Newly elected ABB Chairman Ali Reza Iftekhar has set his sights on recovering the image of the country’s banking sector by way of enhancing the capacity of lenders’ executives.
“The ABB will lay emphasis on ensuring corporate governance and bringing down default loans in banks in tandem,” he told The Daily Star after he was elected as the chairman of the organisation at its 22nd annual general meeting for the next two years.
Iftekhar would be succeeding Syed Mahbubur Rahman, managing director of Mutual Trust Bank.
The Association of Bankers, Bangladesh (ABB) is a forum of managing directors of Bangladesh’s scheduled banks. The forum is dedicated to protecting the interest of both banks and customers by exchanging views with regulatory bodies and other related organisations. The banking sector is going through a challenging period of late.
“This has eroded the lenders’ image slightly. Recovering the image is my main task within the next two years,” said Iftekhar, also the managing director of Eastern Bank.
The ABB will take initiative to discuss with the central bank about the rules and regulations that are not time-befitting. It will pursue the central bank to revise them.
“All types of rules and regulations should be drawn up in order to ensure the interest of both clients and banks,” said Iftekhar, who previously served as ABB’s chairman in 2014-15.
The ABB will sit with business chambers on a regular basis to learn about their needs.
Chambers’ leaders should also understand how banks are struggling, he said.
“Both chamber leaders and banks are doing business. And such meetings will help reduce the distance between the two.”
The ABB will also arrange seminars, where renowned economists and bankers from both home and abroad will be invited.
Such initiatives will help increase the skill of banks’ executives and play a role in improving corporate governance in the banking sector, said Iftekhar, who has a banking career spanning 34 years.
About the upward trend of default loans in the banking sector, he said that the delinquent loans will decrease automatically when banks follow corporate governance properly.
“The ABB will prevent defaulters from enjoying fresh loans as it gives a wrong signal to people about banks,” he added.
The ABB has also elected Haider Ali, MD of Exim Bank, Mehmood Hossain, MD of NRB Bank, and Ataur Rahman Prodhan, MD of Sonali Bank, as vice chairmen, while Rahel Ahmed, MD of Prime Bank, will serve as its secretary.