Don’t go for pay, job cuts: BB to bank CEOs, MDs
The adult has finally entered the room.
Earlier this week, like a bolt from the blue, an extraordinary notice from the Bangladesh Association of Banks (BAB), a forum of bank sponsors, instructing lenders to cut the salaries of staff who draw a gross salary of more than Tk 40,000 monthly by 15 per cent, knocked the stuffing out of bankers all over the country.
With the view to tackling the dent in revenue brought on by the pandemic, the BAB recommended banks to go for the pay cut for the period of July 1 this year through to December 31, 2021 as well as suspend promotion, increment and incentive bonus and put a freeze on all sorts of hiring including ongoing hiring.
But now, the Bangladesh Bank (BB) has stepped in and implicitly asked banks' chief executive officers and managing directors to ignore the BAB notice.
In a notice yesterday, the BB asked banks' chief executives to take 'all required measures' such that the bankers feel regenerated and play a proactive role in implementing the government-announced Tk 103,000 crore stimulus package for revival of the coronavirus-battered economy.
"The role of bankers and staffs to keep the wheels of the economy rolling is undeniable during this hard time of the country. It will not be possible to make a turnaround of the economy and attain the desired goal of GDP without the active participation of bankers and employees," the central bank said in the notice.
In its notice yesterday, the BB did not mention the salary cut issue but asked the bank chief executives for taking all sorts of initiatives so that bankers and employees, infused with a new life, can play the role of front liners in executing the stimulus packages.
"We have issued the directive so that banks do not take any step like salary cuts or job cuts, which would make bankers morally weak," said a senior central banker seeking to remain unnamed.
Over the last three months, since the country's first confirmed cases of COVID-19 were announced and the subsequent shutdown to slow the spread of the rogue virus, the government announced various incentive packages to take the businesses and the economy out of the wreckage caused by the two-and-a-half month-long countrywide shutdown and waned domestic and global demand.
The BB said banks will use of their own funds to provide working capital support of Tk 20,000 crore to the affected cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises, and Tk 30,000 crore to industries and service sectors.
The government will bear a portion of the interest of the funds.
Most of the packages announced by the government are being implemented by banks. As such, bankers are required to have adequate knowledge of the packages.
It is also urgent to include officials of branches and head office for implementation of the packages.
The BB asked banks to open help desks at every branch so that the affected businesses get finance in the least possible time.