Thursday, 26 May, 2022
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Sonali Bank excels in digital banking

State-owned Sonali Bank has shown excellence in digital banking services despite the dominance of private banks in financial technology.

The state-run bank continues to support the financial inclusion of marginalised communities despite the impact of coronavirus pandemic.

Most of the innovations came over the last two years of technological advances of Sonali Bank. Interoperable transactions with mobile financial service – bKash, receiving remittance within five seconds though Blaze app are among the most significant achievements of the bank’s digital services.

Customers of Sonali Bank are now happy with the bank’s tech-enabled services. A strong team led by Managing Director Ataur Rahman Prodhan has been driving the digital transformation of Sonali Bank.

Sonali Bank has introduced Xoom, an affiliated service from international payment app Paypal to facilitate international transactions, which is the first of its kind in Bangladesh.

The bank is now focusing on Blaze service to facilitate the remittance transfer by Bangladeshi expatriates.

Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy inaugurated the Blaze service of Sonali Bank as the chief guest. Joy also opened the Xoom Paypal service for the bank.

The customers of Sonali Bank now perform transactions in real time as 1227 Sonali Bank branches are operating with its core banking software.

Besides, the Sonali eSheba helps the users pay government fees with the touch of a button. The bank also introduced Sonali e-Wallet to facilitate real-time transactions on the go.

Over 500 staff of the banks are working for tech upgradation of the bank while the bank has established a tech subsidiary, Sonali Intellect, for research and development of digital services.

Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) Prof Dr Shah Mohammad Ahsan Habib termed the tech transformation of Sonali Bank as a positive move for the leading state-owned bank.

“Sonali Bank has broken the traditional concept that state-owned banks are backwards in tech services. There is no alternative to tech adaptation in the modern banking system,” Dr Ahsan Habib told the Daily Sun.

Sonali Bank Managing Director Ataur Rahman took initiatives for the bank’s digital transformation after taking the charge in August 2019.

The bank has implemented 80 percent of tasks outlined in its five-year planning in just two years. The bank’s tech subsidiary, Sonali Intellect, has played a vital role in making such rapid progress.

Using the solutions of Sonali Intellect, state-owned bank Rupali Bank also got good results in core banking software adaptation.

Bangladesh Bank has recognized Sonali Bank for setting an example in the annual closing of accounts in 2021 in eight hours.

Regarding the MFS integration, Sonali Bank Managing Director Ataur Rahman said the service helps users experience inter-operable money transfer between bKash and bank accounts.

“We have linked the services. The integrated service is already active,” he said.

The Xoom service of the international payment platform Paypal helps users receive money from abroad within five seconds. Earlier, the remittance process took minimum 72 hours to adjust with bank accounts. But, Xoom from Paypal makes it possible within a second.

Appreciating the digital platform, Ataur Rahman said, “The app-based services help remit foreign currencies within the shortest possible time. However, the Xoom Paypal service didn’t get the exposure widely. We are also focusing on blaze,”

The users have a special attraction to blaze. He said,” The use of this service has increased by15 times since launching the service. Now the remittance inflow from Europe is comparatively lower than the Middle East. Most of the remittance is now posted from Saudi Arabia.”

He said they have a plan to focus on Middle East to bring more remittance on the Blaze platform.

“A partnership meeting has already been scheduled with our counterpart there (Saudi Arabia). We are hopeful of increasing the remittance flow after coming to a decision together,” Ataur Rahman added.

The expatriate can send remittance through global remittance services like Xoom, Skrill and TapTap Send through the Blaze app. The remitted money will be deposited into Sonali Bank accounts.