The Financial Express

Premier Bank to raise lending to CMSMEs

Healthy banking practice is top priority, says its MD

| Updated: February 11, 2019 11:11:43

M Reazul Karim M Reazul Karim

Premier Bank Ltd., a leading third generation private sector bank, looks to expand its credit portfolio in the Cottage, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (CMSMEs) sector to 50 per cent of the total credit exposure from existing 35 per cent by 2021.

Of the total credit in this sector, 30 per cent will be disbursed to manufacturing segment, 31 per cent to services-based segment and 39 per cent to the trading segment.

Managing Director and CEO of the bank M Reazul Karim revealed the bank's plan in an interview with The Financial Express recently.

At the same time, the bank is also committed to reducing non-performing loan rate to zero per cent by the end of 2020 to make it stronger and healthier.

"Only making profit or giving out loans is not the priority of the Premier Bank. Promoting the quality and healthy banking practice is now our topmost priority," said the bank's MD M Reazul Karim.

The Premier Bank has recently been honoured with the prestigious award of 'Fastest Growing SME Bank in Bangladesh 2018' by the International Finance UK.

"As per our Vision 2021, the Premier Bank will earn its place as the 'CMSME-driven bank' in the banking industry of Bangladesh," Mr Karim said, adding: "The award has inspired us immensely."

He also said, "We want to avoid big loan proposals. Rather, our focus will be on the SME sector and micro businesses."

"Many big corporate houses have become loan defaulters intentionally. We receive many big loan proposals but don't show any interest in them," he said, adding that bank is not an ideal place for long-term large loans.

"They should go to stock market for raising long-term capital. And this is a worldwide practice," he said.

Mr Karim said Premier bank has taken a crash programme to reduce the non-performing loans (NPLs) as low as possible.

Some large loans have become NPLs due to legal loopholes, he added.

"The Premier Bank appointed several legal experts, including retired judges, for strengthening its legal team in a bid to reduce the volume of NPLs."

"Our bank is getting benefit from such a step," said the bank's MD.

Mr Karim said the Premier Bank realised that the CMSME sector can play a very important role in the sustainable business growth of the bank as well as in boosting the country's economy.

"Our bank is working in line with the government's goals -- becoming a developing country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041," he said.

The Premier Bank always puts its focus on the growth of Bangladesh's economy rather than the bank's profit, he added.

"The bank is working towards achieving socioeconomic development of the Bangladesh. To build a poverty-free Bangladesh and generate more employment, the Premier Bank has given serious attention to the development of CMSME."

The bank is committed to supporting the CMSME sector in order to promote new entrepreneurs who will eventually contribute to the country's GDP, said Mr Karim.

The bank also has a plan to add at least 500,000 accounts this year, he said.

The Premier Bank was incorporated as a banking company on June 10, 1999 under the Companies Act, 1994.


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