“Looking back at the 22 year journey of Bank Asia, the Bank’s biggest contribution would be the financial inclusion of deprived people and paving a way with financial leadership”, Md Arfan Ali, President and Managing Director of Bank Asia told Bangladesh Post in a n interview.
He said Bank Asia established the first booth in 17th January 2014 in Munshiganj. This was a great achievement to pilot and take banking services to a large population that did not benefit from banking services till then.
He shared that about 26 different banks have formulated their business in accordance to the pioneering that Bank Asia did.
While talking to Bangladesh Post, Md Arfan said that every organization is established with an objective goal and all the concerned involved work to reach that goal. Bank Asia began with the dream of contributing to build a country that is poverty-free and financially developed.
“Throughout our journey we have grown alongside the country itself. Bangladesh experienced commercial growth and with that we prospered as well. Our activities became more widespread over the period,” he said.
The people who were deprived of remittance services, deposit services, credit services etc were brought under the banking wing by Bank Asia.
Bangladesh Bank’s study also suggests that the financial inclusion drive has brought about immense change in the banking scenario by including people who did not benefit from the services, he added.
“The drive especially benefited women as 46% of the total accounts created in the drive are accounts of women. About 87% of the total accounts belong to the rural people. This is the satisfying change that has been brought about,” he said.
The MD further shared that Bank Asia has also worked hand in hand with the government in the project ‘Ekti Bari, Ekti Khamar’, enlightening and providing banking services, digitizing rural savings model etc for the people in need.
Bank Asia has played a vital role in agricultural financing as well, he said.
“Throughout the pandemic, Bank Asia has successfully achieved its target of distributing SME stimulus package by 103%. Bangladesh Bank has appreciated our contribution towards agricultural loans as well for going beyond our estimated target,” added the MD.
MD Arfan expressed that being on the brink of the 22nd year in service, the bank can clearly see its role in shaping and adjusting to the changing banking services of the future. The bank’s contribution is recognized and is working as a tool for change how banking scenario is changing and there is a growing partnership between banks nationally and internationally.
Around 20-25 international entities like Gates foundation, Department for International Development (DFID), MetLife Foundation etc. have partnered with and assisted Bank Asia. Having, so many international partnerships for a bank is an achievement in itself and they acknowledge Bank Asia as a driving force for the betterment of the country, he added.
The MD said, “Our awards, international level disclosure, central bank regulation complied growth etc are all our weapons in the arsenal to do good and healthy business and keep moving forward.”
He further said that big corporates are satisfied doing business with the Bank Asia and the bank is happy to serve them as well and glad to aid them in their social contributions.
“We had a dream of achieving an objective goal and in the 22 years of service we have successfully completed a large portion of it and will look to move further towards our goal in the future,” said Md Afran optimistically.