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Agent banking on the cards

  • Published at 07:53 pm December 9th, 2013
Agent banking on the cards

The central bank has laid out agent banking guideline with a view to creating an enabling environment for commercial banks to offer financial services to a new customer base.

Bangladesh Bank published the guideline yesterday, said a circular.

The guideline will be ensuring safety, security and soundness of the proposed delivery channel to permit banks to be engaged in agent banking.

Agent banking will allow an agent to provide limited scale banking and financial services to the underserved population through engaged agents on behalf of a bank under a valid agency agreement.

Agents’ activities will be within normal course of banking business of the scheduled banks but conducted at places other than bank premises and ATM booths.

The services may include collecting small amount of cash deposits and processing cash withdrawals, handling inward foreign remittance disbursement, facilitating small value loan disbursement and recovery of loan installments, facilitating utility bill payments and cash payments under the social safety net programme of the government.

The agent may also generate and issue mini bank statements, sell crops and provide other insurance services.

Customers will not be charged directly by the agents for the services as banks will be paying reasonable fee to its agents for the services provided.  

An agent will be eligible for the agreement after meeting some requirement and must provide its services in a designated business premises, according to the guideline.

The agents will also need to ensure compliance with Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism standards set by AML/CFT rules and regulations.

The guideline comes under the article 74(e) of Bangladesh Bank Order 1972, section 45 of Bank Company Act 1991 and section 4 of Bangladesh Payment and Settlement Systems Regulations, 2009. The purposes of these guidelines are to provide regulatory framework for agent banking.