Agrani Bank is making a significant contribution towards financial inclusion of the marginalised community through its agent-based 'Doer Banking' service.
The state-owned bank has made a difference in terms of rural coverage in the mess of city-based financial institutions.
The bank ran a pilot project in Madhabpur upazila of Habiganj district in 2010. Bangladesh Bank allowed the commercial lenders in 2011 to run agent banking services.
Agrani Bank is currently the lone state-owned lender to run the agent banking service.
As per the Bangladesh Bank data, the agent banking reaches a bank’s services up to the union level minimising the cost of branch operations. An agent of any bank can serve deposit collection, loan disbursement, remittance transaction as well as school banking.
Through the ‘Doer Banking’ network, Agrani Bank disburses the allowance of social safety net of the government. The inclusive banking service strengthens the rural economy indeed through supporting businesses at the community level.
The state-owned bank has now 400 agents across the country and they were operating under the supervision of nearest branches in respective areas.
The commoners get benefits from the banking service at their door (Doer in Bangla). So, the bank terms the service ‘Doer Banking’.
Regarding the agent banking, Agrani Bank Managing Director Mohammad Shams-Ul Islam said they pioneered the inclusive banking model in Bangladesh.
"We ran a project with a professor of Brac University in 2010. That was conceptual. Bangladesh Bank gave directives on agent banking later," he told the Daily Sun.
The chief executive officer of the bank said they have got approval from Bangladesh Bank to introduce operations of 200 more agents. "The new agents will start operations by this year," he said.
The agents offer retail services of savings and current accounts, DPS, fixed deposit and school banking.
The small banking unit also disburses government allowances while the customers can withdraw remittance from there. The agents also offer digital services like ticketing to attract the customers.
Agrani Bank offers digital banking service to the customers as any account holders can conduct transactions through ATM booths of any bank.