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30/09/2011: Bangladesh Bank takes steps to spur green banking

Governor Dr Atiur Rahman said Bangladesh Bank has taken steps to encourage green banking in the country through the issuance of guidelines on green banking and Environmental Risk Management (ERM).

“The central bank introduced Tk 2.0 billion refinance line for financing solar energy, biogas and effluent treatment plant (ETP) at only 5 percent interest rate,” he said on Thursday while addressing the Global Policy Forum 2011 at the Riviera Maya of Mexico.

The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) arranged the event where more than 300 policymakers including governors and deputy governors from developed and emerging economies have gathered to share their experiences on financial inclusion in their countries, according to a message received here Friday.

Dr Atiur said steps have also been taken to set up solar power system at the rooftop of BB Head Office, encouraging banks and financial institutions in minimizing paper transactions and installing solar power system, opening up refinance line for solar energy, bio-gas and effluent treatment plant (ETP) at reduced interest rates.

He said the BB is actively encouraging engagement of banks, microfinance institutions and mobile phone and/or smart card IT platforms in partnerships innovating financial service delivery models responding to the diversity of existing and emerging new needs in the fast developing market.

“Receipt and delivery of inward remittances from workers abroad are now largely electronic, and the electronic mode has made large inroads also in payments of utility bills.”

The central bank governor said use of credit and debit cards for e-payment at vendor site POS terminals is spreading steadily. “Mobile phone and/or smart card based online purchases of goods and services are catching on in popularity, with growing hassles from traffic snarls and jams in physical visits to vendor outlets in cities.”

He said the BB engages banks and financial institutions into CSR activities leading to Tk 550 million and Tk 3,910 million CSR spending in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

Atiur informed that some 786 new bank branches have been opened across the country between March 2009 and March 2011. “A new bank called ‘Expatriate Welfare Bank’ has been opened targeting overseas jobseekers.”

Meanwhile, a five-year strategic plan has been chalked out to strengthen regulatory and supervisory capacity of Bangladesh Bank which will lead to a more dynamic, efficient and resilient financial system, he said.

The BB governor said the monetary policy has been made more participatory with extensive stakeholder consultations from the grassroots level up to the level of experienced professionals.

The Bangladesh Bank governor reached New York on Friday and he will meet Bangladeshi wage earners there before returning home on October 3.

Source: The Daily Star, Dhaka