Agent banking accounts surpass 2 million

Golam Mowla
Published : 06:00, Nov 09, 2018 | Updated : 06:00, Nov 09, 2018

Agent banking was launched by Bangladesh Bank in 2013 with awarding a license to Bank Asia.As banks in Bangladesh are gradually expanding their agent banking activities, the number of agent banking accounts has already exceeded 2 million.
According to the quarterly data (July to September, 2018) of Bangladesh Bank, the number of accounts with agents increased to a little over 2 million from 1.21 million in the October to December quarter of 2017.
During the July-September period, the number of agents increased to 3,902 from 2,577 in the October to December quarter and the number of bank agent outlets also increased to 5,791 from 4,905 in the January-March period.
During the quarter, deposit collection through the agent banking stood at Tk 2.05 billion, which was Tk 922 million in the July to September quarter of 2017.
During the July-September period, official data show, deposit in agent banking rose by 28 percent amid the deposit fall in commercial banks.
Analyst Khandakar Ibrahim Khaled described the rise of deposit in agent banking ‘positive news.’
“People are losing faith on commercial banking for rampant corruption and irregularities while agent baking becomes popular day by day... But, we have to check whether anyone carrying out hundi business through it,” said Khaled, a former deputy governor to the Bangladesh Bank.
Agent banking also became more popular in rural area than the urban areas.
During the July-September period, number of agent banking accounts in rural areas stood at 1.76 million, which was 0.24 million in urban areas.
Explaining the growth in rural area, Bangladesh Bank spokesperson Sirazul Islam said, “Less costly, secure and modern technology-based are the reasons for expanding the agent banking.”
The central bank launched agent banking in 2013 by giving license to Bank Asia. A total of 20 commercial banks have already taken licenses from Bangladesh Bank while 18 banks are running their activities across the country.
The commercial 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, The Premier Bank, United Commercial Bank Limited, AB Bank and NRB Bank.