The Bangladesh Bank (BB) injected funds amounting to nearly Tk 3.60 billion into three banks on Sunday to help minimise their cash withdrawal pressure ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha, officials said.
The central bank provided the funds to the banks using its assured liquidity support facility to help manage their funds smoothly.
"We've provided the funds to the banks at 6.00 per cent rate," a BB senior official told the FE.
He also said BB may extend the liquidity facility today (Monday), the last working day before the Eid vacation, if any bank seeks such support against their treasury bills and bonds.
The weighted average rate (WAR) on call money rose to around 4.50 per cent on Sunday from 2.17 per cent on August 12, another BB official said.
The inter-bank call money rate has been showing an upward trend since August 12, mainly due to higher withdrawal of cash money from the banks ahead of the Eid. The trend may continue until today, according to the market operators.
"Such short-term borrowings normally increase before the Eid to meet the growing demand for money from the banks," a senior treasury official of a leading private commercial bank (PCB) told the FE.
"But it is unlikely to cross maximum 5.0 per cent ahead of the Eid," the treasury official predicted.
The central bank has also asked the scheduled banks to ensure round-the-clock operations of their alternative delivery channels (ADCs) during the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha holidays in order to facilitate smooth transactions.
The ADCs include ATM (automated teller machine), POS (point of sale), e-payment gateway and mobile financial services (MFS), through which customers can access required financial services.
BB issued a directive in this regard on Sunday, asking the managing directors and chief executives of the scheduled banks for taking necessary measures to ensure smooth transactions during the Eid vacation.
"The central bank has taken the measure to ensure smooth transactions using the ADCs during the Eid vacation," a BB senior official told the FE.
He also said transactions using the digital channels, such as ATM, internet or online and mobile, normally increase significantly during the weekends and other holidays.
Currently, most of the banks are adopting modern technology and providing increased ADC facility to better serve the customers, as more clients are opting for these channels to save their time and cost.
The scheduled banks will remain closed from August 21 to August 25 on the occasion of the Eid-ul-Azha and weekly holidays.
In its directive, the central bank also asked the banks to beef up security measures at the ATM booths to avert any untoward incident.
BB also instructed the banks to ensure all-time availability of cash at the ATM booths during the Eid vacation.
There are more than 9,500 ATM booths across the country, 5,500 of which, including Fast Tracks, are operated by Dutch-Bangla Bank Limited (DBBL) alone.
Talking to the FE, a senior official of DBBL said: "We've already taken adequate measures to ensure uninterrupted services to our clients during the vacation."
According to the BB directive, the banks must inform their clients of any transaction made through ATM or POS by sending SMS (short message service).
Meanwhile, cash money withdrawal from the banks before the Eid is decreasing, as the use of both credit and debit cards, also known as plastic money, is gradually increasing, according to the market insiders.
They also said the banks now see low demand for cash from their vaults ahead of the Eid festivals. A large number of people are now using MFS, agent banking and e-banking for transactions.
These services have reduced the tendency to keep cash in their wallets, they added.
Presently, around 10 million debit cards and more than 0.90 million credit cards are being used across the country.
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