BB to ask BTRC to set logical price of USSD, SMS
Bangladesh Bank will request the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to take initiative to set a logical price of unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) and short message service (SMS) for facilitating banks’ mobile financial services.The central bank will place the recommendations at the coming coordination meeting, which will be held on August 1 at the BB headquarters in the capital, among the financial market regulators.A BB official told New Age on Monday that some banks had recently submitted allegations before the central bank that the using cost of USSD and SMS set by mobile network operators (MNOs) was high considering their earnings through operating the MFS.The banks are using the USSD to transfer the MFS related transaction data to clients.According to a central bank report, the MNOs earlier made agreements with the banks fixing different rates on the use of the USSD which created an impediment to make a competitive market of the MFS.The high rate on the USSD made a big embargo for the banks which are taking preparation to enter the MFS market.Such rate is also expensive for the banks which are now providing the MFS to the clients.The report said that Grameenphone Ltd had recently canceled an agreement with bKash, a subsidiary company of BRAC Bank that provides MFS, and set a higher charge for per SMS than that of the previous rate.The MNO cancelled the bundle price rate with bKash and set Tk 0.20 for per SMS.bKash informed the central bank that such higher rate might put an adverse impact on the client-level.Other MNOs will encourage increasing the price rate of SMS if Grameenphone continued to maintain the rate which will squeeze the country’s MFS market, according to the central bank report.
BB to print 1,500m currency, banknotes
The Bangladesh Bank (BB) has set a target to produce 1,500 million pieces of currency and banknotes of different denominations in the current fiscal year (FY), up by 66 per cent from the FY 2015-16, officials said.”The currency notes will be produced in the context of the country’s growing demand throughout the current fiscal year,” a high official of department concerned of the central bank told the FE on Thursday.The security printing press — Security Printing Corporation Bangladesh Ltd (SPCBL)– produced 902.05 million currency and banknotes in the FY 2015-2016, according to the Bangladesh Bank (BB).Only 271.95 million currency and banknotes were printed in the FY 1988-89, the BB data showed. Some 11708.92 million other security products (OSPs) were printed from the press in the FY 2016-17. Some 11831.42 million OSPs would be printed in the current fiscal year, the data mentioned.
BB hikes farm loan disbursement target by 16.24% for FY’18
The central bank has raised the farm loan disbursement target to Tk20,400 crore for the Fiscal Year 2017-18, up 16.4% from Tk17,550 crore set in FY’17.Bangladesh Bank Deputy Governor SM Moniruzzaman announced the target while unveiling the agriculture and rural credit policy for the current fiscal year at a meeting at BB headquarters in Dhaka on Thursday.According to the central banks’ target, state-owned commercial and specialised banks have to disburse Tk9,590 crore by June 2018, while private commercial and foreign commercial banks Tk10,810 crore as agriculture credit.During the concluded fiscal year, the banks disbursed an agricultural loan of Tk20,998.70 crore, which was 120% of the target of Tk17,550 crore, according to the latest data unveiled by Bangladesh Bank.According to the BB data, the state-owned and specialised banks have disbursed agricultural credit of Tk9,698 crore while the private and foreign commercial banks Tk11,300 crore during the last fiscal year.A total of 38,56,635 farmers received agriculture and rural credit in the immediate past fiscal year. Of them, 29,74,407 were small and marginal farmers who got Tk14,930.46 crore, while 18,47,065 women received Tk6,240.66 crore.In the announcement of agriculture and rural credit policy, the central bank added some new benefits to the previous ones for farmers.
No bidders in Sonali Bank’s Hallmark auction
The state-run Sonali bank has found no bidder during an April auction to sell five corporate entities of the little-known Hallmark Group, while a new auction will be held for Hallmark Spinning Mills next month.The five bids aimed to bag Tk340.24 crore for the bank while the new one will be auctioned at Tk125.23 crore, official sources said.Sonali bank monthly progress report sent to the Financial Institutions Division on Recovery of Money from Hallmark Scam revealed the fact.The auction for fund raising came years after the Hallmark sister concerns failed to repay loan obtained through forgery and also after decree issued by Artho Rin Adalat.A source in the Financial Institutions Division said the state-run bank has already informed the division that it did not find any bidders for five scam-hit firms of Hallmark.The bank can put bids for another two times, added the source.An unholy nexus is working behind scene so that no bidders show up, added the source.The Anti-Corruption Commission has started investigation into the Sonali Bank’s illegal lending of Tk3,547 crore to Hallmark Group and other companies, and those involved in the scam.The amount embezzled by the six entities of Hallmark Group is equivalent to almost 15% of the total estimated cost of the $2.9 billion Padma Bridge project.
Shirin Sharmin speaks at EBL Leadership Lecture
Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury has attended the Easter Bank Limited (EBL) Leadership Lecture Series as guest speaker.The programme was held at EBL Capacity Enhancement Centre in Motijheel, Dhaka on Thursday.She was greeted with a bouquet by EBL Managing Director and CEO Ali Reza Iftekhar.Dr Shirin Sharmin is the current and the first woman Speaker of Jatiya Sangsad since April 2013.
AE Abdul Muhaimen appointed MD of UCB
AE Abdul Muhaimen has been appointed as the Managing Director of United Commercial Bank Limited (UCB).Prior to that, he was the Additional Managing Director of UCB.Abdul Muhaimen is a senior banking professional with 30 years of experience with multinational corporations and regional banks in Asia, Australia, Middle East.Mr. Muhaimen have also held Board positions as a Director on the Boards of Brac EPL, Brac EPSL, bKash and IIDFC in Bangladesh.
BMBA team flies to India today
During the tour, the delegation will visit the Securities and Exchange Board of India, National Stock Exchange, Bombay Stock Exchange, National Institute of Securities’ Markets and Association of Investment Bankers of India.Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission has organised the trip, aiming to help the BMBA delegation to secure knowledge on how Indian stock market regulator and its affiliated bodies work on market development.The BMBA delegates will also learn and discuss about the steps the Indian stock market regulator and other related firms have taken. They will also focus on their products and future work plan.BMBA President Md Sayadur Rahman will lead the delegation. The other delegates are BMBA Vice-President Dr M Mosharraf Hossain, Secretary General Khairul Bashar Abu Taher Mohammad, Treasurer Khandaker Kayesh Hasan and executive members Riyad Matin, Tahid A Chowdhury and Md Ahsan Ullah.
Mercantile Bank vows to grab 7th position at the end of 2017
Mercantile Bank Limited (MBL) has grabbed the 10th position among the private commercial banks in terms of operating profit in the half year of this calendar year.”We are hopeful to upgrade our position to number 7 at the end of 2017,” Kazi Masihur Rahman, Managing Director & CEO of Mercantile Bank Limited told a group of journalists Saturday in the city.The bank earned Tk 3.25 billion (325.00 crore) as operating profit in the period ended June 30, 2017 which is 42 per cent higher than the corresponding period of last year.Profit after provision is higher than 26 per cent compared to last year. “Our treasury has contributed a lot to the bottom line. Deposit and advance rose 19 per cent in 2017 compared to last year. The overall import and export business increased 35 per cent and 15 per cent respectively,” Kazi Masihur Rahman disclosed.”We have successfully trimmed down NPL from 5.13 per cent to 4.31 per cent during the first six months of 2017. A strong, dedicated and experienced team is working round the clock on it. For long run business, we have maintained the CRAR (Capital to Risk Weighted Assets Ratio) at 12.07 per cent.
City Bank, FMO organise training on commodity price risk
City Bank and FMO, the Dutch Development Bank jointly organised a two-day long interactive training session on ‘Commodity Price Risk Management’ in association with Euromoney Learning Solutions at City Bank head office.Ahmed Jamal, Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank, Sohail R. K. Hussain, Managing Director & CEO of City Bank and Elisabeth Wegen, Senior Analyst, Financial Institutions of FMO have inaugurated the programme recently. Among others, Rahel Ahmed, DMD, Prime Bank; Sheikh Mohammad Maroof, DMD, City Bank; Mahia Juned, DMD, City Bank were also present. The training has been participated by senior officials from Bangladesh Bank, City Bank, FMO and other leading commercial banks of the country.
The country’s entire garment sector will be mapped digitally in a move to ensure transparency and transformation of the industry.Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed launched the project titled “Digital RMG Factory Mapping in Bangladesh (DRFM-B) at an event held Saturday at the headquarters of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in Dhaka.The project will jointly be implemented by BRAC University’s Centre for Entrep-reneurship Development coordinated by BRAC USA.The BGMEA will be a strategic partner of the project funded by C&A Foundation.Credible, comprehensive and accurate data on factories across the country will be collected and disclosed those in a publicly available online map, organisers said.The map will provide a detailed industry-wide database of factories including names, locations, number of workers, products, export destinations, certifications and name of major brands and buyers working with a particular factory.
Bangladesh’s private sector borrowing from foreign banks through the country’s private commercial banks’ offshore units jumped to $6.26bn in 2016 rising 31% from $4.7bn in 2015, said a report released by the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) on Thursday.According to the report, the country’s foreign borrowing totalled $1.58bn in 2012, which increased to $2.03bn in 2013 and $3.78bn in 2014.A six-member team led by BIBM Research Director Shah Md Ahsan Habib presented the report titled “Prospects and Challenges of Short-term Foreign Currency Financing of Bank” at a workshop organised at the BIBM premises.Individuals or institutions can take short-term foreign loans through offshore units of commercial banks.Usually, the loan is taken deferring the payment against letters of credit. The tenure of the loans tends to be one year and the rate of interest a maximum of 6%.The multinational companies and garment factories take most of the foreign loans through the offshore units, said the report.Expressing concerns over the rising trend of offshore loans the experts and banking analysts who attended the workshop said the increased offshore loans would destabilise the foreign currency market in Bangladesh.Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank Abu Hena Mohammed Razee Hassan addressed the event as the chief guest. He said: “The finance of potential sector is the key driver of sustainable development. In Bangladesh, there is a huge demand of foreign currency financing due to low interest rate.”