Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 21, Tuesday December 27, 2005




Nasreen Sattar, Head of International Sales, Standard Chartered Bank

Q. “A” issued a bearer cheque to " B " drawn on "X" bank, Dhaka. B presented the cheque on the counter of X bank putting three signatures on the back of the cheque. X bank issued token to him. B had some urgent work to do, so he left the bank. He met an accident on the road. As a result he was unable to walk or come to the bank for receiving the money. He sent his friend “C.” C presented the token. The bank refused the payment to C.C explained the matter of B to the bank. Inspite of the explanation given, the bank did not pay.

I like to know whether the presence / further signature of the bearer who had put three signatures before on the back of the cheque is essential to receive payment or token so issued is sufficient to receive money by any person on his behalf. Please bear in mind it is a bearer cheque. Banking law states no signature of the bearer is required for receiving money. Your humble advice is required.

A. The bank was right in not paying to the bearer C. The reason being when bearer B presented the cheque and signed he became the identified bearer of the presented cheque.

Please bear in mind that the signature given by the bearer to the bank is not binding by law but is taken by the bank as a mode of identification. Hence if the signature is different then the identification also becomes different. The token given by the Bank is for administrative purpose not for identification purpose.

Q. Can you please throw some light on Islamic banking?
Islamic Banking in Bangladesh has been an extremely popular proposition in the last three decades. The Shariah (Islamic Principles) based banking was first started in 1983 in Bangladesh by the Islami Bank Ltd; which is now one of the most profitable banks of the country.

There are fifty banks operating in the country. Of them there are six Islamic Banks & nine Conventional Banks with Islamic Branches operating Islamic Banking.

As of last year, the Banking Industry has total deposit & Advance of USD 19,012 Million & USD 15,048 Million. Out of that Deposit & Advance of USD 2267 and USD 1950 Million are held with only six Islamic Banks. In terms of branch representation, 515 branches of the country's total of 6244 branches are Islamic. It is found that 8% of branches hold 12% & 13% of country's total deposit & advances respectively. The annual business growth rate of Islamic Banks in Bangladesh has been over 30%.

At present, there are only three foreign banks offering Islamic Banking HSBC , Bank Al Falah & Standard Chartered Bank. Besides Central Bank has formed an Islamic Banking wing recently to monitor the Islamic Banking activities in Bangladesh.

Definition of Islamic Banking:
In 1978, “Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) ” gave the definition of Islamic Banking as stated below:

“Islamic Banking is a financial Institution whose statutes, rules & procedures expressly state its commitment to the principle of Islamic Shariah and to the banning of the receipt and payment of riba (Interest) on any of it's operation.”

Objectives of Islamic Banking:
The distinguishing features of Islamic Banking are,
· All activities are conducted on interest free system according to Islamic Shariah principles.
· Investment is made through different modes in accordance with Islamic principles
· Investment is made through different modes as per Islamic Shariah.
· Investment income of the bank is shared with Mudaraba depositors according to an agreed upon ratio, ensuring a reasonably fair rate of return on their deposits.
· Aims to introduce welfare oriented banking system and also establish equity and justice in the field of all economic operations.
· Extend socio-economic and financial services to individuals of all economic backgrounds with strong commitment in rural uplift.
· Plays a vital role in Human resources development and employment generation particularly among the unemployed youths.

Concept of Islamic Banking:
In Islamic Banking, money is not considered as a real asset. Instead it is only a medium of exchange for carrying out business activities. Hence all activities with regard to Islamic Banking are dealt with cash based and cash-less transactions. As cash is considered as medium of exchange in Islamic view point and is prone to interest related affairs, hence cash based transactions are not encourage in Islamic Banking.
Instead, Islamic Banks promotes investment in tangible assets, which are subsequently offered to clients for subscribing on rent. Hence rental based transactions are very popular in Islamic Banking. Besides, Customers can also participate as being partner of bank in various joint venture activists.

Current problems of Islamic Banking:
Despite the fast growth of Islamic Banking, people often have misconceptions on the activities of Islamic Banks. The misconceptions are largely attributed to the followings:
Inadequate marketing communications made by Islamic Banks;
Lack of Qualified Shariah Scholars;
Lack of quality customer service;
Lack of trained human resources;
Absence of Foreign Banks offering quality Islamic Banking;

Islamic Banking of Standard Chartered Bank:
At present, SCB offers Islamic Personal Finance, Islamic Auto Finance & Islamic Current Account in the market. The current portfolio of Islamic Banking is USD 6.6 Mio. SCB plans to offers new products in the year 2006 - Islamic Home Finance, Islamic SME, Islamic Savings Account & Term Deposit
The major advantages of Islamic Banking in SCB are products are certified by renowned Shariah Scholars, International experience in Islamic Banking in other countries, Strong Technology and high Quality Customer Service.

Special Medical Feature

The gall bladder stone phenomenon

Dr. Towhidul Alam Associate Professor, Dept. of surgery BBSMM University

Stone in gall bladder is a common surgical problem in our country. In BSMMU about 300 patients with Gall Bladder stone & 50 patients with bile duct stone undergo operation every year.

However in spite of the fact that the gall bladder stone has become a common phenomenon, there still exists some anxiety on the part of patients when they are diagnosed with the problem.

However, there is little reason to fret because treatment of gall-bladder stones, have become very simple these days after the introduction of laparoscopic surgery.

So what happens in a laparoscopic surgery?
What happens is that the gall bladder is removed along with its stone, like that of open surgery. Unfortunately if any patient, after laparoscopic surgery, showcases symptoms of stone then one should think of stone remains somewhere else. Its important to note that Gall bladder stone may form in the bile duct and in some rare cases inside the liver also. So if a stone is located in the bile duct after surgery it is not the fault of laparoscopic surgery but improper evaluation of the patient before operation about the presence of stone in other locations like bile duct or liver.

Therefore thorough investigation before surgery is highly advisable.

As a patient you should also have some responsibility before accepting any type of treatment as advised. Whenever your doctor says that you have stone in Gall bladder you must ask yourself that whether you have had jaundice with upper abdominal pain and fever. You must go through your ultrasonography report. You will find that there is a mention about the size (diameter) of common bile duct & if it is dilated, then without taking second opinion from another specialist you should not go for Gall bladder surgery. This type of patient with gallstone needs to be evaluated by doing few other Biochemical test (liver function test) and ERCP to exclude the possibility of stones in bile duct.

Nowadays doctors can remove stones from both these locations without opening the abdomen i.e. Gall bladder stone by laparoscopic surgery and bile duct stones by ERCP. Usually doctors go for bile duct stones first while Gall bladder stone is removed in the second day. Now a days both these services are being provided by a single specialty.

Another very important point you must have to keep in your mind that, for bile duct stone there is a remote possibility of retaining stones after open surgery even by an experienced surgeon. But repeated surgery on bile duct for the removal of that left over bile duct stone is technically very difficult and is not free from complications. On the other hand ERCP has got additional advantage over open surgery as doctors can repeat the procedure to remove that left over bile duct stone on a day case basis.

In conclusion, whenever you find stones in Gall bladder & if there is any history of jaundice with pain and fever and ultrasonography findings shows dilated bile duct or liver function test suggests any abnormality then you should not go for removal of Gall bladder stone without further evaluation like ERCP to exclude the possibility of stones in other locations like bile duct or inside liver. It will not only reduce your physical & mental trauma of repeated surgery but also will save your money.

If the readers have any queries please drop us a line and Dr. Alam will gladly comply.

Under a different sky

By Iffat Nawaz

Something unordinary

I remember once while I was having a pure moment of philosophical bull and in-depth pondering about everything vague, I asked myself why do we celebrate New Years. Time is time, and measurement is man made and to celebrate a given second as a start or end is just silly. I told myself I will no longer make resolutions, one year to the other will not make a difference to me, it will all just be time, meaningless or meaningful, but I will not submit to clownish labels and hallmark sappiness, nor will I give into the pressure of the time square's falling ball.

But I was wrong. New Year's celebration is too engrained in my blood and mind to sacrifice totally. Even if I wanted to rebel and treat it like any other night, I would still feel like I am missing out, since everyone else would be out trying to do something semi-fun, in the freezing cold or in some crowded party, dancing or staring, counting till midnight. Plus what do you do with the memories. The memories of each New Year till you decided New Year was just another second, another minute, another ordinary midnight, what about all those special little new years for past years…so for the sake of memories and tradition I buried my hollow philosophy and joined the crowd in planning for something unordinary.

Lately around here it's been the trend to leave town for New Year's. For some reason staying in the same town that you live in is not hip enough, so people try to get out. We tried too, a few of us, our top choice happened to be Iceland. Iceland in the middle of winter with 4 hours of daylight, it sounded good, apparently you party all day and sleep for a few and wake up to see the sun for a bit and then start partying again…some of us actually bought tickets, the rest of us couldn't move beyond the idea of Ice in Iceland.

So then we started looking at other deals, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Las Vegas for all we care, and found every ticket in the world has reached the highest limit for new year's, I could sell both of my kidneys and maybe even one of my eyes, and still will not be able to afford a new year getaway. So then we started to get creative.

We started looking at what's around, some little cottage up in the mountain near enough to drive to, where all my friends and I can go and stare at each other pretending to be having fun but really wanting to kill each other in the middle of a dark, cold, silent forest, or to the nearest beach where the locals suburban families go to bed at 10:00 am (yes even on the 31st of December).

So when that didn't work, we started consoling ourselves. We told ourselves well if everyone is leaving town maybe going to a party in town will be fun, it won't be crowded, it will be just the right amount of cool people, who stayed back like us! So we started looking at activities around. Then we found our choices are either to conjugate at the national mall when it's 10 degrees freezing cold or to pay with another kidney to some five star hotel's black tie party. Hmmm… and both options left us blank.

So what do we do? Well we settle for some house party, just like any other Friday night, with the same people, with the same food, drinks, and we sit around, complain and whine, and at New Year's when the clock hits 12, we still feel like it was special…why? I wish I knew...magic of time? Or illusion of memories?


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