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UNSETTLED INLAND BILLS

5 banks’ warned of losing top AD branch licences

AKM Zamir Uddin

Bangladesh Bank has warned five scheduled banks of cancellation of authorised dealer licences of top branch of each bank over their failure to settle back-to-back inland bills against local letters of credit in line with the central bank directive.
The BB on February 5 issued separate show-cause notices to the five banks asking them to reply within 15 working days why the central bank would not cancel licences of their five AD branches, a BB official told New Age on Monday.
The errant five banks are Janata Bank, Islami Bank Bangladesh, Pubali Bank, Southeast Bank and Mercantile Bank.
The central bank identified that overdue position of the five banks in settling the inland bills remained at the top for a long time among all scheduled banks.
‘The central bank has issued the show-cause letters to the five banks as part of its online monitoring system on foreign exchange-related business of the banks,’ BB deputy governor Nazneen Sultana told New Age.
The BB will take punitive measures against the banks if they fail to give satisfactory reply to the notices, she said.
The official said that the central bank on December 23, 2013 had served another show-cause notice in connection with the overdue inland bills on 30 banks, asking them to reply to the notices by January 19, 2014.
After the issuance of the notice, a number of banks settled their inland bills in the quickest possible time, but the five banks did not take adequate measures in this connection.
The BB official said the central bank had organised a series of meeting with the banks in mid-November in which the banks had promised that they would settle the overdue inland bills within that month.
But, the banks did not keep their commitments, he said.
According to the latest BB data, Janata Bank’s overdue inland bills stood at $8.70 million as of February 9, 2014, that of Islami Bank $4.90 million, that of Pubali Bank $6.12 million, that of Southeast Bank $4.80 million and that of Mercantile Bank $13 million.
The country’s banking sector has been facing indiscipline for long due to the overdue inland bills as significant amount of funds of some banks remain stuck in the process, another BB official said.
He said the BB had already introduced an electronic monitoring system named ‘Dashboard’ to bring discipline in the foreign exchange-related business in the banking sector.
The BB issued the show-cause letters to the five banks by collecting information from the ‘Dashboard’, he said.
IBBL managing director Mohammad Abdul Mannan told New Age on Monday that his bank had already taken initiative to settle the overdue inland bills.
The BB in its February 5 letter referred to the Nawabpur AD branch of IBBL.
‘We have settled a large number of overdue bills after receiving the BB notice,’ Mannan said.
He, however, said that IBBL was one of the largest banks in terms of export and import LCs in the country.
‘So its inland bills overdue position is higher than other banks.’
Pubali Bank managing director Helal Ahmed Chowdhury told New Age that he made a commitment to the central bank on Monday that his bank would settle all inland bills by this month.
Pubali Bank has already settled a number of overdue bills in the last few days, he said.
The central bank’s show-cause letter referred to the principal branch of Pubali Bank.




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