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National Bank under provision deficit and intense financial crisis

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Private Commercial National Bank has been suffering from severe financial crisis for two years. The bank is now planning to raise 100 million dollars or 1000 crores of funds from foreign sources through foreign bond issue to fulfill the regulatory capital requirements.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Bank is planning to appoint an administrator to the bank, which is facing a provision deficit and financial crisis.

According to the data of Bangladesh Bank, the bank’s capital deficit at the end of June this year stood at Tk 300 crore and due to high non-performing loans, the bank also faced a huge provision deficit of Tk 7,115 crore in June. Provisions are funds set aside by banks to compensate for future losses.

According to information published on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) website on Sunday, the board of directors of the bank has decided to issue seven-year bonds worth $100 million in foreign currency subject to the approval of regulatory authorities.

National Bank will be the first private bank to issue foreign currency bonds to raise funds from foreign investors.

Managing Director of the bank. Mehmood Husain, when contacted, said the fund had to be raised due to high non-performing loans eroding the bank’s capital.

Mehmood Husain said that they are trying to collect funds from US and UK-based investors. Foreign funds are not just banks; He commented that it will be good for the country.

The board of directors of the bank has approved the foreign currency bond as we have received preliminary assurances from the foreign investors after informing them about the high non-performing loans and the current financial situation, he said. The main reason behind the investment by foreign investors is that the bank’s asset base is quite strong.

He said that he wants to reorganize the bank’s business strategy by focusing on the SME sector to get out of the dependence on corporate loans.

As part of this, the bank plans to strengthen its capital by raising funds from domestic and foreign sources. Earlier in May, the bank announced to raise Tk 500 crore from domestic sources by issuing subordinated bonds to meet regulatory capital requirements.

National Bank’s capital adequacy ratio (CAR) for risk-weighted credit exposure stood at 9.38pc in June, which is required to be at least 10pc as per the regulatory body’s conditions.

According to Bangladesh Bank, the bank’s capital deficit at the end of June this year stood at Tk 300 crore. Increasing defaults due to huge loan non-conformities squeeze the bank’s capital.

The bank’s non-performing loan ratio stood at 23.24pc in June, the second highest among private sector banks. The bank also faced a huge provision deficit of Tk 7,115 crore in June as a result of high non-performing loans.

Provisions are funds set aside by banks to compensate for future losses. High NPLs require banks to maintain higher provisioning, which is collected from profits.

A growing provisioning deficit erodes banks’ capital which constricts banks’ ability to lend, putting public money at risk.

The bank posted a loss of Tk 190 crore in the first six months of this year under the pressure of growing provision deficit and capital loss.

Even after Bangladesh Bank appointed an observer to the board of directors of the bank in 2014, the financial condition of the National Bank has been deteriorating for the past two years. The bank’s share price on DSE has remained below the face value of Tk 10 for the last two years due to deteriorating financial indicators.

Bangladesh Bank identified the bank as one of the 10 weakest banks after new governor Abdur Rauf Talukder took charge. In a recent press conference, the governor said about identifying 10 weak banks, the central bank will sit with them one-on-one to improve the condition of the banks.

Banks are classified on the basis of their capital shortfall, NPL ratio, provisioning and loan-deposit ratio.

The governor has already held a meeting with the owners and top management on the financial performance of the National Bank. The central bank is now planning to appoint an administrator to the bank, a Bangladesh Bank source said.

Bangladesh Bank suspended the loan operations of the bank in May last year in the context of liquidity crisis caused by huge loan irregularities.

The moratorium was later lifted in December when liquidity conditions improved. But even after the long moratorium, the central bank was forced to go into moratorium again in May this year due to the continued irregularities in the bank loans. However, this time Bangladesh Bank limited the credit sector by giving a partial suspension.

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Digital Media Workshop in PR Department Observed

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Digital Media Workshop

In Dhaka, a workshop titled ‘The Role of Digital Media in the Department of Public Relations’ was organized by the Digital Media Forum, hosted by the renowned University. The event featured a workshop, certificate distribution, and a panel discussion.

On Friday, March 1, at 2:00 PM, the workshop was organized at R C Majumdar Auditorium, Kola Bhaban, Dhaka University. The Private University Public Relations Officers Association-PUPROA collaborated as event co-organizers.

The chief guest at the event was Jafar Wajed, the Director-General of the Press Institute of Bangladesh. Despite his absence at the workshop, he conveyed his congratulations to the organization for its success through a message. In his message, he extended appreciation to all the guests, participants, officials from the Department of Public Relations of various private universities, and sponsoring organizations.

Special guests at the event included Dr. Mizanur Rahman, former Vice-Chancellor of Jagannath University, and Professor Robaet Ferdous, from the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism at Dhaka University.

Distinguished journalists and media personalities graced the event as guests of honor, including Syed Ishtiaque Reza, CEO of Global TV, Lutfor Rahman Himel, Editor of Daily Swadesh Protidin, Rajeeb Khan, Digital Head of Channel 24, Ruhul Amin Roni, Senior Manager (Lead) Business Development at Prothom Alo, Saroj Mehedi, Lecturer in the Journalism Department at Green University, Nahid Jahan, Head of Media at Pran RFL Group, Mobarak Apu, Business and Growth Lead at Adfinix, Zakaria Hossen Joy, Assistant General Manager at NewsBangla, and Benjir Abrar, CEO of Excellence Bangladesh, among many others.

The workshop had various sponsors, including Qcoom as the title sponsor, G and M Gadget and Mobile Care as the gadget partner, Tenision as the gold sponsor, Texort as the IT partner, Nutriplus as the nutrition partner, Studio Velvet as the content production partner, Limerence Creations as the creative partner, and co-sponsored by The Premium Homes Limited and WeSellBD. The knowledge partner for the workshop was JCI Dhaka West.

The workshop consisted of five sessions led by experienced professionals in the media and corporate sector of the country. Abdul Wadud, the Business Lead at Purple Patch, took the lead in facilitating the workshop. He delivered his presentation using a projector, showcasing various informative content. Wadud emphasized the crucial role of the Public Relations Department, likening it to a mirror for an organization. According to him, the department’s proficiency directly influences the organization’s progress, and there’s no alternative to skillfulness.

In the second session, Tithi Chowdhury, the Client Partner Lead at Meta Aleph Lead, shared insights into social media usage. He stressed the importance of understanding social media dynamics to effectively utilize the platform. Chowdhury highlighted the need to know which medium can rapidly deliver the message to the audience, aligning advertising strategies accordingly. He emphasized that mastering such technical aspects, including data analysis, is essential. Throughout his presentation, he used slides to convey information and conducted training on data-related topics.

During the workshop, Md. Faruk Khan, the founder of Khan IT, shared his insights, stating, “The organization of this event on digital media is highly relevant. It will help everyone develop a clear understanding of digital media usage. By becoming proficient, we can ensure the perpetual relevance of such events.”

He further emphasized the significance of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) marketing for businesses of any scale, saying, “For small or large businesses, SEO marketing is crucial. It works to create your business brand, which is the primary goal in this era of digital marketing.”

Palash Mahmud, the Head of the Online Department at Daily Kalbela, delivered the fourth session’s speech at the workshop. Expressing the importance of self-promotion, he mentioned, “Everyone wants to promote themselves. However, the key is how effective your promotion is. Traditional ways won’t make a lasting impact. You need to think differently to catch people’s attention. It requires thoughtful consideration and visible results.”

Rajeeb Khan, the Digital Head of Channel 24, expressed his thoughts during the event, stating, “The progress of the Digital Media Forum in a short period is remarkable. The workshop on ‘The Role of Digital Media in the Department of Public Relations’ was a precursor to such initiatives. These events will bridge the gap between media and university, creating a strong connection.”

Ruhul Amin Roni, Senior Manager (Lead) Business Development at Prothom Alo, shared his thoughts during the workshop. He mentioned, “The workshop on ‘The Role of Digital Media in the Department of Public Relations’ is a well-organized initiative. Such workshops are crucial in the present time. The more the professionals in the Public Relations Department of universities know about digital media, the more adept they will become in utilizing this medium.”

Lutfor Rahman Himel, Editor of Daily Swadesh Protidin, expressed his sentiments, saying, “There’s no end to learning. As days go by, the thirst for knowledge increases. If you’re not updated, even if you’re young, you’ll fall behind. I hope such educational workshops by the Digital Media Forum continue.”

At the beginning of the workshop, Abu Sadat, the General Editor of Private University Public Relations Officers Association (PUPROA), offered an introductory speech. He extended his greetings to all the guests and participants in the workshop, expressing gratitude to the sponsoring organizations.

Sadat emphasized the significance of adapting to the digital era, stating, “The current era has become smart by embracing digitalization. If we cannot keep up with the pace of time, we will be left behind. Hence, the organization of this workshop by the Digital Media Forum and the Private University Public Relations Officers Association is a timely initiative. Such initiatives will propel us forward towards building a smart Bangladesh.”

Syed Ishtiaque Reza, the CEO of Global TV and a prominent journalist, highlighted the challenges faced by those in public relations, emphasizing the importance of crisis management in the digital media age. He encouraged participants to understand and effectively utilize digital media for creating a positive organizational image.

At this moment, Professor Robaet Ferdous, in his special address, expressed the tremendous success of the Digital Media Forum’s workshop. He emphasized the bridging of gaps between universities and media through the collaboration of the Public Relations departments. Professor Ferdous urged the organizers and collaborators to continue conducting such workshops.

As the main guest, former Vice-Chancellor and current Professor Dr. Mizanur Rahman of Jagannath University, delivered the keynote address in the absence of the chief guest, Jafar Wazed, the Director-General of the Press Institute of Bangladesh. He extended his greetings to the workshop participants and the staff of the Public Relations departments of various universities.

Dr. Mizanur Rahman stated, “Differentiation is essential; otherwise, one might go unnoticed. Without uniqueness, one is lost in the crowd. With the abundance of content on platforms like YouTube and Facebook, why would people choose to watch yours? People will seek what sets you apart. In a market with 75 brands, if yours is number 76, there is no gain – you will lose.”

The professor further emphasized, “Language is not a barrier; what’s crucial is distinctiveness and quality. Only then will your brand stand out. The more updated you are, the more value your brand gains in the market. You cannot afford to lag behind.” He supported his point with various examples and congratulated the success of the Digital Media Forum’s workshop.

The President of DMF, Delowar Hossain, expressed gratitude and appreciation to everyone present. He highlighted the research and exploration conducted by DMF in the digital sector since its establishment. Delowar mentioned the importance of such workshops in providing training to experts in the sector, ensuring continuous efforts in organizing similar events. He acknowledged that due to time constraints, they couldn’t allocate sufficient time to many distinguished guests, expressing regret. Delowar recognized the potential of today’s workshop to contribute to the vision of a Digital Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

He thanked the co-organizer, Private University Public Relations Officers Association (PUPROA), and expressed gratitude to the sponsors. Delowar urged everyone to maintain such collaborative efforts for the development of a Smart Bangladesh.

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Phoenix Insurance Hosts Successful Branch Manager’s Conference

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Phoenix Insurance Co. Ltd. recently conducted its Branch Manager’s conference in Dhaka, featuring the esteemed presence of the company’s Chairman, Mohammed Shoeb. The conference commenced with Shoeb inaugurating the event and acknowledging the outstanding performance of Branch Managers and other officers, rewarding them for their excellence.

During his inaugural speech, Chairman Mohammed Shoeb expressed contentment with the company’s performance over the past year. He extended gratitude to the Branch Managers and the entire management team for contributing to the steady growth of Phoenix Insurance Co. Ltd. Managing Director and CEO, Md. Jamirul Islam emphasized the importance of continued dedication to the company’s development in his address.

The event also saw the participation of Vice Chairman Manzoorul Haque, Independent Directors Javed Hosein and Iftakharul Islam, Advisor Lieutenant General (Rtd.) Sajjadul Haque, Consultants AFQM Serajul Islam and Md. Manirul Islam, Addl. MD & Company Secretary Md. Rafiqur Rahman, and other executives, all of whom shared insights and perspectives during the occasion. Branch Managers and Senior Executives from the Head Office were also in attendance.

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Daraz Set to Cut 500 Jobs This Week: sources

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Daraz Bangladesh is set to lay off over 500 employees this week, representing at least a 35% headcount reduction, according to company sources.

The e-commerce platform, while not officially disclosing the number at a town hall meeting, released a statement on its website. James Dong, the Group CEO, stated, “Reluctantly, we will bid farewell to many valued members of the Daraz family.” The decision was attributed to the need for a more streamlined and agile structure, with the company struggling to meet financial targets despite efforts to manage costs and improve operational efficiency over the past couple of years.

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