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ED: State-owned banks must be fixed

  • Published at 12:11 am October 4th, 2021
Four State owned Banks

It is about time that things changed

At this point, state-owned banks (SOBs) are nothing but white elephants for the Bangladesh economy, and thus it is no surprise to learn that all six SOBs in the country are lagging behind in the first quarter loan recovery target set by the Ministry of Finance.

The numbers are astonishing; according to the Financial Institutions Division (FID), The finance ministry gave the six SOBs a recovery target of Tk1,605 crore of the bad loans for the first quarter (July-September) of the current fiscal year, whereas they were able to recover a little over Tk155cr --  only about 9% of the whole target -- during the first two months.

Bad loans and SOBs have always gone hand in hand; this newspaper has editorialized multiple times on the need to dissolve these loss-making entities, which have continued to put our entire nation at risk by issuing large sums of money as loans -- most of which have historically been defaulted.

Experts have repeatedly pointed at the shambolic management, together with the culture of nepotism and impunity that exists within these banks, as the chief issues for these SOBs to continually struggle with recovering their bad loans. This is unsurprising, as the largest defaulters are often those who are in positions of power and enjoy impunity, but this cannot be a way in which an economy with ambitions such as Bangladesh operates.

It bears the question: Why are these SOBs still allowed to operate in this manner? It is about time that things changed, and unless we devise a well-thought out plan to fix things, these SOBs run the risk of dragging down the banking sector and our entire economy, halting it from reaching its full potential.