The Farmers Bank has sent a rejoinder to The Daily Star report “Farmers Bank: Dramatic rise in loan default” published on December 21.
Following is the full text of the rejoinder signed by the bank's Managing Director Md Ehsan Khasru.
“To our utter astonishment, the report contains some erroneous figures regarding the bank's actual health, which we think has put the bank on a wrong light and has affected its valued customers at the time when the bank has been working smoothly to be a transparent and responsible financial institution.
“Instead of highlighting the bank's actual health and performance, we feel it will create instability of the bank in particular and the financial sector as a whole.
“The report claimed that Farmers Bank could not recover any of the loans it had disbursed and ticked them as classified and that it has failed to recover a single penny of its Tk 4,198 crore un-classified loans in April-June quarter. Also citing central bank figures, it claimed the bank could only make a meager recover of Tk 2 crore only.
“Our humble submission is that nothing is further from the truth. In fact, the bank has recovered a total of Tk 510 crore between January and December 20 this year. And during this period, it paid Tk 1,609 crore to its depositors and other claimants. In fact, the bank has paid Tk 1,000 crore of its own generated fund of its clients. And that money has come from our recovery and deposits.
“The Farmers Bank, you may already know, is in a reconstruction process. And as part of this reconstruction process the bank's new management is trying to know the actual health of the bank. Our recovery and payments would obviously highlight that we are on the correct trail. I don't know what the newspaper has achieved by giving some incorrect figures on the bank's actual information.
“It is true the bank has classified loans. But the classification does not mean that the money has already been lost. In fact, the money has been under the process of recovery.
“The report does not contain any authenticated figures of the bank such as deposits, payments, recovery and collection. We also humbly state that the reporter did not contact our managing director even though she claims so.”
“As a result, the report that was published in your esteemed daily gave a very distorted and narrow picture of the bank. Between January and December 20, this year  it's gross cash-flow stood at Tk 1,985 crore, reflecting its sound health in terms of its cash-flow, deposit movements and payments.”
“The reporter also claimed that bank has suspended lending operation as per the central bank instructions. Again, it was an utterly incorrect statement. There is no Bangladesh Bank instruction in this regard. Lending operation is part of the bank's own strategy and has nothing to do with the central bank,” said the statement.
The rejoinder did not contradict the points of recovery because our report covers the recovery of April-June quarter based on Bangladesh Bank's quarterly statement and the figures of December was not available with Bangladesh Bank that time.
The other figures related to deposits were collected from the Bangladesh Bank's statement. We spoke with the managing director of the bank on October 9 at 4:57pm and discussed the bank's health for 9.28 minutes.
We stand by our report.