Despite the coronavirus pandemic, state-owned Agrani Bank has been maintaining robust growth and operational excellence by integrating innovation and technology in its services and putting special focus on remittance.
Under the mentorship of eminent economist Zaid Bakht as chair in the bank’s Board, the bank reached new heights over the last four years under the visionary leadership of Managing Director Mohammad Shams-Ul Islam.
Agrani Bank has seen an 8.36 per cent year-on-year growth in the first six months of 2020 by posting an operating profit of Tk 5.31 billion during the January-June period. The figure was Tk 4.9 billion in the same period last year.
The bank has been maintaining excellence in services over the last few years after economist Zaid Bakht and Managing Director Mohammad Shams-Ul Islam joined the bank’s management board in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Agrani Bank has kept pace in its operations through virtual interventions to provide uninterrupted services for customers and help run the wheels of country’s economy amid the global crisis.
Top executives of the bank, including Chairman Zaid Bakht and Managing Director Shams-Ul Islam, highlighted different initiatives the bank has taken while talking to journalists at Agrani Bank headquarters on Monday.
They informed that Agrani Bank achieved robust growth by performing well in all areas of services, including consumer deposit, treasury and fund management, syndication loan, foreign trading and remittance.
After taking office, Agrani Bank Managing Director Mohammad Shams-Ul Islam started focusing on attracting deposit and new investment in addition to technology integrating for service automation. Account-holders of Agrani Bank can transfer funds using mobile financial services, which has brought significant stride in the government’s efforts to promote financial inclusion.
Agrani Bank has launched the innovative ‘Bangabandhu Corner’ in its premises as part of its continued efforts to uphold the ideals of Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Marking the birth centenary of Father of Nation, an experienced banker and freedom fighter Shams-Ul Islam launched the ‘Bangabandhu Corner’ in all branches of Agrani Bank, which was later followed by other financial institutes.
To promote and highlight the work and ideals of Father of the Nation, the Bangabandhu Corner features more than 400 books related to Bangabandhu from home and abroad, photo albums, writings and documentaries to provide information and inspirations to the readers.
The Bangabandhu Corner also highlights books and artworks on the contribution of Father of the Nation in the development of Bangladesh’s financial sector.
Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman renamed all the state-run banks in Bangla just after country’s independence. Bangabandhu nationalized Agrani Bank through the merger of then Commerce Bank and Habib Bank in 1972.
“Agrani Bank has been serving the country’s economy since Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman rebranded the bank with a Bangla name in 1972. We have set up Bangabandhu Corner to share the contributions of the great leader in the country’s financial sector,” Shams-Ul Islam, a freedom fighter, explained.
To inspire Bangladeshi expatriates to remit foreign currency into the country, Agrani Bank has taken a courageous step of providing 3 per cent incentive on remittance transfers.
The bank has introduced a mobile application for expatriates in Singapore to allow the expatriates to send money home without even visiting the exchange office.
Agrani Bank tops among the state-owned banks in terms of remittance handling. The bank has been receiving Bangladesh Bank Remittance Awards over the last few years.
“We are leading the way in country’s financial sector as a frontline contributor as Bangabandhu named the bank as Agrani (First mover),” Managing Director Shams-Ul Islam said.
Agrani Bank Chairman Zaid Bakht said the country’s economy will be revived soon as people resumed regular economic activities, also showing signs of herd immunity against coronavirus.
He also laid emphasized on the contribution of the construction sector to boost the country’s economy.
“The construction sector contributes 9 per cent to the country’s total GDP. The sector’s contributions increased significantly in the last few years thanks to the government’s policy support,” Zaid Bakht, also a former research director at Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, said.
Seasoned banker Shams Ul Islam has been setting examples in the country’s banking sector in areas such as agent banking and other tools of digital services towards more financial inclusion.
“Many initiatives have been taken by the government to tackle the corona pandemic. Businesses should focus on the health and safety of workers to facilitate a safe reopening of the economy. There is an interrelation between public health and economy at this point,” he said.
Underscoring the importance of the construction sector to revamp the economy, eminent economist Zaid Bakht said infrastructure development is closely related to all segments of the business including construction materials, furniture, shipping etc.
Agrani Bank Managing Director Shams Ul Islam said Bashundhara Group has been maintaining an excellent track record with the bank — which is an ultimate example of good governance in business in the face of loan default culture in the country.
He also mentioned that Agrani Bank has good relation with Bashundhara Group as they arranged syndicated loans for different mega projects of the business conglomerate.
Earlier, Bashundhara Group Vice-Chairman Safwan Sobhan called on Agrani Bank Chairman Zaid Bakht and Managing Director Shams-Ul Islam to discuss business issues. High officials of both Agrani Bank and Bashundhara Group were also present on the occasion.