Chairman of National Bank Limited Zainul Haque Sikder launched the ‘Poverty Alleviation’ scheme of the bank in 2015.
Under the scheme, poor people in several districts, including Rajshahi and Mymensingh, were given collateral-free loans at 5 percent interest rate with a view to making them self-reliant.
At that time, interest rate on general lending was 14-15 percent. Later, Bangladesh Bank capped the lending rate at 9 percent at the instruction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
National Bank Director Rick Haque Sikder told the bank’s 439th board of directors’ meeting that the repayment rate of the loans disbursed under the scheme is 98 percent.
“Among the private banks, National Bank has the second highest number of rural branches after Islami Bank. That’s why this sort of scheme is very good for us and beneficial for the country, especially when poor people are suffering the most for the coronavirus pandemic,” Rick Haque Sikder asserted.
Against such a backdrop, National Bank Chairman Zainul Haque Sikder has instructed expansion of the ‘Poverty Alleviation’ scheme throughout the country and lowered the interest rate to 3.5 percent from 5 percent.
Such a humane scheme of the bank during the present coronavirus pandemic will remain as a unique example in the country.