State-run banks were never in good shape
Bangla Tribune journalist Golam Mawla said the state-owned banks were never in good shape. “Allegations are frequently made that directors always try to grease the wheels for their advantage, and managing directors or deputy managing directors are the ones on the Anti-Corruption Commission’s list of major corrupt officials,” he said.
“I want to go back a few years. The alleged involvement of directors with the Hallmark scandal, which occurred on 2012, has not been proven as yet. Most directors, following their appointment, make an effort to find more ways to increase their income, instead of banking. If they had focused on banking, this sector would have done well,” he added.
Pointing out that state-owned banks are underperforming compared to the privately owned banks, he stated: “The directors try to gain financial or political advantages by using their position. A selection committee was formed in 2015 to curb irregularities. However, I firmly believe that Bangladesh Bank cannot fix all the problems plaguing the state-owned banks even if it wants to, because the government has a stake in this issue.”
‘Exam management has become individualized’
Bangla Tribune Head of News Harun Ur Rashid said the exam committee was not serious enough in recruiting new bank officials. “So many things have cleared up through the discussions today. I think the exam management has become individualistic.”
He said even though the exam management department was not working properly, business was good. “These issues need to be officially overseen. Recruitment test is not something new. A comprehensive method has been practised since before Bangladesh was independent. This responsibility should not be given to an individual or organization.”
Addressing the tendency of not taking legal measures as a problem, Rashid added: “There is tort law. If you take legal measures, the authority will have to compensate every candidate. We are either unaware or unfamiliar with this. But this is the law.”
He also urged the candidates to talk to lawyers about resorting to tort law to claim compensation from the authorities for harassment, and for wasting their time and money.
‘Mismanagement marred all tests’
Ananya Mahbub, spokesperson of the protesting candidates, alleged that all the bank recruitment tests the BSC had conducted since its formation in 2015 were marred by mismanagement.
“BSC needs to figure out how to recruit people on the basis of their merits. We all agree that BSC needs to be a part of the process,” he added.
“The examination which took place on January 12 was not only mismanaged, but also a farce and revealed gross negligence on the authorities’ part. We took to the streets with our nine-point demand, but only one demand was met. The committee ensured us that a report would be submitted within 15 days.”
Ananya further said: “We are calling the exam a farce because as the High Court stayed recruitment examinations for Sonali Bank, Rupali Bank and Janata Bank, most candidates did not know they were attending an exam for five banks instead of eight.”
‘Selection committee should be brought to book’
Speaking at the discussion, activist Shariful Hasan said this disaster was the responsibility of the management department, and the Bankers Selection Committee (BSC) should be brought to book for its failures.
“However, an investigation committee has been formed. They will investigate and discover the problem, and they will give their recommendations. The authorities will take action so such mismanagement never happens again,” said Shariful, also the head of Brac’s Migration Program.
He further said: “Speaking of compensations, this is not the first time mismanagement has occurred in a recruitment test. It has happened many times before. The solution is adopting a PSC system. Organize the exams district-wise. The person who is making mistakes over and over again should be replaced.”
‘The problem is with those conducting the test’
Addressing the Boithoki, Mohammed Nurul Amin, former chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh, said: “The absence of recruitment in the last three years has been detrimental to the educated youths. What will happen to a candidate if he or she crosses the maximum age limit to sit the test now that it has been cancelled? This matter should be considered.
“Whether a candidate will be able to apply twice or not should be considered now. They are not responsible for this situation. Bangladesh Bank can take responsibility of this.”
Amin also said: “How the test is being conducted is not the problem, it is with those who are conducting it. No one from the committee or the management is here. If they were here, they could have explained where the problem lies.”