Dhaka: Recently government has accorded permissions to nine banks on political considerations.
Bangladesh Bank board of directors in last April finalised the list after scrutinizing from thirtynine applicants.
There is a debate from the very begining regarding the necessity of new banks, the process of permission and also giving permissions to the sponsors of government party only.Will the banks survive with all these debates from very begining?Jatiyo Sangsad member H.N. Ashiqur Rahman, who is also the chairman of the proposed Meghna Bank had talks with Banglanews recently. He was accompanied by another director Selim Ali Khan.
HN Ashiqur Rahman is also performing the responsibility of the treasurer of ruling Awami League central committee.He was elected from Rangpur-5 constituency. He talked to Sayeed Arman, senior economic correspondent of Banglanews at his Banani office for more than one and half hours on last Sunday.He also talked about his personal, family and political life beyond Meghna Bank.
Banglanews: You have received the letter of intent(LOI)in last April. You are to submit the business plan within October next to get the final license. How is your preparation?
Ashiqur Rahman: we are almost ready. We hope to submit our business plan within the stipulated time.We have primarily selected our board of directors with whom we will work. The appointments to the top posts of management have been finalised. So there will be no problem to submit the proposals.
Banglanews: You talked about board of directors, this is important. Whom you have selected?
Ashiqur Rahman: The board of directors is yet to be finalised. We want to work with suitable and honest people. But one thing is sure that those who will be with us must have a vision of building a prosperous Bangladesh. Legal money should have to be invested in the bank.
Banglanews: There is a question of making bank on getting permissions from political consideration. How the common depositors will get confidence, you think?
Ashiqur Rahman: It true that opening of new banks is a political decision. In any big entrepreneuring task of the country it needs political decisions. Same is the case here. But one thing is that those who got LOI, they got it after much scrutiny and analysis. There is no irregularity or violation of law. It may be be true that there were more fit applicants. But evrybody will not get license. Government will not allow so many banks. We like to earn the confidence of the people by giving service.
Banglanews: Would you please tell something about banking policy? Now-days many banks have been involved with unethical practices.
Ashiqur Rahman: We want to bring the deprived people of the country under banking coverage. So, we will set up corporate office in Rangpur. We like to involve the people of Northern Bengal with the mainstream of economy. We like to create young entreprenuers. We will be with them who will come forward with creative works. Another priority is that we will attach top importance to information technology. We like move in the style of western world. We have researched out that in regard to service we still lag behind by 20 to 25 years.
Banglanews: Why you are going to set up corporate office in Rangpur? Would you please explain it.
Ashiqur Rahman: We will maintain two systems here. One corporate office will give priority to the small and medium industries. The main office of this nature will be in Rangpur while the corporate head quarter will be at Dhaka. Because the executives will have to stay at for important works. For competition they will have to stay here.
Banglanews: At present there are 47 banks in the country. More nine are in the offing. What will be your strategy to be in competition?
Ashiqur Rahman: You have asked a good question. We will survive in the competition. We will survive by introducing new packages, providing quality sevices. So our slogan is ‘we sail together’ We will be with the customers, work as partner. We will have to march forward through competition. We will be providing banking services along with the pro-liberation people. Banking does not mean only business. We will work for the welfare and benefit of the people of the country. Not with the money-lender attitude but with enlightening them for upward rising.
Banglanews: would you tell something about monitoring of Bangladesh Bank.
Ashiqur Rahman: The commercial banks are going far from the basic banking system.
Bangladesh Bank should be more pro-active in supervising, monitoring, careful and tough.
Banglanews: Each bank shall have to be a branch in urban area and another in the rural area and no property can be purchased in their own name. How do you judge this decision of the Bangladesh Bank?
Ashiqur Rahman: I must welcome it. We will give importance to rural branch out of our own initiatives. We will work with them who are outside of the banking network. Further, regarding the acquaring of properties, I do agree. Recently the banks were acquaring wealth illegally. This will stop that tendency.
Banglanews: You will have to give loan to the government though not yet a primary dealer. What is your opinion regarding this matter?
Ashiqur Rahman: The new banks shall have to be kept out of this condition. We will take the deposits of the customers. It would be difficult at the very beginning. We must have to create opportunities for the common people.
Banglanews: please tell something about your personal life.
Ashiqur Rahman: In one sentence I will say it is very simple life. As I was born, I must die. But before that I like to do something. My family consists of wife Rehana Ashiq, two sons and a daughter. Eldest son resides in the USA. Younger son is in business in the country. Only daughter is studying in the USA.
Short life sketch of Ashiqur Rahman:
He was born in Rangpur in 1941. He was grown up in Jessore. He did graduation and post-graduation degrees in English from Rajshahi University. He started his profession as a teacher in Carmaechel College,Rangpur. Next he joined in Rajshahi University as teacher. He obtained post-graduation diploma in Social Studies from the Netherlands. In 1964 he became a member of the elite CSP after competing in the Central Superior Services Examination. He served as the Deputy Commissioner of Tangail and Comilla. Next in 1979 he voluntarily left the government service.
BDST: 0944 HRS, AUG 15, 2012
Translated & Edited by Shahjahan
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