Cyber security at banks far cry from proper level
Bankers and experts on Sunday said that the majority of the country’s commercial banks were yet to take proper security measures to tackle cyber-attack as the top executives of the banks possessed a poor knowledge about information technology. One-fourth of the managing directors of the 57 banks have no idea how to operate email that may plunge their banks into a major cyber risk, they said at a workshop ‘cyber threat readiness for bank’ jointly organised by the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management and Trans IT Solution at the BIBM auditorium in the capital, Dhaka. Association of Bankers, Bangladesh chairman Anis A Khan said the MDs and CEOs of 12 to 14 banks hadn’t the slightest idea how to reply to an email. ‘The MDs will not be able to protect their banks from unexpected cyber-attack due to lack of awareness about the IT system. They have no capacity to place a proper proposal before their respective boards of directors to set up updated IT infrastructure at their banks,’ he said while addressing the workshop.
Senior executives of the banks also hold poor IT knowledge that will put the banks at risk, said Anis, also the MD and CEO of Mutual Trust Bank. Dutch-Bangla Bank managing director Abul Kashem Md Shirin said that half of the banks would fail to provide client services if the Dhaka city faced any natural calamity like moderate-degree cyclone and earthquake. No banks would be able to continue operation in case of a heavy natural disaster as all banks have set up their data centres and data recovery stations in the capital.
BB rejects Sonali Bank plea for taking Tk 62cr fresh capital to its India op
Bangladesh Bank has rejected a Sonali Bank plea to inject Tk 62.50 crore as fresh capital into its India operation so that the foreign branches of the bank could not disburse large amount of loan to any single client or corporate group. Sonali Bank has been operating its business through two branches – at Siliguri and Kolkata – in India where only four top borrowers are now holding 80.40 per cent of total defaulted loans, according to a BB report. Besides, 65.35 per cent of total defaulted loans of the two branches are now stuck with the top 20 borrowers. The overall defaulted loans in the two branches stood at 3.44 per cent as of March 31, 2016 against their total disbursed loans. The bank issued a letter to the central bank on March 27 requesting it to give approval to transfer capital into its India operation with a view to increasing its single borrower exposure limit.A bank is allowed to disburse maximum 15 per cent loan to a single borrower against its total capital in line with Basel III guidelines, a global voluntary regulatory framework on banks’ capital adequacy, stress testing and market liquidity risk. The management of Sonali Bank requested the central bank to provide the capital support at a time when the state lender itself faced a capital shortfall of Tk 2,557.74 crore as of March 31. The existing huge capital shortfall of Sonali Bank is another cause of denying the bank’s plea to inject the capital into its two foreign branches.
Bank Asia, UNDP team up for social safety net payments
Bank Asia has recently teamed up with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide the village population with easier access to social safety net payments. This new partnership aims at bringing financial safety payments and financial services at a doorstep, including providing financial literacy, the bank said in statement yesterday.“This is a prime example of the private sector designing inclusive business models and services moving beyond corporate banking business,” said Md Arfan Ali, president and managing director of Bank Asia.“The partnership will expand bank account adoption, consequently accelerating the pathway out of poverty for approximately 10,000 people in the first two years.” “Poverty reduction is the core mission of Bank Asia,” A Rouf Chowdhury, chairman of the bank, said at the programme. “In line with this, our bank has been working all over the country for financial inclusion of unbanked population using its digital banking platform and thus trying to make a tangible turn in the development of national economy.”The initial pilot phase of this project will run for a period of one year and cover one district, according to the statement. During this period, a research study will be conducted to tailor a mobile application for digital financial services developed by Bank Asia specifically for this target group.
Banks susceptible to cyber threats: analysts
Bangladesh’s banks remain vulnerable to cyber threats as hackers continue to target financial institutions exploiting modern technology, analysts said yesterday. Hackers attack computers worldwide every 39 seconds, according to Rubaiyyaat Aakbar, an IT expert.“Banks and financial institutions are the prime targets of hackers and Bangladesh is not immune from this threat,” he said.Aakbar made the comments at a workshop styled ‘Cyber threat readiness for bankers’ jointly organised by the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) and Trans IT Solution, a local information technology firm, at the BIBM headquarters in Dhaka. Ransomware alone caused financial losses to the tune of $1 billion last year, he said quoting a report published by Cybersecurity Ventures, the world’s leading researcher and publisher covering the global cyber economy. Damages would be far higher in the days to come due to malware, which infects computers and restricts their access to files and often threatens permanent data destruction unless a ransom is paid, Aakbar said.“So, banks must take robust preparations now to face the emerging challenge. Otherwise, depositors’ money will be at stake.”Fazle Kabir, governor of Bangladesh Bank, said: “Cybersecurity has become a concern worldwide.” He said the central bank has taken a number of steps including appointing a chief IT officer and formulating a cybersecurity guideline.
Home loans rise on falling interest: study
Bangladesh’s banking sector has been seeing a surge in home loans for the last two years due to single digit interest rate and an increase in per capita income. As of June last year, total outstanding home loans from banks and financial institutions stood at Tk 56,290 crore, which was 9.1 percent of total credit to the private sector, according to a study. Mohiuddin Siddique, professor and director of Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management, presented the research paper titled “Home Loan of Banks: Trend and Impact” at a roundtable held yesterday at the BIBM auditorium in Dhaka. Default loans in home loan are low due to good recovery: it was 3.12 percent in 2016.Of the total outstanding home loans, private commercial banks provided the largest portion of 55 percent, or Tk 30,920 crore, followed by the state-owned banks at Tk 11,930 crore. Intense competition among banks in attracting home loan borrowers pushed down the interest rate, the study said. The interest rate for home loan is a minimum of 8 percent and a maximum of 15 percent. The loans ranged between Tk 2 lakh and Tk 1.2 crore. The minimum debt-equity ratio spanned between 10:90 and 50:50. Most of the banks provide loan at debt-equity ratio of 30:70 for locals and 50:50 for expatriates.
Non-resident Bangladeshis can borrow 75% of cost for housing from now on
Bangladesh Bank (BB) has allowed non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) to borrow up to 75% of the total cost for housing purposes, instead of the previous ceiling of 50%.As such, NRB borrowers now only have to pay one quarter of the property price to qualify for the credit to buy it. The central bank announced the directive to all managing directors and chief executive officers of authorised dealer (AD) banks of foreign exchange through a circular on Sunday. The circular, issued by the Foreign Exchange Policy Department (FEPD) of BB, read: “In order to enhance housing finance facility to NRBs working abroad, it has been decided that they may avail housing finance facility at a maximum debt equity ratio of 75:25 instead of the existing debt equity ratio of 50:50. Other instructions in this context shall remain unchanged.”The previous debt equity ratio of 50:50 was announced through a circular on December 6, 2015.
Report: Banks, financial institutions faced cyberattacks every 39 seconds in 2016
Trans IT, a Bangladeshi IT firm revealed that banks and financial institutions worldwide came under cyber attack every 39 seconds in 2016.The report titled “Cyber Threat: Readiness for Bankers,” also revealed that worldwide losses due to ransome ware attack was worth more than $1bn only and the losses from the cyber attacks might cross the $6tn mark by 2021. The report was unveiled at the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management office in Dhaka’s Mirpur on Sunday. The study stated that 64% of of the cyber attacks occurred in 2016 were web-based, 62% were due to phishing and social engineering, 59% for malware and botnets and 51% as a result of denial of service.“With a view to hacking thousands of crore of money, the hackers are trying continuously to enter the payment system of banks and other financial institutions by deceiving bankers, especially taking the advantage of mistakes done by common employees,” said Rubaiyyaat Aakbar, an IT security analyst and representative of Trans IT Solution, during his keynote speech at the seminar.
No BD bank ready to face sudden data centre collapse
No bank in Bangladesh is ready to recover from a sudden data centre collapse due to natural calamities while most not even capable of turning around instantly from a major digital shutdown, a survey finds. The stunning revelation was made Sunday at a workshop on cyber-threat readiness of banks, based on a recent industry-wide study on the state of cyber-security of banks in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) organised the workshop in the capital, where the event of Bangladesh Bank’s reserve stealing by an international gang of hackers and its aftermath came up prominently. “Only 20 banks out of 56 have the capacity to recover from a major shutdown like corruption of database and storage-or data-centre damage caused by fire,” said Abul Kashem Md. Shirin, Managing Director and CEO of Dutch-Bangla Bank Limited.”Meanwhile, there is not a single bank which can recover from Data Centre or near Data Centre collapse due to earthquake, flood or cyclone,” he cautioned, on the basis of the results of the industry-wide research.
Bank Asia holds half-yearly review meeting
Half-yearly Business Review Meeting-2017 of Bank Asia was held on Saturday at a hotel in Dhaka. Mr. A Rouf Chowdhury, Chairman of the Bank inaugurated the meeting. Vice Chairmen Mr.Mohd. Safwan Choudhury and Mr. AM Nurul Islam, Chairman of Board Audit Committee Mr. Md. Mashiur Rahman, former Chairman of Board Executive Committee Mr. Rumee A Hossain and President & Managing Director Mr. Md. Arfan Ali, among others, were present. Heads of all branches from Dhaka Zone, SME/ Agri Branches, top executives and departmental heads of Corporate Office attended the meeting which reviewed the business performance of the Bank in the first six months of the year. Taking previous experience into consideration and analysing the industry and economic outlook, a strategic action plan was drawn to face the economic challenges and achieve the objectives and goals for upcoming months.
NCC Bank arranges training course
NCC Bank arranged “68th Foundation Training Course for its Officers” at NCC Bank Training Institute Sunday. Managing Director & CEO (c.c.) Mosleh Uddin Ahmed inaugurated the training course as chief guest. Deputy Managing Directors Md.Fazlur Rahman & Md. Habibur Rahman and Head of HR, J H Shahedi were also present on the occasion as special guests. Principal of TI, Jagadish Chandra Debnath conducted the course. In his speech Managing Director & CEO Mosleh Uddin Ahmed said that, the participants will be able to utilize the knowledge likely to attain through this course about the laws & regulations, directives, guidelines, common risk management practice in future career.
BDBL holds meeting on Public Service Day
Bangladesh Development Bank Limited organized a discussion meeting on ‘National Public Service Day’ Sunday at the board room of the bank.AKM Hamidur Rahman, Deputy Managing Director presided over the meeting where DMD Pankaj Roy Chowdhury, General Managers and other senior executives attended. Issues including enhancement of existing banking service, introduction of an innovative service and speedy automation were discussed during the meeting.
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