Proper planning is essential right at the beginning for achieving the goal of any organization; so keeping this in aim, the RAKUB management has undertaken a number of strategies and action-plans to achieve new targets of the bank, said Manjur Ahmed, Managing Director, Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank, in an exclusive interview with The Guardian.
In this context, he informed that the bank management has already formulated annual plan by arranging conferences in Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions separately, where all officers and employees attended. He then added that this was done with a view to motivate all concerned to fulfil the various targets of the bank.
The Managing Director believes that every officer and staff of the bank will discharge his/her duties and responsibilities with transparency, honesty and utmost sincerity for achieving all the business targets to make the RAKUB a profit-earning bank in the country.
In an exclusive interview, he replied to several questions, focusing on the different aspects, problems, potentials, successes of RAKUB, especially highlighting the strategies and action-plans currently taken for achieving the new targets of RAKUB. His deliberations are quite interesting and highly informative also. The excerpts of his valuable interview are presented here for The Guardian readers at home and abroad:
The Guardian: Recently you have joined RAKUB as Managing Director and it is learnt that you also worked as General Manager with this bank in 2005. Would you tell us how much RAKUB has achieved progress during this period?
Managing Director: I have joined Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank (RAKUB) very recently as its Managing Director. Prior to this assignment I discharged my duties as Deputy Managing Director at Bangladesh Krishi Bank (BKB). Rightly you have mentioned that I served as General Manager of RAKUB previously from 05.10.2005 to 19.11.2006 and during that tenure I had to discharge the responsibility of Managing Director as additional charge from 20.11.2006 to 16.04.2007. During that period the total loan outstanding was Tk. 2590.64 crore, total deposit Tk. 1378.92 crore and the number of branches was 364. At that time we were able to bring an organogram approved by the government. and on that basis many employees were promoted.
The activities of the Head Office at that time run from a rented house at Kazihata. The foundation stone of the new Head Office here had also been laid down at that time. Now the scenario has been changed. Due to increase of the activities of the bank the total loan stands at Tk.4455.78 crore and total deposit at Tk.3046.85 crore, whereas the number of branches increased to 376. Many new sectors have added to our loan portfolio. It is a pleasure for me to see the Head Office of RAKUB had already been transferred to the newly constructed building and all the activities of the Head Office is conducted from here. The upward extension work of the building is going on.
New organogram consisting 5987 workforces have been approved by the government. A huge number of employees have been promoted while recruitment work is also going on keeping in mind the most important CBS program. So it is said that RAKUB has made tremendous progress during the last couple of years.
The Guardian: In the recent past, the RAKUB management has formulated Annual working plan for 2014-2015 for making RAKUB a self-reliant and profit earning organization. How do you evaluate it?
Managing Director: The bank management has undertaken a strategic plan for the financial year 2014-2015 incorporating RAKUB’s dream, goal and objectives for turning it into a profit making and self-reliant bank . The plan has fixed the target of Tk. 753 crore for deposit mobilization, Tk.1600 crore for loan disbursement and Tk.1800 crore for total loan recovery that includes Tk. 700 crore from classified loan and thereby bringing the rate of classified loan below 25%.
At the same time it also emphasizes on the strengthening of administrative and financial discipline; making self-reliant fund management, ensuring the proper utilization of information and communication technology, ensuring monitoring, supervision, review and establishing accountability, ensuring high quality customer services of the bank and maintaining close liaison with the local administration.
Proper planning is essential right at the beginning for achieving the goal of any organization. The bank management has formulated annual plan by arranging conferences in Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions separately, where all officers and employees attended. This was done with a view to motivate all concerned to fulfil the various targets of the bank. I believe every employee of this bank will discharge his/her duties and responsibilities with transparency, honesty and utmost sincerity for achieving all the business targets to make the bank profit-oriented.
The Guardian: What are the main obstacles of RAKUB you have identified? What is your plan to overcome these obstacles?
Managing Director: After joining I critically examined the overall position of the bank. I noticed some obstacles. These are-
Volume of classified loan is an obstacle to profitability.
Lack of automation of all branches and offices resulting lagging behind in the competition in the banking sector.
Shortage of manpower hampering the normal activities of the bank.
Dependency on refinance facility provided by Bangladesh Bank vis-à-vis weak deposit base.
As remedies we have undertaken the steps as follows:
All efforts have been taken for reducing the classified loan. Instructions have been given to the branches for serving all types of required notices to the defaulters/ probable defaulters to repay the loan. For intensifying the recovery of classified loan branches have been advised to prepare separate list of top-50 defaulters and contact them individually, to prepare the list of borrowers properly for ensuring the loan before it gets classified, to arrange recovery camp in different occasions like Shuvo Halkhata, Modhumela, Nobanno Mela etc. Special effort is given to recover at least 20% from write-off loan. Directives have also been given to the branches for taking legal actions against willful defaulters and also establishing close relationship to the local civil and police administration. At the same time supervision and monitoring system of the Head Office have been further strengthened.
RAKUB started functioning with a number of 3,706 employees in 1987 for its the then 253 branches. The number of branches has been increased up to 376 whereas the number of employees reduced to 3,508. A number of 114 branches increased in 28 years and at the same time the variety of works added to our core activities but number of manpower decreased noticeably. With the combined efforts of the Board of Directors and Bank Management we obtained approval from the concern ministry for recruitment of manpower for RAKUB. About one thousand and seven hundred employees in various positions will be recruited in three phases in the coming three years. Currently the recruitment of a number of 566 employees of the first phase is going on and it is expected to be completed within December 2014. The recruitment procedure of second and third phase will start in 2015 and 2016 respectively. This will help somewhat for overcoming the shortage of manpower.
The vision of the present government is to establish Bangladesh as a Digital Bangladesh. RAKUB has also been taken steps for automation of the bank. As part of the automation process the bank has planned for computerization of banking operations at all the 376 branches which are expected to be completed by March 2015. Bangladesh Bank has introduced IT-based services like Bangladesh Automated Clearing House (BACH), automated reporting systems like Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), Online CIB etc. RAKUB has been working to comply the central bank’s guideline.
For reducing the dependency upon Bangladesh Bank’s refinance facility, there is no alternative to mobilize deposit. This is why all the employees of the bank have been instructed to be involved directly in opening at least one new deposit account in each working day for mobilizing deposit, especially, low cost deposit. Reward system to be introduced for motivating the employees so that they can be inspired for deposit mobilization. The bank management has an instruction for the branches to arrange Deposit Fortnight in the months of September and January of each financial year. With a view to strengthening deposit position of the bank, recently we introduced a deposit scheme entitled `RAKUB Housewife Saving Scheme (RGSS)’ which will inspire the rural women to deposit their savings in bank. Moreover, the bank has introduced some attractive new deposit schemes. These will help increasing the deposit position of the bank with a great extent and widen the base.
The Guardian: What is your future plan for RAKUB?
Managing Director: I would like to emphasize on the following aspects:
Proper steps to be taken for reducing the classified loan. Directives have also been given to the branches for taking legal actions against wilful defaulters and also establishing close relationship to the local civil and police administration. At the same time supervision and monitoring system of the Head Office have been further strengthened.
To comply with the CBS requirement, the bank has taken initiative to introduce Online Banking. We will establish ATM Booths at some branches which are potentially viable. Moreover, we have already launched mobile banking services in cooperation with the Dutch-Bangla Bank. This services will be available in all the branches very soon.
Since its establishment RAKUB has been functioning to develop agriculture as well as trade and commerce of the Northwest region of the country. I think there are still many potential avenues that RAKUB may explore. SME is very important sector now a day. To flourish the industries and create employment opportunity this sector can contribute a lot to the economy. The government has also given more emphasis upon it. Considering the potentialities of this sector the bank is disbursing credit to a substantial extent and every year the portion of the credit is this sector will increase.
The present government is absolutely a farmer-friendly government.The government puts more emphasis to provide credit to the real farmers. As per the direction of the government, the bank is disbursing loan to the bonafide farmers. In order to ensure transparency in distributing loan effective steps are taken by arranging loan fair outside the bank premises in the presence of local elites, local representatives and mass people.
To introduce attractive new savings products and arrange deposit account opening fair for deposit mobilization and to make the deposit base strong many steps have been taken. To attract foreign deposit we have arranged an agreement with Western Union so that the workers living abroad can send their money to the relatives very quickly at a very minimum cost. Some arrangement will be made with other companies shortly.
Discipline is necessary for attaining the goal of any organization. It covers administrative as well as financial discipline. So this will be maintained at all levels of our operation.
Foreign Exchange business is considered to be very much important for huge revenue earning source of the banking business now-a-days. But our Foreign Exchange business is not up to the mark. Emphasis will be given for doing foreign exchange business independently through strengthening the Foreign Exchange department, keeping an eye, of course, to the recent scam that unsettled the banking arena in recent past
I believe it will come true with the cooperation of all the employees of the bank Insha- Allah.
Short Profile of Manjur Ahmed
Manjur Ahmed was born in a respectable Muslim family of the village of Damodarpur under Kaligonj upazila in Jhenaidah district. This high profile banker joined Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank joined as Managing Director on September 30, 2014. Prior to this posting, he was Deputy Managing Director of Bangladesh Krishi Bank (BKB).
During his service tenure, he performed as General Manager at BKB, RAKUB and Bangladesh House Building Finance Corporation efficiently. He started his banking career as a Chief Manager at Bangladesh Krishi Bank in 1983.
He obtained MBA degree from IBA, University of Dhaka and MS in business degree from the University of Canberra, Australia. He stood 2nd in order of merit in SSC exam in 1973 under Jessore Board and 9th in HSC in 1975 under Dhaka Board. He took part in various training courses, seminars and symposiums at home and abroad, especially in Delhi and Hyderabad of India, Indonesia, Singapore, Dubai and Abudhabi. He is the father of two daughters and one son.