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Dhaka Tribune

Three new banks on BB board meeting agenda

First meeting of central bank in New Year to discuss approving three new banks

Update : 07 Jan 2019, 10:14 PM

In the first meeting of Bangladesh Bank’s board of directors’ meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, discussion on approval of three new banks is to be the main agenda, according to central bank sources.

The proposed three banks are Bengal Commercial Bank, People’s Bank and Citizen Bank.

Last month, the central bank’s board had decided to issue a letter of intent (LoI) in favour of Bengal Commercial Bank.

Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank Md Serajul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune on Monday that the board had found all the documents provided by Bengal Commercial Bank to be accurate. Now, it depends solely on the board to finally approve the new bank.

“When thetwo otherbanks (People’s Bank and Citizen Bank) will submit necessary documents to become eligible to receive LoI, their cases are expected to be considered,” he said.

“The fate of the three banks will be discussed in the board meeting.”

Bengal Commercial Bank has been initiated by Bengal Group of Industries, a local manufacturer of plastic products. 

Awami League lawmaker MorshedAlam is the chairman of the group, while his younger brother Jashim Uddin is the chairman of the proposed bank.

MA Kashem, an Awami League leader in the United States, is the chairman of the proposed People's Bank, while Jahanara Huq, mother of Law Minister Anisul Huq, is the chairman of Citizen Bank.

In a previous board meeting, held on December 11, the status of the two banks was kept pending as they did not submit all the documents required to become eligible for licenses to operate as a scheduled bank in the country.

AB Mirza Azizul Islam, a former caretaker government adviser, told the Dhaka Tribune: “There is no logic behind approving more banks. We should think of laws to force mergers of the existing ones, rather than establishing new banks.” 

“The number of banks is already high,” he added.

A senior Bangladesh Bank official, requesting anonymity, said that the financial health of the nine banks that got licenses in 2013 is poor, “with one of them currently on life support.”

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