Growth in deposit in banks through the agent banking channel dropped to 16.75 per cent in the July-September quarter this year against 41.5 per cent growth in the previous quarter as flood hampered economic activities in different parts of the country in the period.
The deposit growth in banks through their agent banking outlets was 20.75 per cent in the July-September quarter of the year 2018 and 19.98 per cent in the October-December period of that year.
As most of the agent banks collect funds from the rural areas, the deposit collection growth fell mainly due to the flood that hit at least 28 districts across the country in July this year, bank officials said.
Besides, economic activities in the rural areas usually remain subdued during the rainy season until the harvesting of grains and so the savings capacity of the people also deteriorates during the season, they said.
Apart from the agent banks, deposit growth in banks has also witnessed a tepid growth in this year, they said.
As per the Bangladesh Bank’s quarterly report on agent banking, deposit in banks through the agent banking channel increased to Tk 6,169.87 crore at the end of September this year from Tk 5,284.46 crore at the end of June this year.
In terms of deposit collection through the agent banking channel, four banks — Al-Arafah Islami Bank, Dutch-Bangla Bank, Islami Bank Bangladesh and Bank Asia —collected over Tk 1,000 crore.
Of all banks, Al-Arafah Islami Bank collected the highest amount of deposit (Tk 1,448.68 crore) through its agent banking channel. Dutch-Bangla Bank collected Tk 1,444.36 crore, Islami Bank Bangladesh Tk 1,145.51 crore, Bank Asia Tk 1,109.95 crore and Agrani Bank Tk 239.39 crore.
The five banks held 87.3 per cent of the total deposit collected by 19 banks’ agent banking outlets.
The central bank, however, expressed its dissatisfaction over the amount of loans the banks disbursed through the agent banking channel.
As per the BB data, banks in the July-September quarter disbursed only Tk 305.79 crore in loans, which is 4.96 per cent of the deposit pooled by the agent banking channel.
In the April-June quarter this year, the amount of loans disbursed through the agent banking channel was Tk 237.35 crore or 4.49 per cent of the deposit and in the January-March quarter it was Tk 210.38 crore and 5.63 per cent.
Of the disbursed loans in July-September quarter this year, Bank Asia disbursed Tk 231.94 crore.
Most of the banks which have started agent banking services are yet to launch the loan disbursement service for its customers.
‘More banks should start disbursing loans through this alternative delivery channel as it can greatly increase the economic activities in the rural areas and improve the lifestyle of poor people,’ the BB in its report said.
‘With the collective effort of all the stakeholders, the agent banking is expected to accelerate the deepening of financial inclusion and contribute to the inclusive growth of the economy in the coming days,’ it said.
In term of customers, the number of agent banking accounts increased to 39.64 lakh in the July-September quarter this year, up 16.03 per cent or 5.48 lakh on 34.16 lakh at the end of June this year.
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