Big banks look for post-pandemic rebound of credit card revenue
Big US banks are prepared for credit-card balances to start ticking up again this year as pandemic restrictions ease and stimulus checks stop arriving, setting up the industry for a bump in one of its most profitable businesses. Lenders, including Capital One, Citigroup and JPMorgan, have been sending out more promotions to enroll new customers and encourage borrowers to spend, said Andrew Davidson of marketing-tracker Mintel Comperemedia. Some 260 million offers were sent in March, the firm estimates.At the same time, lenders have been easing credit standards, according to a recent Federal Reserve survey and public comments by bank executives, including from Bank of America Corp. The change in posture is a stark difference from last year when lenders halted most card offers and pulled back on credit limits, worried that skyrocketing unemployment would create major loan losses.The losses did not happen. Instead, the US government sent out stimulus checks, offered enhanced jobless benefits and propped up small-business owners with forgivable loans.Card balances declined 14 per cent during the pandemic, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The portion of accounts with revolving balances fell to 39.7 per cent at the end of 2020 from 44.1 per cent a year earlier, according to the American Bankers Association. Quarterly financial reports from major card lenders, including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Capital One, showcased those trends. But as pandemic lockdowns have started to ease – the return of indoor dining, travel restrictions lifted, concert announcements, offices reopening and masks coming off – executives have expressed optimism about consumer spending and borrowing ahead.
MTB inaugurates sub-branch at Mongla EPZ
Mutual Trust Bank Limited (MTB) has recently opened its sub-branch at Mongla EPZ, Khulna. Major General Md. Nazrul Islam, Chairman, Bangladesh Export Processing Zone (BEPZA) inaugurated the sub-branch as the chief guest through a virtual inauguration ceremony while Syed Mahbubur Rahman, Managing Director & CEO, Mutual Trust Bank Limited (MTB) was also virtually present.
Inflation ticks up in April
Inflation went up for the third consecutive month in April owing to the rise in the prices of major food items such as rice, wheat, lentil, and sugar. General inflation rose to 5.56 per cent last month, up nine basis points from 5.47 per cent the previous month, according to data of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) released yesterday.Food inflation increased to 5.57 per cent from 5.51 per cent, and no-food inflation advanced to 5.55 per cent from 5.39 per cent. For the computation of the Consumer Price Index, two consumer baskets are used: urban basket and rural basket. In the urban consumer basket, the prices of 422 commodities are included. For the rural basket, the prices of 318 food and non-food items are taken into account.The BBS collects the price data from 140 main markets: 64 from urban, 64 from rural, and 12 from Dhaka city corporations. In the rural areas, inflation was up 11 basis points at 5.66 per cent in April compared to a month earlier. Food inflation went up by five basis points to 5.88 per cent in April from 5.83 per cent in March. Non-food inflation rose by 22 basis points to 5.25 per cent.In the urban areas, inflation ticked up by eight basis points to 5.39 per cent. Food inflation was up seven basis points at 4.87 per cent, and non-food inflation rose by nine basis points to 5.96 per cent, BBS data showed.The government has targeted a 5.5 per cent inflation rate this fiscal year. It was able to contain it at 5.48 per cent last fiscal year.
Indonesia to build $1.2b battery plant with LG
State-owned Indonesia Battery Corporation (IBC) and South Korea’s LG will build a new battery plant worth $1.2 billion with the capacity of 10 gigawatt hours (GWh), Indonesia’s investment minister said on Monday. The plant, part of a bigger $9.8 billion electric vehicle deal between LG and Indonesia signed last year, will be built in the city of Bekasi, on the eastern border of the capital Jakarta.The LG consortium consists of different LG units, including LG Chem, LG Energy Solution, LG International, plus South Korean steelmaker POSCO and Chinese cobalt company, Huayou Holdings