AB Bank has completed the acquisition of Cashlink Bangladesh Limited (CBL), a move that is set to strengthen the bank's position in alternative delivery channels including automated teller machine (ATM) networks.
CBL, which has a paid-up capital of Tk 22.68 crore, provides integrated electronic financial payment and transaction processing solutions in Bangladesh.
Initiated by AB Bank in 2005, CBL was co-owned by Euronet Worldwide Inc, Networld Bangladesh, Southeast Bank and United Commercial Bank. The bank started off with 30 percent stakes in CBL but by 2011, it owned all shares but the 10 percent held by Euronet Worldwide.
The central bank last week gave the nod to AB Bank to buy the remaining 10 percent shares to make CBL a 100 percent-owned company of the bank.
Initially, CBL will help the bank expand its ATM network and services, Shamim Ahmed Chaudhury, president and managing director of AB Bank, told The Daily Star.
There were controversies in offloading shares of CBL among different banks in 2008-09. AB wanted other banks to join the CBL with majority shares in its hand. But the central bank did not allow the proposal and asked AB to distribute shares equally or own the company fully.
It prompted Al-Arafah Islami and state-owned Agrani to pull back from the CBL deal.
So, CBL's plan to set up 505 ATMs across the country in the next three years since 2008 had failed to see light.
“Now we can go fast with our plan to install more ATMs, point-of-sales or POS terminals and electronic banking solutions to serve our customers,” said a senior official of AB Bank's IT department.
Though AB Bank is the country's first private commercial bank, it lags in alternative delivery channels compared to many second generation private commercial banks.
Dutch-Bangla Bank alone has over 3,000 ATMs across the country, while AB Bank has only 222 ATMs.