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Thursday, April 16, 2009

PCBs decide to slash lending, deposit rates

The Fianancial Express

The country's private commercial banks (PCBs) will implement the 13 per cent interest ceiling on lending in five specific areas and slash the interest rate on deposits.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Association of Bankers Bangladesh (ABB), held at Dhaka Club Wednesday with its Chairman K Mahmood Sattar in the chair.

"We're waiting for the central bank's circular in this connection," the ABB chairman told the FE, adding that the PCBs will cut their interest rates on deposit after receiving the circular.

The meeting discussed the overall interest rates on deposit position and decided to slash for bringing down the interest rates on lending in line with the central bank's advice, the ABB members said.

On April 7 last, the commercial banks agreed to a Bangladesh Bank (BB) proposal not to charge more than 13 per cent interest on lending in the areas to help mitigate the impact of the ongoing global economic meltdown.

At the same meeting, the central bank has also decided to allow rescheduling of loans to four affected export-oriented sectors without any down payment until September 30 this year.

"We've discussed the range of interest rates on deposit to 9-11 per cent from the existing maximum 13.50 per cent that would help us to implement the BB's advice properly," a chief executive officer (CEO) of a PCB, who also attended the ABB meeting.

In March last, the commercial banks offered interests in the range between 5.25 per cent and 13.50 per cent on fixed deposit schemes, while the rates for saving accounts varies between 2.50 per cent and 8.00 per cent, according to the central bank statistics.

The CEO said the ABB will take final decision Sunday next on re-fixing of the interest rates on deposits that will be followed by all PCBs after receiving the central bank's circular in this connection.

On April 9 last, four state-owned commercial banks (SCBs) have decided to implement the 13 per cent interest ceiling on lending in five specific areas without slashing the interest rate on deposits.

The five specific areas are agriculture, term loans, working capital, housing and trade financing while the four affected sectors are textile, frozen food, jute and leather, which the central bank has identified for allowing relaxation of rules on loan rescheduling on the basis of bank-client relationship.

"We'll issue a circular relating to relax the rules on loan rescheduling soon," a BB senior official told the FE, adding that the central bank relaxed the existing loan rescheduling rules as a policy support for the four sectors.



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