The number of farmers’ bank accounts, opened with Tk 10 deposit, has exceeded one crore in nine years of the introduction of the facility by the Bangladesh Bank.
The central bank in 2010 asked the banks to allow farmers to open accounts with Tk 10 to ensure transparent distribution of farm loans and subsidies and to bring farmers’ savings into the banking channel.
According to a BB data released last week, the number of such bank accounts increased to 1.02 crore at the end of December, 2019 from 98.87 lakh at the end of December, 2018.
Although the number of accounts exceeded one crore, the growth in farmers’ bank accounts dropped to 3.03 per cent in 2019 against 7.02 per cent growth in the previous year.
Farmers’ accumulated deposits in the bank accounts reached only Tk 351.76 crore at the end of December, 2019, meaning that a farmer had only Tk 345 in deposit in such account.
The number of bank accounts of the farmers represents 10 per cent of the country’s total 10.28 crore bank accounts.
However, their deposits in the banks accounted for only 0.03 per cent of the total Tk 11.59 lakh crore deposits in the country’s banking system.
On the contrary, deposits in 79,877 bank accounts, having Tk 1 crore or above deposits, reached Tk 4,98,865.94 crore at the end of September last year, representing 43.03 per cent of the total bank deposits.
Only 22.06 per cent of the farmer accounts were used for providing different facilities, leaving the rest 77.94 per cent of the accounts almost inactive.
BB officials said that the majority of the bank accounts of the farmers had remained inactive due to the banks’ reluctance to take stimulus measures.
Banks should come up with special products and services for the farmers to strengthen the BB’s financial inclusion programme, they said.
Of the farmers’ bank accounts, 22.47 lakh accounts were active. Of the active accounts, 21.53 lakh were used to disburse the government subsidy to the farmers, 47,972 were
used to distribute loans from the BB’s Tk 200 crore refinance fund and another 45,995 were used to receive remittance from the farmers’ kith and kin living abroad.
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