Cash-strapped SCBs depend on call money marketAKM Zamir Uddin
The state-owned commercial banks continued to borrow from the call money market in the first three months of the current year as they are facing acute liquidity crisis, said Bangladesh Bank officials.
An official of the debt management department of the central bank told New Age that private and foreign commercial banks and non-bank financial institutions had reduced their dependency on the call money market from the beginning of this year, but the SCBs continued borrowing from the market.
Call money market is an inter-bank trading system where banks and NBFIs borrow or lend money for a short term.
Among all the commercial banks and the NBFIs, Agrani Bank topped the list of borrowers by taking Tk 31,130 crore from the call money market from January 1 to March 28, BB data showed.
The bank lent only Tk 10 crore through the call money market in the period.
Agrani Bank was also the highest borrower in 2011 by borrowing Tk 1,56,825 crore. The bank borrowed Tk 16,859 crore in 2010.
Sonali Bank was the second highest borrower till March 28 this year. The bank borrowed Tk 28,885 crore and lent Tk 3,461 crore in the period.
In the same period, Janata Bank borrowed Tk 11,666 crore and lent Tk 20,515 crore.
BB data showed Janata Bank had lent a significant amount of money to the call money market in January and in the first week of February, but after the period the bank borrowed around Tk 400 crore a day till March 28.
Rupali Bank was comparatively better in terms of borrowing from the call money market. The bank borrowed only Tk 140 crore and lent Tk 6,194 crore in the period.
According to BB data, the country’s banks and the NBFIs had transacted a total of Tk 2,89,605.70 crore on the call money market from January to March 28.
The call money rate — the interest rate at which a bank or an NBFI gives short-term loan to other banks and NBFIs — fluctuated between 12 per cent and 14 per cent in last week, BB data showed.
The market saw a high interest rate —20 per cent to 22 per cent — in November and December last year.
The BB official said most of the SCBs were now grappling with a severe liquidity shortage because of high government borrowings from the banking source.
He said the government had been borrowing for bulk import of fuel oil to run the costly rental power plants and to meet its day to day expenses.
‘Besides, the government is in a tight position because of low disbursement of foreign loans and grants,’ he said.
Syed Abdul Hamid, managing director and chief executive officer of Agrani Bank, told New Age on Saturday, ‘We have been lending a big amount of money to the state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation to import fuel.’
But the government was paying Agrani Bank in bonds against the BPC lending and the payments in bonds reached to Tk 1,370 crore, he said.
The bank also had recently lent Tk 680 crore to the government to run the state-owned jute mills those were shut down before, he said.
But the government also paid the bank in bonds against the lending, he said.
The Agrani Bank MD said his bank had been buying government bonds every week at lower deposit rate as the bank was one of the fifteen primary dealers of the government bonds.
‘Under these circumstances, we are under a liquidity pressure and are borrowing from the call money market everyday,’ he added.
Another BB official said the clients of the SCBs might lose their confidence on the banks because of their heavy borrowing from the call money market.
If the situation does not improve, the clients may withdraw their money from the banks in near future, he said.
He said the SCBs had already been facing a crisis for a year for low deposit collection from clients.
He said a double-digit inflation had persisted for most of the months in 2011 and it had hit the overall deposit condition in the banks.
A large number of clients could not deposit money in banks because of the high inflation, the official said.
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