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Banks demand slash in interest rates on savings certificates

  • Published at 10:34 pm May 22nd, 2018

Bangladesh Association of Banks has already written to Finance Minister AMA Muhith in this regard

In an effort to address a liquidity crisis, private banks demanded that the government lower interest rates on savings certificates.

Bangladesh Association of Banks (BAB), an organization of private bank owners, thinks the move will ease the liquidity crisis and reduce the double-digit lending rate, reports Bangla Tribune. 

It has already sent a letter to Finance Minister AMA Muhith in this regard. 

The association leaders are also expected to meet the minister soon to discuss the matter. 

“We as well as the government are trying to bring down the interest rate to a single digit. We are taking numerous initiatives for the sake of the country’s economy. We want to utilize the money that remains idle in the state-owned banks,” said the association President and Exim Bank Chairman Nazrul Islam Majumder.   

In order to cut lending rate, private banks managed to get four advantages from the government, but the rates are yet to come down. 

According to a Bangladesh Bank report, interest rate on loans rose more in March than in February.

Recently, in a letter to the finance ministry, the central bank said high interest rate on savings certificates is breaching discipline in the banking sector. 

During a pre-budget discussion earlier this month, the finance minister said the rates will be revised after the budget for the upcoming fiscal is announced. 

Sources at the National Board of Revenue said the interest rates on savings certificates might be reduced to 2%. A number of changes are also being made in the regulations of investment in the savings certificates. 

The interest rates were lowered up to 2% in May 2015. 

The finance minister announced reduction in interest rates last year but backtracked following criticism.

Meanwhile, lower income people and pensioners have become concerned over the announcement of the finance minister. 

However, economists say there is no guarantee that this move will revitalize the banking sector. 

“Savings certificates are considered a kind of social safety net. People opt for the scheme that provides them profit as well as security,” said former caretaker government adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam. 

He said the government should consider the interest of the lower or fixed income group and pensioners.   

According to Bangladesh Bank data, savings certificates worth Tk60,125 crore were sold between July and March of the 2017-18 fiscal.

During this period, the government took Tk36,709 crore as net loan from the savings certificates, which is 121.75% of the target.