The central bank yesterday altered the rules for writing off bad loans, it said in a notice.
From now on, lenders do not have to file cases for bad loans — Tk 50,000 or less — to be written off from balance sheets against full provisioning.
In 2007, Bangladesh Bank made the filing of cases mandatory before writing off any loan, irrespective of the amount.
“We have observed that, in many cases, especially with a small amount of loans, expenditure relating to court cases exceeds the loan amount,” the central bank said.
News:The Daily Star/24-Nov-2013
United Commercial Bank Ltd on Saturday launched mobile-based financial service styled ‘UCash,’ eying to expand its innovative banking service to unbanked population across the country.
With the launch of UCash, officials of the bank said, they have come with a set of innovative ideas, including profits on deposits, to compete in a “mature” market.
“We have always been introducing some demand-driven and market-driven banking services and launching of UCash service is the continuation of that effort,” said MA Hashem, UCB Chairman, who was the chief guest at the launching ceremony.
To ensure smooth, prompt and uninterrupted service across the country, Ucash has already appointed over 10,000 agents across the country to make available the new financial service, UCB officials said.
Initially the service of UCash will be available through ROBI and Airtel. It will be accessible through all the mobile networks very soon, they added.
UCash is currently providing mobile financial service facilities like money transfer, purchasing and money deposit.
The key feature of UCash is giving interest on deposits for the first time through mobile financial service. It would be a special one, as people will get interest on the money deposited by UCash service from the very first day, officials noted.
Among others, Vice-Chairman of UCB Sharif Zahir, Chairman of Executive Committee, Saifuzzaman Chowdhury, Chairman of Audit Committee Lt Gen (rtd) ATM Zahirul Alam, Directors MA Sabur, Md Jahangir Alam Khan and Md Tanvir Khan, and Managing Director Muhammed Ali, spoke on the occasion.
IFIC Bank opened its 110th branch at Meghola Bazar at Dohar recently.
Deputy Managing Directors of IFIC Bank Mati-ul Hasan and SM Abdul Hamid and Muhammad Mustafa Haikal Hashmi inaugurated the branch, said a press release.
Local dignitaries and businessmen, senior executives of the bank also attended the inaugural ceremony.
IFIC Bank established the branch to take the modern banking services to the doorstep of customers.
Doulot Akter Mala
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) instructed all banks to freeze accounts of the cell phone company, Robi Axiata BD Limited, due to non-payment of its due tax.
The Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) under the Value Added Tax (VAT) wing issued a letter to the country's all commercial banks with an instruction to suspend transaction in the bank accounts of the mobile phone operator until payment of its nearly Tk 350 million tax.
A senior VAT official said the company has illegally taken some Tk 830 million VAT rebate in its return that was submitted to the tax authority.
Of the amount, the VAT wing has already realised Tk 480 million from Robi's current bank accounts. The LTU instructed banks to freeze all its bank accounts to realise the rest Tk 350 million.
Provision of taking such rebates was scrapped by the NBR earlier, he added.
"Taxmen served notices several times asking the company either to adjust or pay the tax to the public exchequer. But the company did not respond in this regard," he said.
The NBR will ask the banks to open the frozen accounts after getting the outstanding tax that it took as rebate for purchase of raw materials, the official added.
In the letter, the tax authority said they have found the irregularities after auditing the company's documents from January to November 2012.
"The company has taken tax rebate illegally which is a violation of VAT law, 1991," the letter said.
Talking to the FE, an official of Robi, preferring anonymity, said the company's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who is now in Kuala Lumpur can comment on this.
Robi Axiata Limited is a joint venture company between Axiata Group Berhad, Malaysia and NTT DOCOMO INC, Japan.
It was formerly known as Telekom Malaysia International (Bangladesh) which commenced operations in Bangladesh in 1997 with the brand name AKTEL. On March 28, 2010, the service name was rebranded as 'Robi'.
News:The Financial Express/20-Nov-2013
The central bank has introduced US dollar (USD) and Bangladesh Taka (BDT) swap arrangement through offshore banking units (OBUs) of the commercial banks, officials said.
Under the new arrangement, the banks are allowed to swap maximum $20 million from Bangladesh Bank (BB) against their BDT through their OBUs for maximum six months.
"We want to meet the growing demand for foreign currency for investment in Bangladesh through offering such facility to the banks," a BB senior official told the FE Monday.
He also said the central bank has already communicated with the banks about introduction of the USD-BDT swap facility.
"We may extend the tenure of the swap facility if necessary," the central banker explained.
The banks will receive interest on their invested BDT on the basis of reverse repo rate from Bangladesh Bank, while the banks will have to pay at the London Inter-bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) plus 1.0 per cent interest to the central bank for the US-dollar amount, according to the arrangement.
"Large foreign currency borrowers including Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation and Biman Bangladesh Airlines may take advantage of the new arrangement through borrowing from local banks," another BB official noted.
The central bank has taken the latest move against the backdrop of healthy position of the country's foreign exchange reserve in the recent times.
The country's forex reserve rose to $16.89 billion Monday from $16.85 billion on the previous working day due mainly to higher growth of export earnings and lower import payment pressure in the recent times, according to the BB officials.
"We're able to settle more than five months' import bills with the existing forex reserve," another BB official said, adding that the reserve would increase gradually in the coming days.
The deposit and lending operations of OBUs are carried out entirely in foreign currencies.
The overseas banking operations at normal bank branches are done over separate counters, by maintaining separate offshore banking accounts.
Currently, 31 local and foreign commercial banks conduct OBU operations in Bangladesh.
News:The Financial Express/20-Nov-2013