Lending thru agent banking rebounds in Aug
Banks' lending through their agent banking rebounded in August after a sudden fall in July 2021 when the country was under strict lockdown to contain the devastation of the second wave of Covid-19 outbreak.
The latest Bangladesh Bank (BB) data showed banks' lending through the agent banking increased by more than three times or Tk 262 crore in August compared with that in the previous month.
It showed that the banks issued fresh credit worth Tk 372 crore in August through agents banking against their lending of Tk 110 crore in the previous month.
In June, the lending through the agent banking wings was Tk 457 crore, the second highest after the launch of the service. Loan disbursement through agent banking reached a record high of Tk 483.1 crore in December, 2020.
Bankers said lending through agent banking had been on the rise since August 2020 as a number of banks have been giving an additional emphasis on the mode of banking.
The lending, however, slowed down in July as the business and economic activities suffered stagnation due to the imposition lock down on public movement amid the Covid outbreak.
Banks' deposit collection through their agent banking also rebounded in August when they fetched Tk 893 crore in deposits against the collection of Tk 453 crore in July. In June, the collection of deposits was Tk 1,532 crore.
At the end of August, the total deposit collection of banks through agent banking rose to Tk 21,564.1 crore. Since the issuance of agent banking guidelines in 2013, banks have mostly focused on deposit mobilisation through agent banking as many of the banks are very much shaky to issue loans to the customers through agent banking.
A number of banks, however, in recent times have strengthened their agent banking wings to issue credit through the new and cost efficient mode of banking due to the central bank's emphasis on doing so.
So far, the central bank has issued agent banking licenses to 28 banks. Of them, 27 are in operations. In August 2021, the number of agent banking accounts reached 1.26 crore, which include 99.09 lakh accounts in the rural areas and 26.96 lakh accounts in the urban areas. The number of agents banking rose to 13,160 in August 2021, which include 11,293 agents outlets in the rural areas and 1,867 in the urban areas.
The number of agent banking outlets reached 17,464, including 15,211 in the rural areas and the rest 2,253 in the urban areas. Apart from lending and deposit services, agent banking outlets are also providing some other banking services, including remittance withdrawal and bill payment facilities.
Collection of inward foreign remittance through agent banks reached Tk 1,767 crore in August from Tk 1,949 crore in the previous month. Bill payments reached a record high of Tk 205 crore in August from Tk 89 crore in the previous month.