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BB board may approve new banks on Mar 27

Staff Correspondent

Some new banks are likely to be approved on March 27 by the board of directors of Bangladesh Bank amid intensified lobbying by aspirants sponsors backed by the ruling party, sources in the central bank said.
The BB board is going to meet for the second time in a month in connection with the setting up of the new banks.
Earlier on March 15, the board of directors of the central bank held a meeting to scrutinise the applications of the sponsors of the proposed banks.
BB sources told New Age that the board of directors of the central bank usually holds one meeting each month. But the next week’s board meeting has been scheduled amid acute pressure from the government to approve the new banks.
At least three committees of the central bank have to conduct the scrutiny process before approving the new commercial banks and it needs minimum six months to complete the tasks, one of the sources said.
But these committees are going to submit their final report within four months due to political pressure from government, they said.
The central bank on September 27, 2011 invited applications from sponsors interested in setting up new private commercial banks, asking them to submit their proposals with a non-refundable bank draft of Tk 10 lakh by November 30.
BB received 37 applications for setting up new banks by November 30, the deadline for submitting the applications.
The BB sources said that the primary scrutiny committee had selected 16 applications for new banks, but the technical committee eventually shortened the list.
The evaluation committee led by Md Abul Quasem, deputy governor of BB, would complete the final scrutiny process of the new bank, he said.
He said that seven to nine commercial banks might get licence to operate banking activities in the country.
Applicants for the new banks include Jatiya Party chief HM Ershad and Awami League lawmaker and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s nephew Fazle Noor Taposh.
The BB Board is also expected to approve two or three banks by Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs), said the sources in BB.
Although the central bank had initially wanted to give approval to one NRB bank, two more NRB banks might be given permission because of political pressure from the ruling party, it was learnt.
The three applicants for licenses of NRB banks had the blessings from the ruling Awami League, sources said.
The new NRB banks would have been approved in previous board meeting, but some complexities erupted over the requirement of paid-up capital. 
BB had earlier fixed a paid-up capital of Tk 200 crore for the new NRB banks. But according to the revised Bank Companies Act, a new bank should have Tk 400 crore as paid-up capital.
SK Sur Chowdhury, deputy governor of BB, earlier said that the NRB banks might get permission finally from the next BB board meeting if they could meet the requirement of paid-up capital of Tk 400 crore.




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