Agent banking gains popularity as accounts rise to 29 lakh

Agent banking is gaining more popularity across the country as about 29 lakh accounts were opened and over Taka 3,734 crore was deposited in six years till March 2019, reports BSS.

According to the quarterly data of January-March, 2019 of Bangladesh Bank (BB), deposit collection through the agent banking was Taka 3,734.50 crore, which was 20 percent higher from Taka 3,112.41 crore in the October to December 2018.

At the end of January to March quarter, the number of agent banking accounts across the country also increased by 18 percent or around 4.50 lakh compared to the previous quarter.

The number of accounts with agents increased to 29, 06,655 from 24, 56,982 in the January-March period of 2019.

At the end of January-March quarter, the number of agents increased to 4,866 from 4,493 of the previous quarter and the number of bank agent outlets also increased to 7,838 from 6,933 in the same quarter.

Official data show that Bangladeshi expatriates sent Taka 7,182.65 crore through the agent banking channel, which was Taka 5,557.42 crore in the October to December quarter of 2018.

Talking to BSS, Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) Deputy Managing Director Abu Reza Mohd Yeahia said agent banking is moving fast across the country since the banks are providing all sorts of efforts to bring the grassroots people under the banking services.

“Agent banking is providing banking services by engaging representatives under a valid agency agreement,” he added.

Terming the agent banking a great initiative of the central bank, he said generally a bank needs a number of staff and huge expenditure to operate a branch. “If one bank can run its activities through agents, it will be helpful for both the bank and the customers,” he added.

He said IBBL has also started agent banking as it is playing a role to take banking services to the doorsteps of the common people.

“We have already received permission for 503 outlets. We have started services in around 500 outlets,” he added.

The central bank launched agent banking in 2013 by giving license to Bank Asia. A total of 21 commercial banks have already taken licenses from Bangladesh Bank while 19 banks are running their activities across the country.

The commercial 19 banks, which are currently running agent banking activities, are Dutch Bangla Bank, Bank Asia, Al-Arafah Islami Bank, Social Islami Bank, Modhumoti Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, NRB Commercial Bank, Standard Bank, Agrani Bank, First Security Islami Bank, Mid Land Bank, The City Bank, Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited, The Premier Bank, United Commercial Bank Limited, AB Bank, NRB Bank, Brac Bank and Eastern Bank.