Nine banks faced net losses in the first quarter of this year as the majority of them have been in the red for years due to wide-ranging financial scams.
The banks are Bangladesh Krishi, BASIC, Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan, Padma, Bangladesh Commerce, Meghna, Bangladesh Development, ICB Islamic and NRB, data from Bangladesh Bank showed.
Of the lenders, Bangladesh Krishi Bank faced the highest amount of net loss amounting to Tk 774 crore in the first three months of this year.
The specialised development bank also incurred a net loss of Tk 533 crore last year.
This has given an indication that the net loss in the bank may increase to a large extent this year compared to the previous year.
An official of the lender said that it had been facing a large volume of default loans since 2012, when it gave out funds to the non-farm sector in a breach of banking norms.
"The bank's loan recovery trend from the farm sector is good, but a large amount of fund has been stuck in the non-farm sector, which made it a loss-making lender," he added.
BASIC Bank suffered the second highest amount of net loss in the banking sector.
Between January and March, the lender's net loss stood at Tk 130 crore.
Md Anisur Rahman, managing director of BASIC Bank, said that 60 per cent of the total loans given out had turned into non-performing loans.
As much as 90 per cent of the defaulted loans, which were disbursed between 2009 and 2013, are uncollectible, Rahman said.
At least Tk 4,500 crore was swindled out of the bank, where a number of senior officials and board members including the then BASIC Bank Chairman Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu were allegedly involved.
The bank also mobilised long-term deposits during the period at a high interest rate, which has now become a burden for the bank.
He went on to express hope that the bank would pull out of its dire straits within the next one or two years as it has taken different measures to make the lender profitable once again.
Padma Bank faced a net loss of Tk 89.84 crore in the first quarter.
Md Ehsan Khasru, managing director of Padma Bank, said the net loss of the bank would lessen in the future as it had taken a plan to turn the bank profitable by 2023.
Padma Bank, which was renamed from The Farmers Bank to wipe out its legacy of corruption, incurred a net loss of Tk 151 crore last year.
Meghna Bank also faced a net loss of Tk 23 crore.
Sohail RK Hussain, managing director of the bank, said that it had set aside a good amount of provision, which had created the situation.
"The net loss will not continue for long and we will surely enjoy profits at the final quarter of this year," he said.
The banking sector, however, registered a collective net profit of Tk 1,356 crore in the first quarter as the majority of banks performed better despite the pandemic during the period.
Standard Chartered Bank has showed the best performance in the first quarter by way of logging a net profit of Tk 188 crore.
Six other banks – Eastern, Jamuna, Bank Asia, Southeast, Brac and Prime – also registered more than Tk 100 crore net profits during the period.