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10 June, 2019 01:10:03 AM

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GP, Robi set to begin agent banking with Bank Asia

TAREQUE MORETAZA, Dhaka
GP, Robi set to begin agent 
banking with Bank Asia

Bank Asia is set to begin agent banking service in partnership with the top two mobile phone operators, Grameenphone and Robi, once the bank gets approval from the Bangladesh Bank, bank sources said.

In March, both operators, which together control more than 75 per cent of the market share of mobile phone subscribers, received permission from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to this effect.

After the BTRC’s approval, Bank Asia wrote to the Bangladesh Bank, seeking its permission to begin the service and inform the central

bank about the BTRC’s decision. The Bangladesh Bank is yet to reply.

"We have informed the Bangladesh Bank that the BTRC has no objection to providing agent banking services in partnership with telecom operators.

Now the central bank will review the decision,” Assistant Vice-President of Bank Asia's Agent Banking Division, Majidul Haque, told The Independent.

When asked, one of the officials of the Bangladesh Bank told The Independent that the matter is in the sorting process. "We’ll make a decision quickly and hopefully it will be positive," he said.

A senior BTRC official said agent-banking is basically regulated by the Bangladesh Bank, but the telecom operators have applied to the commission as they are regulated by it.

According to officials of both Grameenphone and Robi, they have started the procedure to roll out the service, but the official work is yet to be completed. Sayed Talat Kamal, director and head of communications, Grameenphone, told The Independent: “We have received permission and hope to launch our agent-banking service at the earliest”.

Shahed Alam, head of regulatory and corporate affairs of Robi Axiata Limited, told The Independent: “We welcome this decision by the government. We believe it will significantly help raise the level of digital financial inclusion in the country. We will now be able to extend banking services to people even in the remotest parts of the country by using our nationwide telecom infrastructure. Using digital technology, we will be able to provide banking services to the people who are not being served by the conventional banking system at the moment.”

According to BB data, the number of accounts with agents increased to 2,456,982 at the end of 2018 from 1,214,367 in 2017. In 2018, the number of agents increased to 4,493 from 2,577 in 2017, while the number of bank agent outlets also increased to 6,933 from 4,157.

EA

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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