Problems and Prospects of Banking Industry in Bangladesh

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Problems and prospects of banking industry in Bangladesh

The central bank has finally approved nine more banks in addition to existing 47 commercial banks in Bangladesh. Three new NRB commercial banks, sponsored by non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs), and six private commercial banks (PCBs), have been approved aiming to help boost the inflow of foreign exchange and strengthen the ongoing financial inclusion programmes through bringing unbanked people under the banking network respectively. The letters of intent (LoIs) `have already been issued to the sponsors of such approved banks. There have been many significant developments in the economy of Bangladesh since 2000-2001, the central bank stated, explaining the economic context and rationale behind issuing licences in favour of new banks. The economy has grown and the banking system has become more competitive but there are still a large number of under-banked people in Bangladesh.

Recent estimates from a survey conducted by the Institute of Microfinance (IoF) found that only 45 per cent of the nearly 9000 households surveyed do have access to banks and micro-finance institutions (MFIs) for loans. The population per branch (21065) and the ratio of loan accounts per 1000 adults (42yrs) suggest that the outreach of the formal financial sector in Bangladesh is lower than that in India (14485 and 124 respectively) and Pakistan (20340 population per branch and 47 loan accounts per 1000), according to the statement of IoF.

Bangladesh Bank assumes that the new banks will help increase the quality of banking services by increasing competition in the banking sector. They will also be able to meet the unfulfilled demand for credit by the private sector whose needs have grown in line with a fast expanding economy. The central bank noted that, for new banks the ratio of opening rural and urban branch will be 1:1 which will help increase bank branches in rural areas and improve financial inclusion. But the home truth...
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