Internet Banking in Bangladesh

Posted by BankInfo on Mon, Mar 07 2011 06:06 pm

Internet Banking is growing popular day by day in Bangladesh. A number of private as well as local banks are going online now considering the demand and necessity of fast banking. Internet banking not only provides banking facility round the clock but also helps a country to get attached to the international economy as well as business. People throughout the world are now getting engaged with more activity and business and hence need the fast and anytime access to his/her bank account. Internet banking also facilitates buying and selling various products which varies country to country.

In Bangladesh many banks have launched Internet Banking. Amongst those HSBC, City Bank, BRAC Bank, Bank Asia, Jamuna Bank, Janata Bank, Southeast Bank, AB Bank, First Security Bank, Mercantile Bank, Premier Bank etc are in action already. Some are known as online banking, some are Internet Banking, providing various facilities. Like City Bank has the facility of account check and statement print including query about cheque book information. Bank Asia has almost same facilities but with addition they have internal fund transfer facility along with bill payment and mobile phone recharge which are, in fact quite handy.

Mercantile bank has a schedule for internet banking. It is Sunday to Thursday, 9am-3pm. They have the facility of money transaction, deposit and withdrawal though they charge a particular amount for each transaction according to their policy, it is a relief if you don’t have to go to bank for depositing and drawing money, isn’t it?

HSBC and BRAC Bank are clearly not satisfied with the transaction thing only in internet banking. They thought of something more and desiring and customized the service to its best for their clients and getting better day by day. HSBC has a whole lot of features in their online banking that includes 24/7 account access, loan account information, net- worth information, transaction amongst accounts, bill pay, personal information update, demand draft,  ATM info or PIN replacement request, chequebook order and lot more.

BRAC bank is one step ahead because for the first time they have introduced online shopping in Bangladesh. With exclusive features and facility BRAC bank also provides general online facility like the other banks. BRAC bank’s online shopping facilitates merchants to buy any product as they need online, they can customize the offers as well. Those who may have BRAC Bank VISA card or any VISA card can be a part of this online shopping service.

As the world economy is growing faster and banking sector is making mark each and every day, online banking is very important and effective to be a part of it. Bangladesh just started its journey in internet banking and banks are coming forward to make it a success. Online banking is clearly a huge benefit for the customers and saves a lot of time and things get done so easily. A developing country like Bangladesh can make the best out of Internet Banking and banks are completely into it.


HSBC Amanah-A Global Islamic Financial Service

Posted by BankInfo on Sun, Mar 06 2011 02:44 pm

HSBC, known as world's local bank, has recently introduced their very popular HSBC Amanah banking in Bangladesh. HSBC Amanah is the global Islamic financial services division of the HSBC Group. Amongst the many international Islamic financial services team, HSBC Amanah represents the largest in Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas. It was established in 1998 with more than 300 professional to serve the purpose. Their main concern are the customers and their needs.

HSBC Amanah offers commercial banking products along with deposits and investment products, account services, corporate financing solutions, trade services, guarantee solutions and cash management services etc. Not only these, HSBC Amanah also provides Corporate Internet Banking- an international secured service based on the award winning HSBC net platform, in Bangladesh.

Amongst so many popular services HSBC Amanah in Bangladesh has introduced Amanah Inport Finance, Short-Term Financing, Documentary credit etc.

Amanah Import Finance

For business purpose HSBC's trade specialists and financial consultants offer expertise and practical support to the business owners as HSBC is well reputed for expertise in global trade finance. Amanah Import Finance is based on the Shariah principles of Goods Murabaha, catering to import finance through Documentary Credit and Shipping Guarantees.

Main Features:

Ø Competitive pricing with the market

Ø Simple documentation and quick turn-around time

Ø In the goods Murabaha transactions, a client him/herself will be appointed as their agent to purchase the goods and negotiate the price and other specification with the supplier of goods.

Documentary Credit

Amanah Documentary Credit helps developing the overseas business relationship. A number of key factors need to be considered while developing business relationships with overseas suppliers and there comes the Documentary Credit. A documentary credit issued by HSBC Amanah provides assurance and security to both the buyer and the supplier by helping to mitigate the inherent risks of international trade.

Main Features:

HSBC Amanah documentary Credit is based on the Shariah principles of Murabahah or Wakalah. It has multiple features like following:

Ø Financial Strength

Ø Global Network

Ø Seamless and timely

Ø Expert Assistance

Ø Vendor Support

Short-Term Financing

This financing facility is known as Amanah Goods Murabaha which is a Shariah-compliant product that provides shot-term financing for a customer's working capital requirements and purchase of assets. This particular financing system involves the Bank purchasing goods/assets at a customer's request and selling the same to the same customer at a sale price on a deferred payment basis. It is a Shariah requirement that the breakup of cost and profit in the sale price be disclosed.

Product Features:

Ø It helps a customer to purchase with a wide variety like Raw Material, Spare Parts, machinery/equipment, finished goods etc.

Ø A customer may enjoy competitive pricing with the market

Ø 1-12 month tenor

Ø Simple documentation and quick turn-around time

Ø Various payment schemes

Product Structure:

How does it work? A customer of the bank will be appointed as their agent to purchase the goods and negotiate the price and other specifications with the supplier. Each time a customer needs prior approval of the bank to get engaged with a supplier. Based on the value of the purchase, bank will prepare an offer letter for the customer, which will be signed and sent by the customer to the bank advising to purchase the goods from the bank at a Murabaha price (cost plus profit).

The bank will sell the purchased goods/assets to the customer by accepting the offer and making the payment to the supplier. Customer will pay the bank on the agreed date.

HSBC Amanah has surely opened a new window to the business owners as well as regular clients in Bangladesh which will surely be a great opportunity for them to enhance the economic strength of the country with an Islamic way and view.

Banks facing over-regulation, says OECD head

Posted by BankInfo on Sat, Mar 05 2011 06:52 am

Banks face a period of over-regulation caused by public outrage over lax supervision that led to the global financial crisis, OECD chief Jose Angel Gurria said on Friday. Ever since the 2007-2008 slump, regulators worldwide have moved to strengthen supervision of large banks and other financial institutions. “We blew it so badly that right now there is a pendular movement toward too much regulation,” Gurria told 600 senior financiers attending the spring meeting of the Washington-based Institute of International Finance (IIF). “Don’t fight it—it is going to happen no matter what. People are too scared, people are too angry, the consequences have been too massive,” Gurria told the forum held in New Delhi.
Financial institutions in mature economies are being blamed for irresponsible lending and risk-taking that led to the worst global downturn since the 1930s Great Depression.
“We share the responsibility” for the events leading up to the crisis, said Gurria who heads the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation.
“The banks are a very good villain (in the public eye) and maybe we will have a period when we have too much
regulation as an inevitable political result of the crisis and then maybe we will get it right,” he said.
Gurria’s comments came as the IIF, which represents 430 institutions from over 70 countries, said the regulatory crackdown on financial bodies could hurt economic recovery by curbing banks’ critical funding role. “Never before have so many regulatory reforms been determined or planned” by different nations, said IIF chairman Josef Ackermann.
Ackermann called for better global coordination in drafting regulatory policies on the need for banks to hold more capital, pay higher taxes and other reforms in order to avoid the creation of “uneven playing fields.”
He urged that authorities around the world take stock of regulations that “are in train” to see how these will affect the financial system. 

News: The Independent/Bangladesh/05 Mar 2011

Monetary policy, exchange rate and taming inflation

Posted by BankInfo on Wed, Mar 02 2011 05:51 am

Mamun Rashid

The Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) for the second half of fiscal 2011 is focusing on a continuous watch towards locating and neutralising likely inflationary pressures from the growth-supportive monetary and credit policies.

The policy has taken a stance to extend credit to agriculture, small and medium enterprises (SME), rural economy, housing loans, shipbuilding, and rural energy. This stance is backed by the reasoning that the domestic economy is operating below capacity and expansionary policy in the targeted sector would help to bring in short term stability and to realise long term growth prospects.

While we welcome that, the common people seem to be confused about some of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) stances. The dollar rate has gone up significantly, making import apparently much costlier than before and at times, there are serious issues coming up with regard to timely settlement of import liabilities due to foreign currency (FCY) liquidity shortage in the market. The central bank in the recent past was supporting essential commodity imports, especially in the state sector by supplying FCY liquidity to them. Lately, they expressed their shyness in continuing that and instead, they are allowing a few commercial banks to overdraw their FCY accounts held with the central bank.

However, this is creating serious disconnect in managing banks' asset and liabilities, especially in a fluctuating market, and banks are being forced to get into a tussle with their esteemed clients. Besides, common people on the streets cannot reconcile high dollar prices with a higher FX reserve. Their confusion heightens when they see imported items getting dearer, creating serious disengagement with the government's election pledges.

A study by BB in the past suggested a nominal US dollar over-valuation against the taka when compared to nominal effective exchange rate (NEER) and real effective exchange rate (REER). The monetary policy therefore emphasised stability of the exchange rate to maintain external competitiveness. However, with almost 6 percent depreciation of taka against dollar, now that gap has narrowed a lot, if not gone.

There are impending debates among economists (usually banks or bankers do not dare to criticise the central bank in emerging countries like Bangladesh), whether BB should try to dampen the dollar rate to support price reductions of imported essentials. Their argument in favour of an appreciated taka is emanating from an emerging debate of export being increasingly becoming insensitive to the exchange rate, rather more dependent on labor wages, productivity and an efficient supply chain.

The world has been experiencing an episode of inflation in commodity and fuel prices for quite some time and now it is only following one way traffic of going up, while the domestic inflationary pressure is reportedly making the life of the poor, low-, and middle-income people somehow miserable.

Had the Bangladesh currency been appreciated in terms of its intervention currency, that is, the US dollar, the costs of all imports, including essential commodities, would have gone down to some extent. That would have been considered otherwise a welcome development. In that event, the government could be in a better position to blunt the edge of all public criticisms for its failure to rein in soaring prices. The consumers could also see some sort of relief. However, policy planners as well as 'inflation targeting group' with the partner agencies feel, monetary management tools in their entirety cannot control the price rise. Rather, governments need to come up with fiscal measures (including safety net or targeted subsidy) to help the marginalised groups, without denting the growth driving sectors.

They also feel that appreciation of the taka is easier said than done. If the value of the US dollar depreciates against the taka, it would take its toll on the export sector, that is, the lifeline of the economy. There could also be cuts in employment in all export-oriented sectors. A strong taka will also have the potential of affecting the flow of inward remittance by the non-resident Bangladeshis through official channels and thereby, put further pressure on our widening balance of payment.

The government reported to have initiated a dialogue in reference to taking a balance of payment support fund of $1 billion from International Monetary Fund (IMF), which they have done at various intervals in the past, especially with a heated external sector, crop loss due to natural calamities or international food price surge.

Bangladesh had its first sovereign credit rating by Standard & Poor's as well as Moody's in the recent past and the rating came out to be quite good vis-à-vis peer countries. Analysts felt it was the best time for us to go into international markets to raise some money through sovereign bonds, like similar countries. That would have helped us support growth financing or at least try Bangladesh's ability to raise money from global markets and avoid at-times undesirable and conditional IMF support.

Take it or leave it, the Bangladesh economy has become more integrated with the world over last one and half decade. Thus, it is hard to insulate commodities prices in the domestic market from global influences. What is more important is that there is no guarantee that traders would be selling goods at prices lower than existing levels, in spite of the benefits to be accrued from a possible appreciation of the taka.

So, upward adjustment of the taka against the US dollar remains a dilemma for the central bank. However, the government and the central bank need to use whatever tools they have, under their control, to tame soaring inflation without compromising on growth.

There needs to be a good balance between monetary and fiscal policy execution. While the fiscal policy would be targeted at equitable distribution and adequate safety nets for the marginalised, the monetary policy would focus on price stability.

Unless we bring transparency in goal setting for fiscal and monetary policies, they would remain ineffective in our endeavor to fight international economic uncertainties and spikes in the domestic economy.

The writer is an adjunct professor at NSU Business School and can be reached at

News: The Daily Star/ Bangladesh/ Mar-02-2011

Dollar rebounds slightly against euro

Posted by BankInfo on Sun, Feb 27 2011 05:33 am

The dollar regained ground against the euro Friday after a week moving downward, as higher oil prices due to Libya’s political turmoil threatened to moderate growth prospects in Europe and the United States.

Markets remained on edge due to the fighting in Libya, where important oil supplies to Europe have been shut down.

At 2200 GMT the euro traded at $1.3749, down from $1.3797 the same time Thursday. But the dollar gave up more ground to the Japanese currency, buying 81.68 yen from 81.91 yen a day before.

The dollar gained ground on the pound, which was at $1.6117 from $1.6134. It also picked up against the Swiss franc, rising to 0.9279 francs from 0.9260.

The yen has climbed steadily in recent days as a safe-haven against the political instability in the Middle East. — AFP

News: Daily Sun /Bangladesh/ 27-Feb-2011

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