• Monday, Jan 30, 2023
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Can a lender withdraw Tk 35 lakh from its client’s account without valid reason? Padma Bank may have done it

  • Published at 07:41 pm February 8th, 2021
Padma Bank logo

'The bank is harassing me commercially and socially by imposing the liability on me'

Imagine you have Tk 42 lakh in your bank account and one fine day you see that Tk 35 lakh has disappeared into thin air. And when you seek answers, you learn that it is the bank that has taken away the sum and not some rogue third-party. 

This is exactly what transpired with a customer of Padma Bank’s Maona branch in Gazipur whose name has been withheld for sake of privacy, and the Bangladesh Bank on February 7 has sought an explanation from Padma Bank Managing Director Md. Ehsan Khasru. 

Contacted, Khasru said he was not aware of the issue. 

“This allegation might be against Farmers Bank but we are now Padma Bank,” he told Dhaka Tribune yesterday.

Farmers Bank was renamed Padma Bank in February 2019, with the view to sweeping the gross irregularities and loan scams under the carpet and getting an image makeover.

Khasru said the bank will conduct an internal investigation and if the allegation is proved right, the money will be returned to the customer.

It all started in 2017, when the customer applied for a Tk 60 lakh loan. The bank sanctioned him a loan for Tk 40 lakh. Of the sum, the customer withdrew Tk 35 lakh.

He then deposited a total of Tk 42 lakh in another account of the bank. It is from this account that the bank transferred Tk 35 lakh to two separate accounts through two transactions.

The customer informed the branch manager about the irregularity, who assured that the matter would be solved. But nothing was done by the branch manager.

Exasperated, the customer last year brought the matter to the central bank’s notice, stating that the Padma bank authorities fraudulently withdrew Tk 35 lakh from his account. 

Padma Bank imposed its liability on the client instead of returning the money, according to the written complaint of the client. 

“The bank is harassing me commercially and socially by imposing the liability on me,” the client said in his written complaint. 

Dhaka Tribune has a copy of the complaint paper.

The incident has stunned the central bank to the point that it is planning on asking the Anti-Corruption Commission to look into the matter, said a high BB official on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. 

Established in 2013, the bank became a hotbed for financial irregularities in less than three years of setting up shop. More than Tk 3,500 crore was siphoned out from the bank between 2013 and 2017, according to the BB.

Allegations of corruption against Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir and Md Mahabubul Haque Chisty, the then board chairman and chairman of the audit committee respectively, became deafening and depositors, which included government agencies, started pulling out money, 

The two were forced to resign in November 2017, and the government stepped in to rescue the bank in 2018. 

The state-owned financial institution Investment Corporation of Bangladesh, Sonali Bank, Janata Bank, Agrani Bank and Rupali Bank bought 60 per cent stakes in the bank for Tk 715 crore.

At the end of September last year, the bank’s default loans stood at Tk 3,631.7 crore, which is 64.7 per cent of its total disbursed loans.  It also has a capital shortfall of Tk 249.6 crore, according to the central bank’s latest data.

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