Sonali Bank Limited
Sonali Bank Limited the largest state owned commercial bank of Bangladesh. It was established by taking over the branches of National Bank of Pakistan, Bank of Bawalpur and Premier Bank that were functioning in East Pakistan until 1971 and was nationalised under the bangladesh bank (Nationalisation) Order 1972. The bank has been converted to a public limited company with 100% ownership of the government and started functioning as Sonali Bank Limited (SBL) from 15 November 2007 taking over all assets, liabilities and business of Sonali Bank. After corporatisation, the management of the bank has been given required autonomy to make the bank competitive and to run its business effectively.
Sonali Bank Limited is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 13 members nominated by the government. The Bank is headed by the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director. CEO is assisted by 3 Deputy Managing Directors, 13 General Managers and other Senior Executives. The corporate headquarters of the bank is located at Motijheel, Dhaka, the main commercial centre of the capital. It has 6 GM level offices in 6 Divisions, 42 Principal and 39 Regional Offices at district level. Inside the country Sonali Bank Limited has two wage earners branch and 43 authorised dealers to conduct foreign exchange business. It has got an overseas banking transaction arrangement with 577 correspondents. In 1994, the bank established in New York a full-fledged subsidiary company of the name the Sonali Exchange Company Inc. to expand its participation in international banking. The Bangladeshis who working in USA send remittances through this company which is operated with its main office at Manhattan, New York city and branches/booths at Brooklyn, Astoria, Jackson Heights in New York, Peterson in New Jersey, Atlanta in Georgia, Detroit in Michigan and Los Angeles in California.
Table Basic facts and economic indicators (in million Taka).
|Paid up capital||3272||3272||5000||9000||9000||9000|
|(a) Call Deposits||61529||50500||79204||94372||111645||128088|
|(b) Term Deposits||190704||226579||223099||234617||242374||278024|
|Loans and Advance||168283||227010||241029||206348||231096||254022|
|Foreign Currency Trading||219131||272944||260745||253235||347042||263914|
|Total Branches (in numbers)||1186||1183||1183||1183||1181||1183|
|Loan Outstanding by Sector|
|Agriculture and Fisheries||20484||21373||21286||29090||21877||22579|
|Trade and Commerce||53607||93524||101317||78016||96005||105241|
Source Government of Bangladesh, Ministry of Finance, Banking and Financial Institution Division, Bank o Arthik Prothisthan Samuher Karjaboli [Annual Report on Banks and Financial Institutions], 2004-05 to 2009-10.
Besides, Sonali Bank (UK) Limited was established in the United Kingdom with joint ownership of Sonali Bank and the Government of Bangladesh in 2001. It is functioning through six branches in London, Luton, Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester and Camden. Remittances from Bangladeshi expatriates employed in Malaysia are being channeled through May Bank of Malaysia under an arrangement with Sonali Bank Limited. NRBs living in middle eastern countries are also dispatching their wage earnings through 44 exchange houses in business with SBL.
SBL has initiated appropriate arrangements in line with government directives to ensure the smooth and speedy disbursement of remitted money to the relatives and nominated persons of wage earners. The salient features of the arrangements are i) Disbursement of the remittance within eight to twenty four hours through 61 outlets with the aid of RMS Software; ii) Establishing one workstation for each exchange house /bank in the Wage Earners Corporate Branch; iii) Depositing the remittance at beneficiary's account instantly in 300 branches through IFRMS (Instant Financial and Reconciliation Messaging System); iv) Branches where IFRMS and RMS are not available there is an arrangement to transmit the remittance to the beneficiaries accounts by courier service; v) Complains related to remittance are resolved and confirmed immediately by three complaint cells at the Headquarters; vi) Three Representative offices (Kuwait, Jeddah and Riyadh) provide facilities and services for opening accounts in the Sonali Bank Limited, getting guarantee certificate against balance, investment in Wage Earners Bond, Premium Bond, Savings Certificates etc to the wage earners; vii) Observance of Remittance Service Fortnight every year; viii) Creating awareness among wage earners by media propaganda regarding the legal implications of financial crime like money laundering and hundi system and encouraging them to send remittances through proper banking channel and ix) Rewarding wage earners for remitting through proper channel.
Sonali Bank performs all traditional banking functions including deposit mobilisation and lending. The bank discharges the treasury functions as the agent of the Bangladesh Bank. It collects tax, stamp duty and registration fees, operates special savings accounts, pays salaries to the teachers of schools, madrasahas, and colleges and pension to retired government employees. The bank provides funding to some income generating and economic development projects namely, Poverty Alleviation Credit Programme, Female Special Credit Programme, and Agro-based Industrial Credit Programme in the rural areas. It has a large participation in foreign exchange business and off-balance sheet activities. At present, the bank has correspondent relationships with 380 foreign banks/bank offices throughout the world.
Sonali Bank monitors its work through a performance budget. It has a marketing intelligence unit and conducts a programme of human resources development through training and motivation. It introduced the Lending Risk Analysis suggested by the Financial Sector Reform Programme. Business policies of the bank in the 1990s included fulfilling capital adequacy requirement, mobilising deposits in large amounts, and making investments in more profitable ways. The bank diversified its activities in off-balance sheet items to expand its area of operations and increase non-interest based incomes.
A Comprehensive Management Plan for 2008-2012 has been adopted under Enterprises Growth and Bank Modernization Project funded by World Bank to introduce model banking system, to develop SBL into more profit earning institution and to prepare and implement rules and procedure for making it more functioning to meet the demand of the day. In 2006, SBL was awarded as The Best Retail Bank in Bangladesh on 12 June 2007 by the Asian Financial Journal The Asian Banker based in Singapore in recognition of its outstanding contribution in the banking sector. [Muhammad Abdul Mazid]