Saturday, 30 September, 2023

Bad loans surge to Tk 1.31trn for lax governance

Bad loans surge to Tk 1.31trn for lax governance

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The banking sector faces a surge in non-performing loans (NPLs), reaching a staggering Tk 1.31 trillion.   

This increase of Tk 109.64 billion in the first quarter of the year indicates a worrisome lack of governance, according to a report from Bangladesh Bank released on Sunday.

Year-on-year, audited NPLs are up 16 percent compared to the first quarter of last year. As of March, NPLs represented 8.8 percent of the Tk 14.96 trillion outstanding loan amount.

This marks a steady rise from the 8.16 percent seen in December and 8.53 percent in March of the previous year.

Anis A Khan, former chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh (ABB), called the control of bad loans a joint venture effort.

Khan urged the central bank to enforce regulations more strictly and proposed a fast-track tribunal to clear backlog cases. He also recommended the establishment of an asset reconstruction company to hold defaulters accountable.

Echoing these sentiments, Shah Md Ahsan Habib, director of the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM), said lack of good governance prevented bankers from holding willful defaulters accountable.

"Any bad loan is a red flag for the economy, necessitating immediate action to restore stability," Dr. Ahsan told the Daily Sun.

Last Wednesday, Bangladesh Bank governor Abdur Rouf Talukder put the onus on bank executives and management to reduce defaulted loans, recognizing them as a severe problem in the banking sector.