Vol. 5 Num 574 Fri. January 06, 2006  

Banks urged to focus on SME sector

Urging private commercial banks to focus on financing in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Bangladesh Bank Governor Salehuddin Ahmed said the banks should not invest heavily in less-productive areas.

"When the private banks make profit, most of them start financing in vehicles, which is less-productive. But through investment in the SME sector you can help generate more employment," the governor told the inaugural session of a three-day annual managers' conference of The City Bank Limited in Dhaka yesterday.

He also said banking sector professionals should have commitment, honesty and skill to provide best services.

"Our banking sector is facing the dearth of skilled manpower." So, the management should take initiatives to focus on human resources development, he added.

The central bank governor appreciated The City Bank as it got rid of 'problem bank' status. He said Bangladesh Bank never wants to identify a bank as a problem bank.

He also advised The City Bank management to introduce online banking system in its all branches, further develop its database system and go to rural areas by opening new branches.

Speaking at the function, Abbas Uddin Ahmed, managing director of the bank, said the bank came out of 'problem bank' status last December by fulfilling all the requirements of the central bank.

In 2001, provision shortfall of the first generation bank, which came to being in 1983, was Tk 100 crore while in 2005 the surplus provision stood at Tk 10 crore, he said.

The gross profit of the bank, which has 1,850 employees, was Tk 132 crore in the last year while the profit was only Tk 18.83 in 2001, the managing director said.

The productivity of the first private bank in Bangladesh stood at 5.18 percent in 2005 from 2.08 percent in 2001 while the capital stood at Tk 200 crore last year from Tk 49.78 crore in 2001, he added.

"We want to become the biggest private sector bank within the next two years," he hoped.

Chairman of the bank Deen Mohammad and Vice-chairman Aziz Al Kaiser also spoke at the function.