BB eases offshore banking rules
The Central Bank recently revised its policy to allow local industrial enterprises to take foreign currency loans from Offshore Banking Units (OBUs) as a concessionary move towards Banks. An offshore banking unit is a Bank’s shell branch that conducts regular banking activities but in foreign currency. With a view to bringing discipline to the offshore banking programme, the Bangladesh Bank on February 25 issued a full-fledged policy for it. But the policy did not go down well with Banks. Later on April 24, the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh (ABB), a platform of Private Banks’ Managing Directors, called upon the central bank to revise the policy, which has made running their OBUs rather difficult. As a conciliatory move, the BB has revised the policy to allow local companies to take loans from OBUs at LIBOR plus 3.5 percent, a much cheaper rate.
City Bank embracing digital innovations with gusto
Local City Bank, a 36-year-old lender, has taken to this new wave of digital transformation with gusto. Young adults and millennials are least interested in the traditional branch-led banking model; they are more comfortable with banking from their smartphones. According to Mashrur Arefin, MD and CEO of City Bank, they want to be largely a virtual bank in three years. Even, marginal people residing in a remote place should get banking services through QR Code, point-of-sales terminals and biometric devices. City Bank has a plan to become a Digital Bank that will operate online with no addition of physical branches. It also wants to run its lending programme through digital financial services (DFS), which will subsequently decrease operational costs. Regulatory support will be required from both the Central Bank and the government as the traditional KYC (know-your-client) will have to be changed to implement the DFS model.
Credit issuance to EPZ, EZ, HTP units eased
Bangladesh Bank on Monday eased rules on loan sanction from Banks’ Offshore Banking Units for the entities located in the export processing zones, economic zones and high-tech parks. The Central Bank issued a circular stating that the changes would smoothen the offshore banking operation in Bangladesh. Under the revised provision, Banks are allowed to issue short-term loans to joint venture Companies in the export processing zone (EPZ), economic zone (EZ) and high-tech park (HTP) in the country without taking permission from the Central Bank. Besides, fully foreign entities would also be able to take all kinds of regular banking services from the Banks except taking mid-term and short-term loans. In case of issuing mid-term and short-term loans to fully foreign entities, banks will have to take prior approval from the Central Bank.
Sindabad.com raises $4.15m
Local e-commerce platform Sindabad.com has received $4.15 million from Aavishkaar Frontier Fund (AFF), a venture fund managed by Aavishkaar, a leading Asian impact Investment Company, in order to fine-tune and scale up its Business. Sindabad, the country’s first Business-to-Business (B2B) e-commerce platform, is a concern of Zero Gravity Ventures Ltd and provides Business buyers a convenient, transparent and seamless platform for manufacturing and consumption purchases with direct-to-office deliveries. According to Asif Zahir, Co-founder and MD of Zero Gravity, this new investment in Sindabad is beyond simple financing; rather, with the greater investment portfolio of Aavishkaar Ventures, they are looking to incorporate best practices and future collaboration with similar Companies and start-ups in the region who have already succeeded in the B2B space.
Govt to frame policy for informal sector
The government will formulate a policy guideline for informal sector to help ensure its sustainable growth and increase contribution to the national economy.To this effect, the Informal Sector Industry Skills Council (ISISC) is outlining a draft policy to submit it to the Ministry of Industries (MoI) by next month (June). Based on the draft, the Ministry will form a policy for the sector. This development was disclosed at a workshop on ‘Drafting Policy Guideline for the Informal Sector Industries’. Abdul Halim, secretary of the MoI, was the Chief Guest of the programme, while Begum Parag, additional secretary of the ministry, chaired it.
US-Bangla operates new aircraft as 1st pvt carrier
The US-Bangla Airlines has included brand new aircraft to its fleet as the first ever country’s private carrier to operate domestic routes. The airlines procured two brand new next generation ATR 72-600 aircraft recently and scheduled to get two more same modelled turboprop next month to operate flights in domestic routes. Equipped with modern technology, this ATR series aircraft was also being used by Air India, Indigo, Malaysian Airlines, Malindo and Lion Air.
Narail farmers happy with banana production, price
In recent years, cultivation of bananas in Bangladesh has created a great buzz among farmers drawn by the lure of the higher profits it generates. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization ranks bananas as the world’s fourth-most important crop after the major cereals. The country produces just under 1 million tonnes of bananas annually, last year it was 807,000 tonnes. Banana farmers in Narail, who had a bumper crop this year, are also pocketing three-to-four times the usual price during Ramadan.
New CEO: Sena Hotel Developments
Radisson Blu Chattogram Bay View’s owning Company, Sena Hotel Developments, Chattogram Office, has recently appointed a new Chief Executive Officer. Completing a 33-year military career, Brig Gen (retd) M Abul Hashem has served in a blend of command, staff and instructional appointments at various levels within Bangladesh Armed Forces and overseas United Nations missions.
BRAC Bank organizes Agent Banking workshop
BRAC Bank Limited organized a workshop on “Building awareness among bank resources and agents regarding Agent Banking” in Cumilla recently. Abul Bashar, General Manager, Financial Inclusion Department, Bangladesh Bank, attended the programme as the chief guest. A H M Rafiqul Islam, Joint Director, Financial Inclusion Department, Bangladesh Bank; Md. Nazmul Hasan, Head of Agent Banking, BRAC Bank and other senior officials were also present.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DJIA||25,585.69|| ↑95.22|| ↑0.37%|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 59.04||↑0.41||↑0.70%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)|| $ 69.94||↓0.17||↓0.24%|
|Gold Spot|| $1,283.12||↓2.24||↓0.17%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 82.5641|
|GBP 1||BDT 104.8460|
|EUR 1||BDT 92.4502|
|INR 1||BDT 1.1876|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.<