Stop loan concentration in few big businesses

BB also asks banks to follow unbiased recruitment guidelines

FE Report | Monday, 11 September 2017

The central bank asked the commercial banks to avert loan concentration in single big groups or sectors through diverting their investment portfolios to minimise default risks.

In another major directive, the banks have been advised not to mention the names of specific universities or subjects from now on for recruitment of officials, particularly Management Trainee Officer (MTO) and Probationary Officer (PO).

The instructions were made Sunday at a meeting of bankers, held at the central bank headquarters in the capital with Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Fazle Kabir in the chair.

The latest BB moves came against the backdrop of rising trend in consumer financing by the banks in 2016 amid falling lending rates and rising purchasing power of the country's middle-class people.

Consumer credit rose 28.22 per cent year on year to Tk 369.83 billion in 2016 from Tk 288.43 billion a year ago, the BB data showed.

The central bank advised that the bankers take careful measure for financing in consumer products, particularly lifestyle ones, to avoid loan-concentration risk, according to officials.

"We've advised the bankers to move up carefully about consumer financing," SK Sur Chowdhury, deputy governor of the BB, told reporters after the meeting.

He also said the banks had been asked to avoid loan concentration with a group as well as sector in order to minimise risk.

"The banks may face risk if loans are concentrated in a particular sector or a business group," the deputy governor explained.

Meanwhile, the overall asset quality of the country's banking sector deteriorated slightly in 2016 while nearly 46 per cent of the total default loans are concentrated in three sectors.

Mentioning loan concentration in different sectors, including readymade garment (RMG) and commercial loans, the BB government asked the bankers to look into the issue properly.

The three sectors -- readymade garment (RMG), large-scale industries and commercial loans -- shared 45.8 per cent of total concentrated default loans.

The highest level of classified loan concentration has taken place in the commercial loans covering trade and commerce, standing at 23.4 per cent in 2016.

It was followed by 12.6 per cent and 9.8 per cent respectively in RMG and large-scale industrial credits, according to the BB's latest Financial Stability Report (FSR).

The total outstanding loans in the banking sector rose to Tk 6737.2 billion in 2016 from Tk 5846.15 billion a year before. It was Tk 5178.37 billion in 2015.

About new provisions on bank officials' recruitment, the deputy governor said an increased number of candidates will get the opportunity to compete for jobs under the new recruitment process.

At the meeting, the BB governor advised the bankers to act as 'kind bankers' to help people particularly in natural calamity, according to Anis A Khan, chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh (ABB).

The governor also told the bankers at the meeting to handle the NPL (non-performing loan) issue strictly, the leading banker added.

He also said the central bank advised that the bankers should take effective measures to introduce internet banking as early as possible.

Currently, 28 banks out of 57 are providing internet banking services to their clients.

Besides, only nine banks have introduced Apps, the ABB chief added.

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