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Agent banking expanding across country

DHAKA, Sept 10, 2017 (BSS) - Banks are gradually expanding agent banking activates across the country as these banking services are gaining huge response from the people in remote areas.

According to Bangladesh Bank (BB) quarterly data April to June, the number of agents has increased to 1,847 from 1,755 in the first quarter in 2017 and the number of bank agent outlets has also increased to 3,224 from 3023 in the January-March quarter.

During October-December quarter 2016, the number of agents was 1,646 and the total outlets were 2,601.

During April to June period, expatriate Bangladeshis sent Taka 890.19 crore through agent banking which was Taka 572.47 crore in the first quarter.

During the period, the number of accounts with the agents has increased to 8,72,865 from 7,12,499 in the first quarter.

Agent banking is moving fast across the country, Additional Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Mutual Trust Bank (MTB) M Hashem Chowdhury told BSS here today.

He said it is providing banking services by engaging representatives under a valid agency agreement.

Mentioning the agent banking as a great initiative of the central bank, he said a representative is the owner of an outlet who conducts banking transactions on behalf of a bank.

"Normally, a bank needs huge expenditures to open a branch. If the bank can run banking activities through agents, it will helpful both the bank and the customers," he added.

Hashem Chowdhury said MTB is providing the agent banking services, including cash deposits, withdrawals, remittance disbursement, small loan disbursement, recovery of loans, and cash payments under the government's social safety net programmes, through 27 outlets across the country.

"Till now, around 8,400 accounts have been opened while about Taka 23 crore has been deposited in the accounts," he added.

Deputy Managing Director of the Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) Abu Reza Mohd Yeahia said IBBL has also started agent banking as it is playing a role to take banking services to the doorsteps of common people.

"We have already received permission for five outlets. We have started services in three outlets," he added.

BB launched agent banking in 2013 by giving license to Banking Asia. A total of 17 banks have already taken licenses while 12 banks are running their activities and one more bank has started this year.

The 12 banks are Dutch Bangla Bank, Bank Asia, Al-Arafah Islami Bank, Social Islami bank, Modhumoti Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, NRB Commercial Bank, Standard Bank, Agrani Bank, First Security Islami Bank, Mid Land Bank and The City Bank.