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Conversion into commercial bank

PKB seeks to weigh up a provision of bank act

January 14, 2018 00:00:00

Arafat Ara

The authorities concerned are seeking to weigh up a certain provision of Probashi Kallyan Bank (PKB) Act-2010 for converting the bank into a commercial one instead of amending the law.

To this effect, PKB in a letter has already sought necessary steps from Financial Institutions Division (FID) under the Ministry of Finance, officials said.

They said if the law is amended, it will take time to turn the bank into a commercial one as it is a lengthy procedure. That is why they have requested the authorities concerned to consider section 4(5) of the act to help run the bank within a shortest possible time.

As per section 4(5) of the law, the government can give permission to convert a bank into a scheduled bank by issuing gazette notification, according to them.

With both the amendment to some sections of the law or provision 4(5), the specialised bank can be transformed into a scheduled bank, said a senior official.

"But we prefer no alteration to the law as we want to run the bank soon," the official said wishing anonymity.

If the law is amended, it may take minimum six months to complete all procedures to convert the bank into a scheduled one, he added.

However, the government plans to start the process of turning PKB into a commercial bank within a shortest possible time. Earlier, PKB management told media that they would be able to run the bank by January 2018.

The finance ministry has already provided the bank with Tk 150 million as part of raising paid-up capital to Tk 4.0 billion to transform it into a commercial one.

The rest of the amount of paid-up capital will be provided by Wage Earners' Welfare Board (WEWB). They have recently sent a letter to the board in this regard, PKB officials said.

When contacted, Syeda Nurun Nahar, joint secretary at specialised bank wing under FID, said they have received a letter from PKB. But they have yet to decide as to whether the law will be amended or not.

The state-run bank started its operation in April 2011 with a paid-up capital of Tk 1.0 billion. Of the total amount, Tk 950 million was contributed by WEWB while Tk 50 million by the government.

Later, WEWB also provided the bank with Tk 500 million more to raise its paid-up capital.

The bank has now 45 branches across the country while it will open nine new branches by this month, according to officials.

The specialized bank will offer new products and services for outbound Bangladeshi workers following its transformation. As bank income will increase then, the number of beneficiaries of migration loan also will go up, they said.

But rights campaigners criticised the government's decision to mobilise money from WEWB. They stressed the need for evaluating the bank's performance first, and then mobilising money from the board.

Official data showed that only 23,731 outbound Bangladeshi workers were given loans worth Tk 2.29 billion by the bank during the period between fiscal year 2011-12 and FY 2016-17.

Among the beneficiaries, some 156 returnees received loans for income-generating projects at home. During the period, the bank recovered Tk 1.55 billion.

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