Monday, 8 August, 2022

Agrani Bank eyes Tk 20bn profit this yr

MD Shams-Ul Islam, who pulls the bank up, tells Daily Sun

Agrani Bank eyes Tk 20bn profit this yr

Agrani Bank is projected to earn Tk 20 billion by the end of this year as the state-run bank has been maintaining a strict credit monitoring policy to reduce non-performing loans, the top executive of the bank said.

In an interview with the Daily Sun, Managing Director Mohammad Shams-Ul Islam said Agrani Bank has kept the ratio of its non-performing loan below 3 percent over the last five years.

“In last five consecutive years, our gross NPL rate has been below 3 percent. With the legacy of earlier times, the gross rate is around 15 percent now. We have strengthened monitoring on credit and welcoming good clients,” he said.

When the bank was facing a crisis in 2016, seasoned banker Mohammad Shams-Ul Islam took the helm of the bank and transformed the state-run bank over the years.

“I had chalked out a 100-day programme to restore the fame of Agrani Bank after I took the office on August 24. I encouraged the staff to deliver growth. Within December 2016, we logged a Tk 5.5 billion operating profit. There was over 300 percent growth in three months. That was magic with a team effort of all staff across the country,” the seasoned banker recalled his early days as the CEO of the state-run bank.               

In the last five years, Agrani Bank entered the prestigious club of Tk 1 trillion deposit with growth momentum in revenue by supporting public-private projects as a skilled arranger of syndication loans for mega projects and industries.

Only two other banks are in the one trillion club– Sonali Bank and Islami Bank. Many leading conglomerates – Bashundhara Group, City Group, Bengal Group, Mohammadi Group are now receiving services from Agrani Bank which was not possible before the tenure of Shams-Ul Islam.

The government had appointed Shams-Ul Islam, former managing director of Ansar VDP Bank, as the managing director of Agrani Bank. A valiant freedom fighter, Islam took the challenge to save the state-run bank from a crisis and succussed.

Shamsul believes that the state-run banks are the centre of moral banking for a practitioner as there are a lot of scopes to do something for the people and the country.

“At state-run banks, we are not profit-oriented. We try to do something for the country’s economy and the well-being of people. For example, when all the private banks stopped opening letters of credit for importers amid the dollar crisis, Agrani Bank stood by Petro Bangla and Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation to facilitate oil imports. Similarly, we participated in the stipend disbursement initiatives including the Prime Minister’s scholarship programme without charging any charge considering the welfare of the country,”  he said.

Agrani Bank has shown excellence as an arranger of syndicated loans and facilitated the financing of 15 power plants that added 2,356 MW of electricity to the national grid. Shams-Ul Islam is considered the pioneer in establishing Bangabandhu Corner, an initiative to spread the legacy of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

“I started Bangabandhu Corner at Ansar VDP Bank and that continued at Agrani Bank also. Surprisingly, the initiative has been replicated by educational institutions at home and abroad. It’s a matter of pride for us,” he said.

Agrani Bank went through rapid transformation in the last five years as it introduced app-based services to welcome remittance with an additional incentive.

“We have introduced an app from Singapore to facilitate remittance transfer. Besides, we introduced additional incentives in addition to 2.5 percent from the government to encourage remittance transfers through formal channels. A mobile app for smart banking is ready to be rolled out. We are waiting for a schedule of the PM’s ICT Advisor Sajeeb Wazed Joy to inaugurate it formally,” Shams-Ul Islam added.

Under the leadership of Shams-Ul Islam, Agrani Bank provided Tk 1.4 billion for the Padma Bridge project and invested in Mayor Hanif Flyover, the first project under the public-private partnership model. The state-run bank has attracted the private sector with real-time banking from 962 branches across the country and smart banking mobile app.

Agrani Bank invested Tk 45.31 billion in 18 banks and 27 NBFIs to help stabilise liquidity in the banking sector. The bank also formed a fund of Tk 17.5 billion through ICB for strengthening the capital market. Besides, Agrani Bank invested Tk 16.5 billion in the share markets. Under the equity participation deal, Agrani Bank made equity investments of Tk 1.65 billion in Padma Bank, Tk 160 million in Karmasangsthan Bank, Tk 630 million in ICB, Tk 90 million in Bangladesh Commerce Bank and Tk 3.75 billion in Best Holdings. The bank disbursed Tk 2.11 billion for empowering women entrepreneurs under the SME programme.

Agrani Bank continued its excellence through the operating profit declined slightly in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. In the last five years (2016 to 2021), the cumulative volume of the bank’s finance to import is Tk 1506.08 billion and to export is Tk 590.11 billion.