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Banks offer single digit lending rate

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Economic Reporter :
The country's scheduled banks are offering single digit interest rate for all products, except consumer loans and credit card, to their clients as per the decision of a recent meeting between Finance Minister AMA Muhith and the bank authorities.
"As per the decision, each bank is bringing down their interest rates to single digit. Banks are implementing this decision," Secretary General of the Association of Bankers Bangladesh (ABB) M Arfan Ali told.
Recently, Finance Minister AMA Muhith told the journalists that the interest rate in the banking sector will come down to single digit from August 9 since the chairmen and the managing directors of the banks agreed to implement the new rate as per the directive of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He said the interest rate for consumer loan and credit card will be flexible as per the banks' obligations.
M Arfan Ali, also managing director of the Bank Asia Limited, said his bank is working on lowering the lending rate. "The new rate is likely to decrease our bank's income, but we can adjust it by reducing other expenses," he added.
He said the single digit interest rate against bank lending will increase the private sector investment that will help take the country's economic growth to a sustainable level.
While talking, Chairman of Mercantile Bank Limited (MBL) AKM Shaheed Reza said the MBL board of directors took the initiatives from July this year when Bangladesh Association of Banks (BAB) took the decision of the single digit interest rate.
"MBL is disbursing the industrial and corporate loans in single digit from July. For single digit interest rate, our income has decreased but we adjust the income by reducing other expenses," he added.
He said the single digit interest rate will boost further the country's economy, which will help achieve the country's development goals, including 'Vision-2021' and 'Vision-2041'.
NCC Bank Chairman M Nurun Newaz said the board of directors of the bank has already instructed the senior officials to lower the interest rate as per the decision.
"Banking sector should bring down the interest rate to a single digit to expedite the country's economy," he added.
Bangladesh Bank Chief Spokesperson M Serajul Islam said this is the own decision of the chairmen and managing directors of banks. BB is only providing its ethical pressure on banks to bring down the lending rate to single digit as per their commitment, he added.
Earlier, BAB, an association of private commercial banks, at a meeting decided to bring down the lending rate to a single digit and deposit rate for the three months tenure to 6 percent from July 1, the first day of fiscal 2018-19.
But, all banks could not implement the decision properly. On the other hand, the government has given incentives, including 5.5 percent CRR, to mitigate their liquidity crisis and bring the interest rate to single digit.
The government has also taken a decision to allow the state agencies to deposit 50 percent of their funds instead of 25 percent in private banks.

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