Banking sector’s stressed asset figure, once unveiled annually, is now under wraps
The central bank has stopped publishing the figure of stressed assets in its annual financial stability report with a view to painting a rosy picture of the banking sector at a time when lenders are facing one of their worst crises in living memory. This may create a confidence crisis among investors and commoners in the financial sector as they would be completely in the dark about the true financial strength of banks. The BB unveiled the Financial Stability Report 2019 on July 1 and it did not include the data on the stressed assets for the first time. Stressed assets, which include default loans, restructured and rescheduled advances, shot up 18.89 per cent to Tk 222,162 crore in the first half of 2019, central bank data showed. The ratio of stressed assets in the banking sector was 22 per cent of total loans as of June last year, up 16.10 per cent from four and a half years earlier.The stressed assets rose to a great extent last year as banks rescheduled defaulted loans on a wholesale basis. Last year, defaulted loans amounting to Tk 52,770 crore were regularised, the highest for a single year, according to BB data. The record amount of rescheduled loans has widened the volume of stressed assets. Defaulted loans would have increased alarmingly if the central bank had not taken a relaxed rescheduling policy, bypassing its own rules and regulations. At the end of 2019, defaulted loans hit Tk 94,313 crore, up 0.42 per cent year-on-year.The BB would implement a major portion of Tk 103,117 crore stimulus packages unveiled by the government to keep the battered economy on track and business, industries and farmers withstand the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Most banks’ operating profits declined 20 to 30 per cent in the first half of 2020 because of the paralysed economy, giving the idea of how the sector is faring amid the pandemic.
Job creation to be an uphill task
Bangladesh would face a huge challenge in creating jobs owing to inadequate domestic financing, global recession, fall in export demand and spooked business confidence, said an economist yesterday.Employment generation has been a problem for the past decade while employment elasticity of growth has been declining and remained low, said SelimRaihan, executive director of the Sanem. He said that in the short- to mid-term, the future looks bleak and the depressing effects on employment and wages may continue. The government’s policy response related to the current labour market challenges has been weak and inadequate.This needs to be addressed as soon as possible, said the former senior official of the International Monetary Fund. TuomoPoutiainen, country director of the International LabourOrganisation, stressed public employment programmes. He said that stimulus should not only be for business and liquidity but also should have a focus on jobs and employment. Poutiainen highlighted the need to invest in micro, small and medium enterprises, especially concerning the rural economy.Imran Matin, executive director of the Brac Institute of Governance and Development, brought to attention the movement of labour in the ICT-based market and said collection of data on the labour market should also take this into account. As the future outlook perceived by most of the people is uncertain, it is going to affect business confidence and labour dynamics, he said.
IFC finances City Bank
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a loan of up to $30 million to City Bank, a leading private commercial bank in Bangladesh, to financing small and medium enterprises and corporate companies affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The financing package is part of IFC’s $8 billion global COVID-19 fast-track financing facility, which aims to help companies stay in business. This investment comes under the Working Capital Solutions (WCS) program of the COVID-19 response envelope, which provides $2 billion globally to emerging-market banks. This allows them to extend credit so firms can cover expenses and pay their employees.
Bank Asia introduces robotic process automation solutions
Bank Asia Ltd and ERA-InfoTech Ltd, recently signed an agreement for launching Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions to promote financial inclusion throughout the country. Mr. Md. Arfan Ali, President & Managing Director, Bank Asia Ltd and Mr. Md. Serajul Islam, CEO, ERA-InfoTech Ltd, signed the agreement in this regard.The RPA will save both time & cost by minimizing operational risks, transforming internal processes and bring an efficient customer experience, especially for remittance from abroad by enabling real-time payments.
MTB, Tradewind to offer export factoring solutions in BD
Mutual Trust Bank Limited (MTB) and German-based factoring company Tradewind GmbH (Tradewind) have inked a bi-lateral “Agreement for Business Collaboration” recently to offer a factoring solution for Bangladesh exporters. MTB Managing Director & CEO, Syed Mahbubur Rahman and Tradewind Managing Director & CEO, AnsgarHuetten signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organization. According to a research by the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM), exports under sales contract constitute 30-40% of Bangladesh trade over the last seven years. But the inherent fact is that globally reputed buyers have made a significant paradigm shift over to contract-based imports from the previously widely used yet costlier documentary credits. In light of this, export against sales contract is a fast-growing development for Bangladesh exporters. In adherence to the recently introduced Bangladesh Bank circular, the alliance between MTB and Tradewind will support the Bangladesh export community by providing non-recourse finance facilities that will allow for the acceleration of payments from international buyers which would have otherwise been affected on deferred basis.
Modhumoti Bank holds 96th EC meeting
The 96th meeting of the Executive Committee (EC) of Modhumoti Bank Limited was held on Saturday with the assistance of Zoom technology.The meeting was presided over by EC Chairman Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh.