The bank is still hopeful of recovering the loans
Sonali Bank Limited -- the country's largest state-owned commercial bank -- has written off Tk2,728 crore of its top 20 defaulters, including Hall-Mark, due to non-recovery.
Sources said the bank has set a target of recovering Tk272 crore, or 10% of the loan cancelled this year but the latest data says the bank could not achieve even 8% of the target even after eight months.
When contacted, Managing Director of Sonali Bank Md Ataur Rahman Prodhan told UNB that the loans have been written off as per rules.
“We’re trying to recover the loans …our teams are working in this regard. Writing off does not mean the loans won’t be repaid. It’s just keeping the loans in a separate balance sheet,” Ataur Rahman Prodhan said.
Bangladesh Bank (BB) introduced a loan writing-off system in 2002 and the rule was later amended in April 2019. As per the amended rule, a bank can write off its loan which is treated as a bad loan for three consecutive years. It was five years previously, says Sonali Bank.
According to the central bank, Sonali Bank has written off the highest amount of default loans of Tk6,995 crore among the public banks.
Of the total defaulted loans of the state-owned bank, 38% are with 20 defaulters, the BB data shows.
Hall-Mark is among the 20 defaulters which have got its Tk1,229 crore written off out of Tk3,000 crore.
Sources at the Bangladesh Bank said Sonali Bank could not yet overcome the burden of the huge scam since not a single penny could be recovered. Hall-Mark's loan scam had shaken the banking sector, casting a long-lasting burden on Sonali Bank’s investment.
Not only Hall-Mark, but also 18 others of the top 20 defaulters of Sonali Bank failed to repay 'zero' amount as of August this year.
The other defaulters that got their default loans written off from Sonali Bank are - New Rakhi Textile Mills Limited (Tk123 crore), Jasmi's Vegetable Oil (Tk105.55 crore), Fair Expo (Tk96.30 crore), Alpha Tobacco (Tk96.3 crore), One Spinning Mills (Tk93.90 crore), Imperial Dyeing and Hosiery (Tk90.13 crore), Rokeya Textile Mills (Tk82.65 crore), Sahil Fashion (Tk81.18 crore), Imam Traders (Tk80.85 crore), Sumi's Sweater (Tk76.7 crore), Riverside Leather and Footwear (Tk73.76 crore), Unity Knit (Tk71.13 crore), Siddique Traders (Tk69. 26 crore), KPF Textiles (Tk68.56 crore), Moon Knitwear (Tk67. 64 crore), AR Khan Sizing and Fabrics (Tk66.86 crore), Jadu Spinning Mills Limited (Tk50.34 crore), Sahil knitwear (Tk57.68 crore) and Mask Sweater's (Tk48.86 crore).