• Monday, Apr 12, 2021
  • Last Update : 09:16 pm

Banking world loses its voice of reason

  • Published at 01:00 am February 25th, 2021
WEB_Ibrahim Khaled
Ibrahim Khaled Collected

And no one had a bigger role in broadcasting the role of influential people behind the scams than Khaled

When Bangladesh’s financial sector is going through its worst period, the straight-talking voice of Khondkar Ibrahim Khaled went silent on Wednesday for eternity.

In the past decade, scams in 14 banks cost Tk 22,502 crore, which is about four-fifth of the project cost for Padma bridge and two-fifth of Sonadia deep-sea port, according to a report of the Centre for Policy Dialogue. 

And no one had a bigger role in broadcasting the role of influential people behind the scams than Khaled. 

He was forthright at a time when most opted to tread a diplomatic line.

Khaled, a former deputy governor of the central bank, was not satisfied with the present role of the Bangladesh Bank in controlling the financial sector. 

Lack of proper supervision and monitoring of the central bank is responsible for the bad performance of the banks and NBFIs, he told the correspondent in their last conversation on January 3.

He had said that the law states what to do if an NBFI goes bad, but the central bank is not following the law. As a result, several NBFIs went from bad to worse.

“Had the BB followed the law, PK Halder would not have been able to leave the country.”

It is indeed a big loss to the general public that the noted banker is no longer around to inform on the ills in the country’s financial sector and give suggestions on how to bring good governance.

He breathed his last at 5:45 am yesterday at the intensive care unit of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).  He was 80 years old at the time of his death.

Khaled was admitted to the hospital on February 11 with post-Covid-19 complications. He had earlier tested positive for coronavirus infection and was admitted to Bangladesh Specialised Hospital last month.

Born in 1941 in Gopalganj, Khaled completed his post-graduation in Geography from Dhaka University and then did an MBA from the Institute of Business Administration.

In 1963, he joined the banking profession. Khaled was the deputy governor of the Bangladesh Bank from 1998 to 2000. 

Before joining the central bank, Khaled was appointed the managing director of Bangladesh Krishi Bank in 1994.   

He also served at Sonali Bank as its managing director for one year in 1997 and also held the same post in Agrani Bank for one year in 1996.

Khaled joined Pubali Bank as its MD after completing his tenure in the Bangladesh Bank when the bank was suffering from various problems.

The country’s capital market crashed in 2010 owing to a fraudulent group and then the government in January 2011 formed a committee headed by Khaled to investigate the cause of the incident. 

He showed how to be a constructive critic and he did not flatter anyone, said Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh. 

The BB former deputy governor was an exceptional person and he will be remembered owing to his outspokenness.

“He was a rare figure in the country’s financial sector -- his honesty and courage fascinate us,” said Salehuddin Ahmed, a former BB governor.

Khaled’s views and suggestions need to be followed to reform the banking sector.

Atiur Rahman, another former governor of the central bank, who was a close associate of Khaled, said: “The departure of Khaled Bhai is an irreparable loss in the country’s financial sector.”

His outspokenness was his asset and liability: he was forced to resign from Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation owing to his outspokenness. 

“He loved to work for the poor and miserable people. We used to go to the village together and talk to the farmers,” he added.

Bangladesh Bank present governor Fazle Kabir said in his written statement that Ibrahim Khaled has played a major role in the reform and development of the country’s financial sector.

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