Bank Asia's net profits rose 34.74 percent to Tk 66 crore in the six months to June on the back of higher recovery of loans.
“We have tried to recover our loans, including non-performing loans,” said Md Mehmood Husain, managing director of Bank Asia.
The bank's non-performing loan stood at 6.07 percent as of June.
“We have predicted slow growth in investment, so we have invested in bond for higher returns,” Husain said.
Bank Asia offers 8.5-9 percent interests on deposits and charges a maximum of 15 percent on loans. The rate is 13-14 percent for SME loans.
“We have plans to open 8 to 10 branches every year.” The bank has so far opened 79 branches. “We are focusing on branchless banking as we are appointing agents.”
On behalf of the banks, the agents can transact cash, distribute remittance, gather information for bank accounts, accept loan applications, transact and recover loans and receive applications for credit and debit cards.
Bank agents can also receive utility bills and passport fees and distribute government assistance under social safety net programmes.
In May, the bank got approval from Bangladesh Bank to appoint 30 agents. “We have already appointed 23 agents and applied for 30 more,” he said.
Bank Asia has launched a mobile financial service—Hello—to serve the unbanked population of the country, he said.
The bank has appointed 7,000 agents across the country for mobile financial services, he said. The bank plans to open 5 lakh accounts in the next five months, he said.