Sonali Bank Limited (SBL) is the largest commercial bank of the country, and the bank has been rendering progressive banking services for the overall socio-economic development of the nation, through its 1201 branches spreading over the country, covering all the important areas of trade, commerce and industries, said Professor AHM Habibur Rahman, Chairman of Sonali Bank Limited, in an exclusive interview with The Guardian.
The Chairman, in this context, further said that out of the total 1201 branches, 859 are operating in rural areas, the largest in number among all the banks operating in Bangladesh, and more than 23000 employees of the bank are serving the people from all walks of life.
Professor Rahman mentioned Sonali Bank believes that honesty, sincerity, integrity, perseverance and commitment to the assignment and to the country can lead a man to the highest prosperity and it also helps to build a prosperous nation and, from this point of view, all the employees of SBL are working keeping it in mind for the prosperity of the organization and the country.
In this context, terming the SBL as the bank of the mass people, he said that its door always remains open to the people of all strata of the society at every nook and corner of the country, and Sonali Bank stands always with the mass people of Bangladesh in their weal and woe and it will remain always with them.
A high profile educationist and financial expert, Professor Rahman informed that in foreign remittance earning Sonali Bank earns the 2nd position, and in view of rendering services to the government, its position is in the first and has far difference from other banks.
In this context, he mentioned that SBL, apart from general banking, is performing various other functions such as disbursement of army and civil pensions, salaries to government and non-government teachers, payment of upo-britti (stipend), freedom fighters’ allowances, allowances for the elderly people and the widows, etc. which are carried out for societal benefit and matching with government’s programmes under Social Safety Net. And he added that this is the uniqueness of SBL amongst the banking industry of the country.
In reply to a particular question, he said that SBL has made remarkable progress in various fields of banking activities, through participating in many areas of socio-economic development and poverty alleviating programmes, along with the consideration of commercial profitability. In this context, he informed that to earn the maximum social benefit, SBL is working to design the operational strategy by prioritizing credit allocation to micro, small and medium size enterprises and especially to productive ventures which are considered as the thrust and most valued sectors in the economy, and the bank has also taken initiatives for financing labour intensive industries and real opportunities and facilities for women empowerment.
In reply to another question, the Chairman informed that they have set targets to increase deposit from Tk. 59929.37 crore to Tk. 64300 crore while advance from Tk. 37814.71 crore to Tk. 42500 crore for 2013, and taken proper initiatives to minimize capital shortfall, reduce the amount of NPL and maximum efforts have been rendered to recover the classified loan and to get the lost image of the bank back.
In this context, he also informed us that they have set targets for different areas of business and to attain the targets they will surely use all capabilities and mechanism with appropriate strategies, and SBL Board remains fully committed to develop this bank in a way that would help to meet the 21st century challenges.
When asked to comment about the achievement of Vision 2021, the Chairman smartly replied that of course, Bangladesh is now at the threshold of a new dawn with the dedicated leadership of Her Excellency Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and commented that her Vision 2021 heralds a new vista of a prosperous and self-reliant Bangladesh.
In a long exclusive interview, the learned Chairman replied to several questions asked by this correspondent, covering the problems, potentials and achievements of Sonali Bank, including the different issues of challenges and developments of the banking sector in Bangladesh. His deliberations are highly academic, informative and educative as well. The excerpts of his valuable interview are produced here below for The Guardian readers at home and abroad:
The Guardian: Please tell us the position of the Sonali Bank Limited (SBL) among all the public and private banks currently operating in Bangladesh. In this context, would you assess the role and contribution of SBL in the overall socio-economic development of Bangladesh?
Chairman: Sonali Bank Limited (SBL) has been operating in the country as the largest commercial bank with a view to render progressive banking services for the overall development of the country. It has been providing banking services to its customers through 1201 branches spreading over the remotest corners of the country and covering all important areas. Out of the total 1201 branches 859 are operating in rural areas, the largest in number among all the banks operating in Bangladesh. More than 23000 employees of the bank are serving the people from all walks of life. In foreign remittance earning Sonali Bank earns the 2nd position.
In view of rendering services to the government, its position is in the first and has far difference from other banks. SBL is performing various functions such as disbursement of army and civil pension, salaries to government and non-government teachers, payment of upo-britti (stipend), freedom fighters’ allowances, allowances for the elderly people and the widows etc. which are carried out for societal benefit and matching with Government’s programs under Social Safety Net. This is the uniqueness of SBL amongst the banking industry.
SBL has made remarkable progress in various fields of banking activities. It has been participating in many areas of activities like socio-economic development and poverty alleviating program along with the consideration of commercial profitability. With the aim to earn the maximum social benefit, SBL is working to design the operational strategy by prioritizing credit allocation to micro, small and medium size enterprises and especially to productive ventures which are considered as the thrust and most valued sectors in the economy. Besides, the bank has taken initiatives for financing labour intensive industries and real opportunities and facilities for women empowerment.
The Guardian: Keeping in view of the past role and contribution of SBL, would you inform us what targets of achievement is set by SBL for 2013 and what steps are taken to achieve all these targets?
Chairman: SBL always prefers to set realistic targets which are desirable and at the same time it remains aware of meeting various purposes of the bank including the interest of the stakeholders. As you know, like any other commercial bank of the country SBL also sets different indicator-wise targets.
Besides commercial targets and targets set in MoU signed with Bangladesh Bank, SBL has set target to install online banking facilities in all branches whether it exist in urban or rural areas. In order to fulfill the national commitment Sonali Bank puts emphasis on disbursing loans and advances to agriculture and SME sectors which play the pioneering role and are treated as priority sectors in the economy.
We have set targets to increase our deposit from Tk. 59929.37 crore to Tk. 64300 crore while advance from Tk. 37814.71 crore to Tk. 42500 crore for 2013. In addition, we have taken proper initiatives to minimize our capital shortfall, reduce the amount of NPL and maximum efforts have been rendered to recover the classified loan. We have set targets for different areas of business and to attain the targets we will surely use all our capabilities and mechanism with appropriate strategies. In addition to extending guidelines to our field level, we regularly evaluate the achievement status of the targets and take necessary corrective measures whenever necessary.
Bank generally provides services to those who step into its premises. Now we have taken an initiative to extend services to those who don’t come to the bank by going to their doors. The bank employees have been instructed to counsel the clients for preparing sound business proposal. Special instructions have been given to the bank officials to finance in the SME sector to a greater extent.
We have a plan to launch a program to motivate the potential entrepreneurs to take business as their profession and create employment for self as well as for others. SBL Board is fully committed to develop this bank in a way that would help to meet the 21st century challenges.
The Guardian: So far it is learnt that SBL has been suffering from the shortage of necessary number of officers and staff for long and due to this, it has been difficult for the SBL to perform its activities smoothly in due time. Would you give your reaction to this and say what role the present Board of Directors should initiate to solve this long-time problem?
Chairman: Yes, it was true until the recent past. But from 2008 we have been recruiting regularly a good number of officers through competitive examination. Now every year we are recruiting and at present the process of recruiting over a thousand officers in different grades has been completed and Bank is sending appointment letters to the recruited persons. As such, our service standard has been improved to customer’s satisfaction and our officials are discharging their duties promptly, properly and in due ways.
For further recruitment of another batch of over 1700 Senior Officer, Officer and Officer Cash, advertisement will be published in a few days. All these have been possible due to continuous support and guidance from the Board of Directors of SBL. In addition, we are putting serious efforts in improving the knowledge base of our manpower and maximizing benefits of using information technology.
The Guardian: In this context, would you please discuss the powers and functions of the Board of SBL and say how far the present Board has been able to bring in changes into the overall activities of SBL to keep pace with the efforts of present government for change?
Chairman: You know that the Central Bank of the country, Bangladesh Bank, has clarified the functions and limitations of the Bank’s Board. Bank Company Act also redefined it. It is equally applicable to every Bank Company. Present Board of Directors of SBL consists of members from different fields of expertise like Business Leader, Educationist, Chartered Accountant, Economist, Researcher, Retired Civil Servant and so on. All of them contribute from different angles out of their own experience and knowledge. The present Board is aware of the changes in the bank law and has been cautious about those in running the bank. While performing their responsibilities, they carefully follow the circulars and guidelines of Bangladesh Bank as well as abide by the latest banking laws.
Members of the present Board are capable of carrying out their responsibilities. The present Board is trying hard to bring significant changes in overall performance of the bank. Already the Board of Directors has been able to bring back the bank on right track and now much attention is focused on increasing the overall business. Some positive changes have already been made. Remarkable changes are expected to be brought in near future.
The Guardian: your Board should undertake to bring in a revolution into the activities of SBL so that under your leadership Sonali Bank can usher in a new era of banking and become It is observed that a private bank within five to six years of its operation becomes a successful bank and also can be a competitor for others by its innovative activities, services and behavioral approach and attire of its officers and staff, but the public banks remain almost in the same place where they had been long ago. Even public banks, their officers and staff work in a way it seems that they all are only trying to survive, but not to serve. Whereas, the public banks should have played the role of leadership and pioneer in introducing any innovative ideas, schemes and smartness, but they have failed to do so. Would you give your reaction to this and say what steps a role-model for other banks in Bangladesh?
Chairman: You must admit that in the early days of Private Bank operation the prime source of their manpower was the Public Banks. At present also the fresh recruits of Public Banks quit their job and enter into Private Banks after gathering some experience. So why should be there any difference in providing service to the customers?
Let me explain the essentiality and pervasiveness of rendering our services on the back-drop of our commitment to the country and its citizens as a state-owned commercial bank and politely differ a bit with some parts of your statement. Financing agricultural and export-based organizations and some other priority sectors come on the top of our functional agenda though they are not always viable from the profit point of view. Categorically we do the ‘mass banking’ as a matter of our national obligations unlike the private banks who do the ‘class-banking’ or ‘elite banking’.
So the private banks look for profit while we look for profitable venture that would result in maximum national and social well being. For example, financing agriculture is not much profitable but that is our national priority, and we comply with this national priority. Our customer-base is much wider than that of the private banks. It also works behind our inability to provide top class customer service.
A significant obstacle in improving the standard of our service is the present motivation and compensation package offered to our employees. You know they get salary as per National Pay Scale which is marked by the great variation with the salary structure of the private commercial banks. Government is trying to reduce the gap by instituting a higher pay-scale for the employees of the state-owned banks. The idea that public banks remain almost at the same ‘old’ place is not true. Public banks have improved a lot in their capacity to extend voluminous loans and advances to large industries at a competitively cheaper rate of interest.
Besides, spectacular and laudable changes have been accentuated in their farsightedness in adopting and in the usage of modern technologies in the day to day work in the course of rendering improved services to the customers. Finally it is the established truth that at present we hold the sizable chunk of the market and doing a bulk of business. However, I strongly feel that a change in the mind-set is necessary, everywhere including banks.
Recently we have introduces some innovative schemes to attract a lot of depositors and investors the response to which is encouraging. Ways and means for innovative venture are being explored continuously. We are expecting that you will find innovativeness, smartness in our activities.
The Guardian: It is also specially to mention that our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her Vision 2021 dreams of a Digital Bangladesh and has accordingly called upon all to work together to turn her dream into a reality in true sense. In this context, would you say what specific role the SBL under your leadership should take to turn her dream into a reality?
Chairman: Of course, Bangladesh is now at the threshold of a new dawn with the dedicated leadership of Her Excellency Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Her Vision 2021 heralds a new vista of a prosperous and self-reliant Bangladesh.
We must concentrate on harnessing our efforts to realise that potential unfolded before us. Forty two years have elapsed since we achieved independence. This period of time is almost equivalent to the working life of a generation. It is very natural to ask ourselves such as what have we achieved over the full working life of a generation? Where will the country be when the nation will celebrate 50 years of its independence in the year 2021? What will it look like? The world is marching forward persistently.
To pre-empt falling behind in the global economic race and the subsequent disappointment of our future generations, today’s citizen have chalked out a vision for Bangladesh – a vision that encompasses their aspirations for a better future and that is based on the demonstrated tremendous energy and potential of the people to fulfill those aspirations. This is actually the vision 2021.
This vision 2021 is not a Utopian scheme; rather it is based on immaculate forecasting of the future development. The milestone of the vision 2021 has been incorporated in our development strategy and has become core target of all our development programs. From our part, we will devote all our knowledge, energies and efforts to materialize the dream of the Honorable Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina for a digital Bangladesh.
First of all, we are trying our best to turn the Bank into a digitalized organization by adopting electronic-banking and modern technology – a true knowledge-based banking. Second, in case of investment we are prioritizing the proposals which in nature are realistic and closer to the objectives of fulfilling the dream of a progressive Bangladesh. Third, we are putting high priority in changing our mind-set which may seem abstract, but in reality doable. Fourth, even through our corporate social responsibility funds we are contributing towards vision 2021.
The Guardian: You also know our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promised in her Vision 2021 to eliminate poverty and inequality by adopting all necessary measures and by their implementation. Among various measures, PRSP is very important one where the economists and banks are directly involved in different ways for its formulation and implementation. In this context, would you please inform us what role the SBL under your leadership is playing in formulating and implementing the PRSP aiming to gradually reduce the current number of poor from 65 millions to 22 millions in 2021 as per the promise of the Prime Minister?
Chairman: Well, poverty reduction is a must, more so is reduction of economic inequalities. I believe economic growth will not do much if inequalities increase. Here, bank can do a lot, because banks are the veins of the economy. Though we have less direct role in formulating the national policy but we do have much responsibility in implementing it.
The prominent economists of the country through their research suggest relevant policy measures and strategies and government listens if found prospective, and finally we implement it under the guidelines and instructions of the regulators. As a matter of policy, now we are engaged in financing the bulk of poverty eradicative loan programmes to make the national policy a success. I can say that we are concerned, committed and competent.
The Guardian: It is also said that to eliminate poverty, the banks should strengthen its activities in rural Bangladesh. In view of this, it is observed that the number of branches of banks is proportionately many more in urban areas than rural areas, and the case of SBL is also same. In this context, would you take any step soon to open more rural branches to ensure SBL network and services in the uncovered areas across the rural Bangladesh?
Chairman: Sorry, I do not agree with you. Although we are a commercial bank, over two third of our branches are located in rural areas across the country, and day by day the number of SBL branches in rural areas is increasing. At present, 859 branches of SBL out of 1201 in the country are being operated at the rural areas. Recently we have successively opened three new branches in the rural areas. Our willingness and efforts will be continued to open more branches in future in the rural areas.
But at the same time you have to keep in mind that we deal with the money of the depositors. After a certain period of time we are to pay the depositors money back on demand and with profit or interest. Therefore, at the time of opening a new branch we have to consider the possibility of earning profit from the branch and it is crucial for sustainable growth.
I think I must add here that the government has as much as 66 social safety net programs and we disburse the money to the beneficiaries mostly without any charge and we do this mainly through our rural branches. It has to be kept in mind that a huge number of manpower is involved with these activities. If we would have engaged these staff in those activities which are profit earning we would have earned handsome income.
The Guardian: It is opined by the suffering people that one foreign bank is exploiting our people in the name of card services, where the people have to pay over 30-40 present interest on an average although the authorities of that bank say they do not charge any interest for a particular time except service charges. Would you give your reaction to this and suggest the measures as how to protect the interest of our people from the clutches of that foreign bank or any other banks currently operating in Bangladesh? In this context, would you say why our public banks, especially SBL can’t introduce such card services to serve our people.
Chairman: I can not make any comment on other banks’ activities. We, as a state-owned commercial bank, serve the mass people and in line with government’s social safety net programs. We are to consider their need and capacity to pay. As far as I know almost all the commercial banks of the country have introduced card service and the product has already made appeal to the customers.
SBL has also launched card service in a limited sphere at comparatively low rate of interest/cost. We are in the way to launch it in a wider scale keeping relevant charges low.
The Guardian: It is learnt that SBL has been playing a very notable role in the growth of export and in the support of import, which can be a model for other banks. Would you please disclose the factors which inspire the SBL to achieve all this notable success and say how others can learn lessons from the SBL success in helping the country’s export and import businesses?
Chairman: Yes, you rightly said that SBL is playing a vital role in the growth of export business of the country and at the same time it is facilitating import business in favour of the government and private entrepreneurs as well.
The secret behind its success in this sector is nothing but robust commitment, proper handling of any sudden and volatile situation in international market, and lastly, but most importantly, it is because of hard work and relentless efforts of our experienced employees.
Though the Hallmark incident has tarnished the image of the bank a bit, I would like to entertain you with the hope that our firm commitment and dedicated endeavor will be continued to boost the volume of import-export business in the coming days. Others can also work in this way to grow further the country’s export and import business.
The Guardian: Taking this success in spirit, would you also say what more new schemes SBL can take to serve the country’s economy and the society?
Chairman: SBL has a variety of attractive deposit products. It also provides different types of trading and industrial project loans and loans in the special priority sectors. It is providing loans under different schemes including Agro-based and Industrial Project Loans, Import-Export Financing, Agriculture Loans, Small Trading Loans, SME Loans, Consumer Credit and developing number of entrepreneurs and creating employment opportunities to help achieve economic development of the society and the country. It is providing collateral free SME loan up to Tk. 5.00 lac to the women.
Besides, SBL is providing loan facilities in Rural Credit, Micro Credit Schemes and in different priority sectors of the government and in various schemes for the women like Unmesh, Jago Nari etc. Almost 24 lac farmers’ accounts have been opened in SBL with only taka 10 as deposit. Opening of such accounts of the beneficiaries of different government assist allowances are underway with same amount of deposit.
We always attach high importance in innovative and people oriented banking. Recently we have introduced some new deposit and loan products. The deposit products are Millionaire Scheme, Double Benefit Scheme, Triple Benefit Scheme and a deposit product for the Non-resident Bangladeshis where interest rate is 1.5% higher than that of the Resident Bangladeshi Account. A loan product for the people going abroad with job is also introduced. Sonali Bank has introduced School Banking Scheme with the aim to make children habituated and grow with savings attitude.
SBL is going to introduce Mobile Banking and Internet Banking soon. Some more schemes are underway to be launched in the near future.
The Guardian: It is observed that all the commercial banks work in some selective areas, mainly dealing in traditional way of trade, commerce and industry or others, run by the richer sections of the society. Rural education, rural healthcare, rural development, rural trade, commerce and industry, schemes for rural poverty alleviation, disabled and opportunity-deprived persons and the areas like are given less priority and remain always neglected. Can the nation expect that SBL under your leadership will pioneer some new products of banking that will differ from the traditional practices of banking and that will also open the doors of new scope and opportunity for all those who remain deprived of banking privileges for long and for all those who have no ability to provide security for bank loans?
Chairman: Unlike other private commercial banks SBL by nature is the bank of the people. Profit making is not the sole objective of SBL. It offers a good number of interest free services for the marginal and underprivileged rural people like agriculture loan for Aila and SIDR affected people, allowances for the Elderly and Distressed people. As many as 66 different social safety net programs, as I told earlier, are routed through SBL mostly free of any service charge.
We are always exploring the ways to serve the rural poor with our new products and services. In this regard our Board of Directors is very positive in bringing about qualitative change in our approach. Hopefully, we will soon be able to offer some new schemes for the disadvantaged and marginal people.
The Guardian: It is learnt that SBL is also performing some significant social responsibilities. Would you discuss all this in brief and say how the target groups are determined and become benefited in true sense from all these SBL social activities?
Chairman: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in SBL functions as a built-in, self-regulated mechanism whereby the bank monitors and ensures its adherence to best ethical standards, international norms in performing the social responsibility. The bank has earned highest corporate image and recognition from the valued clients since its inception by dint of its social commitment and corporate social responsibility programs. CSR of SBL is an instrument to make business more committed towards social needs.
SBL donated 3 Dialysis Machines to BSMMU, Tk. 2 crore to the Prime Minister’s Fund for the victims of Rana Plaza collapse, helped the Tornado hit people in Brahmanbaria and distributed 12000 pieces of blankets among the distressed people of the thirty cold prone areas of the country. SBL donated 7 vehicles to Bangladesh Police. Every year it pays scholarships to significant number of poor but meritorious students having good results in SSC and HSC examinations.
Over 1200 such students were given scholarships this year. SBL pro-actively promotes the public interest by encouraging the community growth and development and is committed to readdressing human miseries especially the downtrodden people of the society. CSR is also extended to the people with severe diseases.
The Guardian: Would you give your reactions to recent financial scams of SBL authorities regarding loan sanctioning to Hallmark Group and others? In this context, would you say what measures the present SBL Board under your leadership has taken to face any such corruption now and in future and to bring the lost glory of SBL back?
Chairman: The scam what you are talking about took place before the present Board of Directors had taken the charge. Undoubtedly it is most unpleasant. But this is not proper time to express reaction but to take action and measures. And the present Board of Directors is doing this.
Punitive and disciplinary actions have been taken against the officers and staff of the bank involved in this scandal. Different corrective and preventive measures have already been taken and some are being taken in phases to overcome the crisis and prevent such occurrence in the future.
The Guardian: It is also alleged that in the name of CBA activities a group of beneficiary is not only making their fortune by undue practices, rather they are tarnishing the spirit and glory of the public institutions, especially of the sensitive institutions like banks. They are using the premises of every public institution and bank as their individual offices. At every place there hang sign boards, festoons, banners and their and their party leaders’ photographs. Due to all these ugly practices by them, the institutions seem to be a heap of garbage or dirt and thus the institutions lose their image and attraction. These persons do not perform their professional duties properly, rather they damage the working environment of others in many ways and keep them busy full time as how to make more money and capture undue opportunities under the shadow of the party in power. As a committed teacher and as a leading educationist in Bangladesh, would you give your reaction to all this allegation and say how the public institutions, especially the banks can be made free from the trap of these opportunist groups?
Chairman: The legacy of CBA in public and state-owned organizations like banks has remained an issue of long debate. According to ILO provisions and other international laws the activities of CBA in state run organizations are well defined and well guarded. Right to be engaged in CBA for workers is a democratic right. It is the responsibility of the organization and of all concerned to see that all activities are conducted as per norms and rules.
Undue pressure by the CBA or Trade Union on the management is now much under control and disciplined in SBL. Proper pursuance and different development measures by the bank have worked behind this positive change. We always believe in maintaining good relations and looking after employees’ benefit that can ensure sustainable productive environment through which we are now working.
The Guardian: As a matter of fact, would you assess the efficiency and successes of the present management team of SBL and say what further steps should be taken to make it more efficient and effective so that it can reach the expected goals in true sense for which the bank was turned from a state owned institution to a limited company.
Chairman: To be very frank, the SBL has well educated, experienced and capable manpower to perform their responsibilities efficiently with effectiveness (efficiently means “doing things right” and effectiveness means “doing the right things”). Management Team is also competent to provide necessary leadership to the workforce to get the work done timely and efficiently.
You know SBL was a nationalized bank for a long time building one kind of culture. The bank has been converted into a public limited company on 03 June, 2007 aiming at accelerating banking activities by enhancing management capabilities and standard of service. There is a need for change in the mindset of the officers and staff by training and other measures in order to achieve the objectives of the public limited company. Training arrangement is still inadequate to bring the needed change in behavioral aspect of the employees, but the situation is improving over the time. Recent Hallmark incident has some discouraging impacts in the initiative of the employees to be dynamic in providing loan to the entrepreneurs.
With specific direction from the Board of Directors the management is trying to make the bank officials more dynamic and pragmatic in doing
Brief Profile of Prof. Rahman
Professor A.H.M. Habibur Rahman was born on 30th October, 1939. A talented student from childhood, he obtained his B.Com. (Hons) in 1958 and M.Com. in 1959 with credit from the University of Dhaka. Later, he received Ph.D. in Social Science with specialization in Industrial Finance from the University of Durham, England in 1969 and P.G. Diploma in Business Management, Brunel, England in 1965.
A.H.M. Habibur Rahman joined the then Department of Commerce, University of Dhaka as Reader on 11th February 1970 and later, he had been a Professor of the university. During his long teaching career at the University of Dhaka, he held the various important positions in academic and administrative affairs of the university. He was Chairman of the Department of Accounting in 1973, Founder Chairman of the Department of Finance from 1974-1977, Founder Director of the Bureau of Business Research from 1972-1982, Director of Evening MBA Programme from 2004-2005. He was elected Dean of the Faculty Business Studies of the university for three consecutive terms.
Apart from all these dignified positions, Prof. Rahman has some other contributions to socio-economic developments. He was Economic Consultant of the Investment Advisory Centre of Pakistan from 1969-1970. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bangladesh Shilpa Rin Sangstha from 1999-2001. Besides, he was and is still working, staying at different dignified positions, with a good number of national and international organizations and committees, concerned with socio- economic, business, development and academic activities.
Professor Rahman is currently Chairman of Sonali Bank Limited, the largest bank of Bangladesh and Co-Chairman of Research Board of the Foundation for Research on Education Planning and Development.
He has written a number of text books and a good number of general and research papers on trade, commerce, industry, economy, investment and different other fields of social science. He attended many national and international seminars, conferences and workshops held at home and abroad. During long teaching life, he visited almost all the parts of the world. He is an amiable person and a committed educationist and researcher.