As Dr. Atiur Rahman is honored by invitation to speak at the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank, United World looks at how the finance sector has worked with the Governor to ensure inclusive growth. As the only Central Bank Governor speaking at the meetings, we look at the Bangladesh financial sector from the perspective of the top management of 13 key financial institutions in Bangladesh. From international and state owned, to commercial; there is one thing that they all agree upon – inclusive growth within the financial sector is reducing poverty and driving economic growth at over 6% per year. Over the next week, United World will feature a different financial institution on each day, with the following a summary of selected quotes from each exclusive interview.
Abrar A. Anwar Standard Chartered Bank
As the oldest and largest international bank in Bangladesh, Standard Chartered has shared in both Bangladesh’s success and hardship for 110 years, continually striving to help its people. New CEO, Mr. Anwar, sat with United World to highlight the importance of attracting foreign investment as well as the great strength of Bangladesh.
Md. Mehmood Husain Bank Asia
One of the youngest and most progressive banks in Bangladesh, Bank Asia is a bank that dares to dream and thinks internationally. United World sat down with Mr. Husain, CEO of Bank Asia, to discuss the role technology can play in reaching out for inclusive growth, reaching beyond traditional conceptions of bricks and mortar banking. He also highlights the importance of changing perceptions of Bangladesh to attract more investment and achieve greater trade.
Syed Mahbubur Rahman BRAC Bank
BRAC is a familiar name to all those working in NGOs, but to many in Bangladesh it is now BRAC Bank that touches their every daily lives. Syed Mahbubur Rahman talks to United World about BRAC’s beginnings as an entirely SME-focused bank, as well as its significant growth and regional outreach. BRAC Bank has truly aligned itself with the Bangladesh Bank.
Muhammad Shafiq Bin Abdullah ICB Islamic Bank
ICB Islamic Bank is another respected international bank. It has been investing in Bangladesh for 10 years. ICB Islamic Bank, after taking over a collapsed local bank, should see a return to profit this year, truly a remarkable achievement, which as the CEO Mr. Abdullah explains is due in many ways to embracing SMEs.
Mr. Shah A. Sarwar IFIC Bank
IFIC Bank has distinguished itself as perhaps the safest and most sustainable bank in Bangladesh. As a local bank with part Government ownership, IFIC continues to look for growth in sectors with good fundamentals. As Mr. Sarwar explains, IFIC is focused on the long term, and for Bangladesh the long term looks very bright indeed.
Mr. Shamsul Huda Khan National Bank
Amongst the oldest commercial banks in Bangladesh, National Bank has a long history of embracing entrepreneurialism and counts many of Bangladesh’s most successful businesses as their clients. As Mr. Khan explains, National Bank has been about inclusive growth and SMEs right from the start.
Md. Shafiqur Rahman Social Islami Bank Ltd.
With increased demand for Islamic Banking services, Social Islami Bank is seeing unprecedented growth and returns. As CEO Mr. Rahman explains, Social Islami Bank is increasing its focus on technology and inclusive banking for the benefit of stakeholders and clients alike.
Dr. AHM Habibur Rahman Sonali Bank
Sonali Bank, the largest in Bangladesh, is using its exceptional network to reach out to those in the most remote areas of Bangladesh, fostering growth and developments in these communities. Sonali Bank, as Chairman Dr. Rahman explains, has made exceptional progress in instituting better corporate governance as well as reducing NPLs
Dr. Mohammed Haider Ali Miah EXIM Bank
EXIM Bank has completed its evolution to Islamic banking and significantly increased its returns, as the CEO Dr. Miah explains, much of this is to be accredited to Bangladesh’s Central Bank
Mr. Sohail R. Hussain City Bank
City Bank is one of the oldest and largest commercial banks in Bangladesh with a unique and efficient structure. City Bank prides itself on its corporate governance and efforts to offer a “financial supermarket” in terms of its products. As CEO Mr. Hussain explains, City Bank has contributed immensely to Bangladesh’s image building efforts by attracting foreign direct investment as well as fostering domestic growth through financial inclusion.
Mr. Selim R. F. Hussain IDLC
IDLC takes a unique position as a non-bank financial institution. As CEO of IDLC Mr. Hussain explains, IDLC has made significant steps to evolve and take on new business in Bangladesh as they focus on SMEs, not only to foster inclusive growth, but because it is an exceptionally profitable niche for the fast moving institution.
Dr. Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir The Farmers Bank
As perhaps the youngest bank in Bangladesh, The Farmers Bank prides itself on reaching out to farmers to facilitate the growth of their businesses. As the Chairman of The Farmers Bank explains, there has been exceptional efforts made to improve the quality of development in Bangladesh, and The Farmers Bank is committed to ensuring the private sector leads the way.
Mr. Shahid Hossain Southeast Bank
Southeast Bank has fully aligned itself with the Central Bank’s efforts for inclusive growth lauding the Governor’s achievements and ensuring that their implementation brings value to its stakeholders. As CEO Mr. Hossain explains, Bangladesh is intent to give back to the community through its exceptional CSR activities.
Dr. Atiur Rahman “It is not the growth but the story behind it which is much more exciting."