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Pubali Bank lowers lending rate, launches SMS banking

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Pubali Bank Ltd (PBL) has reduced its interest rate on loan from 16.5 per cent to 15.0 per cent with the aim of helping increase investment and economic development in the country.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the bank Helal Ahmed Chowdhury formally announced the decision at a press conference at the bank’s head office here Tuesday.

The press conference was also attended, among others, by additional managing director of the bank MA Halim Chowdhury and deputy managing director Safiul Alam Khan Chowdhury.

Mr Chowdhury also launched ‘SMS banking’ at the press conference as part the bank’s commitment to rendering technology-driven services. “The SMS banking will allow the clienteles to receive different modern services in a safer manner,” he said.

The MD further disclosed that the bank launched real-time online banking in its all 427 branches across the country with its own software and manpower. “PBL became first bank to launch real-time online banking in such a large network.”

No charge will be imposed for the online banking services, he said.

He informed that the bank will open eight more branches within next December.

Regarding the lowering of interest rate, he said, “Based on the environmental and economic development sectors, loan size and quality of the customers, the matter of further lessening the interest rate is also under consideration.”

The interest on loan for agriculture, women entrepreneurs, packing credit (PC) and spices-like agricultural produce remains open at the rate of 13 per cent, 10 per cent, 7 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.

Apart from those, the bank is lending to the prime and good track-record customers at comparatively lower interest rates, he said.

Under the ‘SMS banking’, the PBL customers will get notifications of different services, including debit and credit transactions, online transactions, loan approval and distribution, the opening of LC (letter of credit) and payments, monthly balance, renewal of FDR, ATM and POS transactions and internet banking.

“With the SMS banking, relationship between the bank and its customers will be strengthened and the transaction risk be reduced,” the bank’s MD said.

The PBL officials will also receive various warning messages and facilities under the SMS banking.

To a query, Mr Helal Ahmed Chowdhury said that barriers in the areas of energy and infrastructure need to be solved to boost investment in the country and ease the excess liquidity problem.

The political uncertainty is yet to be removed fully, he noted.

In the next six months, investment in the country will increase markedly, he hoped, as the wait-and-see people might move to investment their money.

After Bangladesh Bank’s recent relaxation on loan rescheduling, he said now the big challenge is to control the non-performing loan (NPL), which is also a factor to reduce the interest rate. To deal with the challenge, all the banks are trying to recover their loans timely, he said.

If any weak loan was rescheduled under the BB’s relaxation guideline, it would be in the risk to be NPL, the MD said.

The bank has planned to launch cold storages in North Bengal. It is giving loan to rice mill and transportation sectors, facilitating smooth the supply channel of different agricultural products, he added.

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Source: Financial Express

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