent banking to provide banking services to underprivileged people in rural areas, especially those in remote areas. Since than it has been booming as it is less costly compared to the traditional banking system and allows customers to receive various banking services in real time through an agent. At present, 31 banks are running agent banking activities. There were about 1.75 crore agent banking accounts in Bangladesh at the end of 2022, up 25 per cent from 1.40 crore a year earlier. The number of women account-holders rose more than 26 per cent to 84.22 lakh. Male account numbers stood at 87.96 lakh, an increase of 27.31 per cent from 69.09 lakh in 2021. Of the total account-holders, 24.10 lakh are in urban centres and 1.51 crore are in rural areas. The Dhaka division has a maximum of 3,822 agents, which is 25 per cent of the total. The Mymensingh division has the lowest number of agents at 851, or 6 per cent of the total.
USA continues to be Bangladesh’s top source of remittance
For the second consecutive quarter, the United States of America (USA) has become the biggest source of remittance for Bangladesh leaving behind the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to the second position, although the Middle Eastern nation hired a number workers during the period. Bangladeshis in the North American country sent home $966.89 million in the October-December period of 2022, up nearly 16 per cent from $834 million a year ago. As such, remittances coming from the USA was 20.06 per cent of total remittances inflow of $4.82 billion in the October-December period of last year, according to quarterly report on remittance inflows in Bangladesh released by the central bank yesterday. By contrast, migrants sent lower remittance from the KSA in the second quarter of the fiscal year (FY) 2022-23 from a year ago.