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Banks become tight-fisted in selling savings tools

S M Jahangir | October 17, 2017 00:00:00

Many willing savers find it difficult to invest in the state-run savings instruments reportedly for inadequate supply of such investment-documents at designated selling points, sources said.

Some of them blamed such a situation on apathy among a section of officials and bankers in selling the savings certificates and a sort of 'unofficial restraint' on part of the government amid a surge in such secure investment.

Talking to the FE, some savers said either they had to face immense difficulties or tried in vain to purchase their desired savings tools from banks for short supply.

One investor, preferring anonymity, said after having tried several days, he managed to buy a three-year savings certificate as the bank branch failed to supply his desired one - 'family savings' certificate.

Almost same is the situation with the post offices, investors concerned said.

Currently, savings certificates are sold through the central banks, commercial banks, post offices and the Department of National Savings (DNS).

Officials at some commercial bank branches, however, admitted that the supply crunch of some particular instruments, specially the Family Savings one, occurred sometimes because of their high demand.

An official at Agrani Bank, however, said: "Some people are unable to purchase savings certificates from our branches as we usually sell the same to those who have accounts with us."

Echoing the same tone, an official at the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said sometimes supply of some particular savings certificates, especially those in high demand among investors, becomes scarce for the time being.

He further said that, apart from selling the state-run savings instruments itself, the central bank also distributes those to other banks for sale as per their official allotments.

Contacted, officials at the DNS ruled out any supply-side crunch as it handed out savings certificates as per requisition made by relevant banks and post offices.

They, however, said sometimes the aspirant investors might not have been supplied their desired certificates for any particular time.

A senior DNS official explained the riddle this way: Suppose, a person wanted to buy their desired Tk 500,000 worth of a particular certificate for their convenience and it might not be available for the time being, despite the availability of its low-value ones - the same certificates worth Tk 10,000 or Tk 20,000.

"Sometimes, a section of bankers show their reluctance in selling savings certificates as they consider their transactions as extra burden," the official told the FE.

On the other hand, many savers prefer to buy savings certificates from the BB due mainly to having Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) facility there, through which principal amounts of different saving certificates on their maturity and the monthly yields against the certificates are paid back.

Finance ministry officials, on the other hand, said unlike at previous times, the government is not encouraging sales of savings tools in view of its ever-growing debt liabilities.

"People now prefer investing their money in savings instruments because of their higher yield rates. And since the government has no immediate plan to cut their yield rates, now our focus is on discharging an unusual growth in their sales without reducing the existing yield rates," said an official.

At the same time, the government policy is to ensure that no eligible person is deprived of putting money in the investment tools, he mentioned.

When his attention was drawn as to whether the government has any plan to make furnishing TIN (taxpayer identification number) mandatory while investing in savings tools in order to prevent their purchase under fake names, the official said: "There is no such initiative at this moment."

Official figures, on the other hand, revealed that the growth in the net sales of the existing savings tools had slowed down in recent times, which indicates a sort of belt-tightening on part of the government in this regard.

The net sales of savings instruments declined by nearly 21 per cent to Tk 39.75 billion in August 2017 compared to Tk 50.53 billion in the previous month.

Besides, the net sales of savings tools in August 2017 also were considerably lower than that of Tk 42.97 billion in the corresponding month of 2016, according to the BB figures.

The government has set its net borrowing target at Tk 301.50 billion through sales of savings certificates for the current fiscal year (FY) 20117-18.


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