Deposits through agent banking almost doubled to Tk 20,379 crore in fiscal year 2020-21 as people opted for alternatives to traditional banking during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Bangladesh Bank (BB), deposits of agent banking stood at Tk 20,379 crore in the FY21, up by 99.4 per cent. It was Tk 10,159 crore in the previous FY.
Banks provide different types of financial services such as cash deposits, withdrawals, remittance disbursement, small size loan disbursement and recovery of the loans through agent banking window.
On the other hand, loan disbursement through agent banking outlets sharply rose to Tk 3,186 crore in FY21 from Tk 721 crore in the previous FY.
There are 28 banks operating agent banking across the country with 17,145 outlets and 12,912 agents.
At the end FY21, there were 1.22 crore agent banking accounts, of which women hold 56.75 lakh.
“As people preferred to bank at agent outlets to avoid gathering amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the deposits rose sharply in the last FY,” Sirajul Islam, executive director and spokesperson of BB, told The Business Post.
On the other hand, banks extend services to people in remote areas through agent banking, bringing many people under financial inclusion. As a result, deposits through agent banking accounts increased sharply, said Islam.
Till June 2021, top five banks held 87.33 per cent share of the total amount of deposits mobilised through agent banking.
Islami Bank Bangladesh (IBBL) has mobilised the highest amount of deposits through agent banking which is 33.67 per cent of the total volume amounting to Tk 6,861.11 crore.
Bank Asia mobilised 15.10 per cent. The other top three banks are Dutch-Bangla Bank, Al-Arafah Islami Bank and Agrani Bank.
On the other hand, top five banks disbursed 99.28 per cent of the total loan disbursed through agent banking till June 2021.
BRAC Bank disbursed the largest volume of loans amounting to Tk 1,998.57 crore, 62.72 per cent, followed by Bank Asia (19.60 per cent), The City Bank (10.92 per cent), Al-Arafah Islami Bank (3.44 per cent) and Dutch-Bangla Bank (2.60 per cent).
The BB report said top five Banks opened 90.61 per cent of the total accounts through agent banking as of June 2021. Bank Asia has opened the highest number of 43.75 lakh accounts or 35.84 per cent of the total.