Sonali Bank takes up new strategies to meet the growing banking demand of the nation -Pradip Kumar Dutta

--Interview by Mostafa Kamal

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After being incorporated and becoming a banking company from a nationalized bank, significant changes took place into the characteristics and activities of Sonali Bank Limited (SBL) that has enabled the Board of Directors and the Management to enjoy more freedom and authority to run the bank with success, said Pradip Kumar Dutta, Managing Director & CEO of Sonali Bank Limited in an exclusive interview with The Guardian.

In this context, the Managing Director further said that now decision making process has been prompt and banking activities are accelerated and standard of service is enhancing day by day. He also mentioned that the officers and staff are now motivated to work hard for the development of the institution, adding that now they know that if the bank can make more profit, they will get more benefits.

In reply to a particular question, the Managing Director said that Somali Bank is trying to learn lessons from the past experiences and accordingly has taken up adequate plan and new strategies to meet the growing banking demand of the nation.

In this context, terming Sonali Bank as the largest bank of the country, he informed us that the bank has as many as 17 attractive deposit products and 48 loan products running at present to meet the diversified needs of the customers and is providing different types of trading and industrial project loans and loans in the special priority sectors.

He mentioned that the bank is also providing loans under different schemes including Agro-based and Industrial Project Loans, Import-Export Financing, Agriculture Loans, Small Trading Loans, SME Loans, Personal Loans, collateral free SME loan up to Tk. 5.00 lac to the women entrepreneurs and developing number of entrepreneurs and creating employment opportunities to help achieve economic development of the country and is also providing loan facilities in different priority sectors of the government.

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The Managing Director further mentioned that SBL is helping people from all walks of life under Corporate Social Responsibility, through financial assistance to the distressed humanity, disabled and many other kinds of people who need it badly, even during disasters and calamities, adding that every year the bank pays scholarships to significant number of Poor but meritorious students from across the country having good results in HSC and SSC examinations.

In reply to another question, the Managing Director said that the attitude and philosophy of the government of the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina towards the development of the banking sector of the country is very much favourable that help in sustainable development of the banking sector and make the banking sector capable of contributing in building the Digital Bangladesh.

In this context, he told us that the Government of Bangladesh is working to lessen dependency on overseas sources in economic activities of the country to become self reliant, since the financial inclusion is very important for economic development of a country. He also informed that SBL is working in line with the government policies and financing the poor and under privileged people to make them self reliant so that they can contribute to the economic development of the country.

A banker of high profile, the SBL Managing Director calls upon the future generation bankers to work hard and dedicatedly and be honest for their own and their organizations’ success. He also earnestly requests the people of the country to be with the bankers and make them able to contribute in the greater economy of the country, assuring that SBL will be with the people all the time ahead.

In a long exclusive interview, Mr. Dutta, a hghly experienced banker, replied to several questions covering the entire activities, problems, achievements and future plans of Sonali Bank, including different burning issues of the banking sector in Bangladesh. His deliberations are really interestiong, informative and educative as well. The Excerpts of his valuable interview are produced here for The Guardian readers at home and abroad:

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The Guardian: Please give us a brief introduction to the founding history of the Sonali Bank Limited (SBL) through which it has come from a state owned financial institution to a limited banking company?

Managing Director: Sonali Bank Limited is the largest and fully state-owned Commercial Bank of Bangladesh. It was established under Bangladesh Banks (Nationalization) Order 1972, Presidential Order 26, 1972 comprising three banks which were in operation in the then Pakistan- National Bank of Pakistan, Bank of Bahwalpur and Premier Bank. Sonali Bank was established as a Nationalized Commercial Bank.

It was incorporated in Bangladesh on 03 June, 2007 as a Public Limited Company named “Sonali Bank Limited” under Companies Act, 1994 and governed by the Bank Companies Act, 1991 aiming at accelerating banking activities by enhancing management skill and standard of service. Bangladesh Bank issued Banking License in favour of the Bank on 05 June, 2007.

Subsequently on 15 November, 2007 the bank took over the undertaking and business of Sonali Bank as a going concern under a Vendor’s Agreement signed between the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Sonali Bank Limited with a retrospective effect from 01 July, 2007 and became a Limited Banking Company owned by the State from a Nationalized Commercial Bank.

The Guardian: In this context, would you give us an idea about vendor agreement between the Government of Bangladesh and the Sonali Bank Limited on the basis of which the bank has been turned into a limited company?

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Managing Director: Vendor’s Agreement is a Legal Contract between two parties where one sells or vends something to other. A Vendor’s Agreement was signed between the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Sonali Bank Limited with a retrospective effect from 01 July, 2007. Under this agreement the Government of Bangladesh as the vendor relinquishes and Sonali Bank Limited (SBL) acquires the undertaking and banking business of Sonali Bank as a going concern with its goodwill, assets, benefits, rights, powers, authorities, privileges, liabilities, debts and obligations on 15 November, 2007.

The Guardian: As a matter of fact, would you say what kinds of change take place into its characteristics and activities due to shift from a state owned financial institution to a commercial banking company? In this context, would you please mention the current figure of its authorized and paid-up capitals?

Managing Director: After being incorporated and becoming a banking company (limited by shares) from a nationalized bank, significant changes took place into its characteristics and activities. The Board of Directors and the Management now enjoy more freedom and authority to run the bank. The decision making process has been prompt.

The officers and staff are motivated to work hard for the development of the institution. Now they know that if the bank can make more profit, they will get more benefits. Banking activities are accelerated and standard of service is enhancing day by day.

At present Authorized Capital and Paid-up Capital of SBL are Taka 2,000 crore and Taka 1,125 crore respectively.

The Guardian: On the basis of the present state of SBL’s characteristics, would you discuss the nature of its business, services and financing?

Managing Director: All commercial banks more or less do the same business. But SBL is unique in providing service. It provides banking services to all strata of people everywhere across the country while the other banks do not have branches at the remote rural areas.

SBL has as many as 17 attractive deposit products and 48 loan products running at present to meet the diversified needs of the customers. SBL is providing 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 Loans, Personal Loans SME Loans and developing number of entrepreneurs and creating employment opportunities to help achieve economic development of the country. It is providing collateral free SME loan up to Tk. 5.00 lac to the women entrepreneurs. Besides, SBL is providing loan facilities in different priority sectors of the government and in various schemes for the women like Unmesh, Jago Nari etc.

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SBL is helping people from all walks of life under Corporate Social Responsibility. It extends financial assistance to the distressed humanity, disabled and many other kinds of people who need it badly. The bank always comes forward with financial help during disasters and calamities. During such occurrences it extends donations to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund to contribute to Government’s initiatives in helping destitute people to come out of the crisis.

It stood beside the distressed people during the recent two disasters happened- Tornado at Brahmanbaria and Building (commonly known as Rana Plaza) Collapse at Savar and provided financial help to the affected people and donated money to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

Every year it pays scholarships to significant number of poor but meritorious students Having good results in HSC and SSC examinations.

Besides, the Bank is making payments of pensions and retirement benefits to the retired civil and military government employees, salaries and allowances to the teachers and employees of Government and Non-Government Schools, Colleges and Madrasas.

It makes payments of different types of allowances under social safety net programs like allowances for the elderly people, widows, freedom fighters etc. It conducts selling and buying of Government Savings Certificates, pays the bills for Government’s procurement of food and food-grains, receives various types of utility bills, collects government revenues and receives money for Hajj and in the Zakat Fund among many ancillary services rendered.

SBL provides various special services to the under privileged people of the country to improve their financial health, an effort towards financial inclusion. SBL has opened almost 24 lac accounts of the farmers with only Tk. 10 as deposit and is going to open accounts of the people who get special Government allowances under social safety net activities with same amount of deposit. SBL has the largest customer base with 1.3 crore of different types of customer accounts. It provides as many as 37 ancillary services free of charges or at nominal charges, specially as directed by the Government.

SBL conducts Government. Treasury Functions across the country where there is no branch of the central bank, Bangladesh Bank.

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The Guardian: Would you mention the number of branches and other units of SBL currently remain operating at home and abroad and also comment about the performances of all these branches and units? In this context, would you also say whether any more new branches or units will be opened soon?

Managing Director: With 1201 branches across the country and 2 overseas branches, the total number of branches of Sonali Bank Limited is 1203 as on 31 Decernber, 2013. Out of the local 1201 branches, 859 are in the rural areas and the rest 342 are in the urban areas. The 2 overseas branches are at Kolkata and Shiliguri of West Bengal in India. For smooth administrative and business functioning, there are 10 General Manager’s Offices, 42 Principal Offices and 19 Regional Offices of the bank at the field level. Overall banking operations are supervised and monitored through 37 Divisions at the Head Office.

SBL has a full-fledged Bank named Sonali Bank (UK) Limited in the United Kingdom under joint ownership with the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh with 6 (six) branches. It has two Subsidiary Companies named Sonali Exchange Company Incorporated (SECI) in the USA and Sonali Investment Limited (SIL) in Bangladesh.

SECI is operating as an international money remittance house since December 1994 with 9 (nine) branches in the USA. SIL is operating Merchant Banking with 4 (four) branches at Motijheel, Paltan, Uttara and  Mirpur in Dhaka, Bangladesh. SBL has also a joint venture company named Sonali Polaris Financial Technology Limited (SPFTL) with globally renowned financial technology provider Polaris Financial Technology Limited to implement Core Banking Solution.

SBL has its own Representative Offices at Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and in Kuwait. It has remittance business with 55 Banks and Exchange Houses in different countries of the world including Middle East. Foreign Exchange Business is conducted through 45 AD branches of the bank and 617 Foreign Correspondents across the world.

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Performances of the branches and units of SBL are satisfactory which contribute to the overall performance of the Bank. SBL opens a branch or unit whenever it is found favourable for banking business anywhere.

The Guardian: May we also ask you to mention the number of employees including officers and staff are presently working in the SBL at home and abroad and comment about their skills and performances? In this context, would you also say what facilities are available for its huge number of employees working at home and abroad to perform their duties well and say what further steps should be taken to enhance their efficiency and commitment to serve the bank and the clients more expectedly? Would you also say what kinds of cooperation or support are provided to its retired officers and staff?

Managing Director: The number of employees of SBL is 22890 as on 31 December, 2013. Out of which 19653 are officers and 3237 are staff. All of them are highly skilled with their job exposure and their performances are reasonably good. SBL always tries to provide favourable working environment and financial benefits to its employees to make them perform their duties well and it will be continued and enhanced in the future.

Besides, it tries to make them competent by providing training regularly and taking other measures of development and employee beneficial programs to enhance their efficiency and commitment to serve the bank and the clients more expectedly. Such efforts by the bank will be strengthened in the future. SBL always tries to provide necessary cooperation and support needed by its retired officers and staff whenever they come to the bank for any kind of service.

The Guardian: Would you also inform us about the availability of modern facilities of SBL and say how far these facilities are enough to fulfill the requirements of this modern age and modern banking since the private banks have already reached a far advancement in the use of latest facilities to improve their services as well as to attract the clients across the country?

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Managing Director: SBL has already adopted modern and latest banking technologies to fulfill the requirements of this modern age and modern banking. But these are not enough. Starting its computerization way back in 1989 with the latest model computer of that time, IBM Mini Computer by computerizing inter-branch reconciliation of the bank, SBL took extensive computerization program to meet the demand of the time. Out of the total 1201 branches across the country, 1181 branches have already been computerized. The rest 20 branches, located in the remote areas are yet to be computerized due to lack of electricity supply and infrastructural disadvantages. Those branches will be computerized shortly with alternative arrangements.

Comparison of SBL to private banks is a bit different. Using Sonali Bank’s own software, Online Any Branch Banking (Online ABB) is running in over800 branches to facilitate customers to deposit or withdraw money from any of these branches having account in one branch while no private bank has this number of branches in total and those don’t have branches in the remote areas of the country like SBL.

Inland Remittance is transferred online among 1177 branches and Foreign Remittance is paid in 1191 branches using bank’s own web-based software RMS+. Remittances sent through money exchanges like Western Union, IME, Trans-fast, Express Money etc. are paid in cash under Spot Cash/Cash over the Counter modes even though the beneficiary doesn’t maintain any account with any branch of the bank.

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Various online services have been introduced in SBL. Through NBR Sonali Bank e-Payment Portal, Tax/Customs Duty/VAT can be paid online. Online Government Transaction System (Online GTS) is used in 592 branches of the bank to conduct Government transactions. Using Sonali Seba software, fees of different institutions are received. Besides, SMS Banking, Bangladesh Automated Clearing House (BACH) functions, Bangladesh Electronic Fund Transfer Network (BEFTN) functions, selling and buying of Government Savings Certificates, payment of Civil and Army Pension – such computerized services are running in the bank.

In accomplishing above, SBL had to avail services of different vendors having different modes. To bring these various modes under single umbrella and with the view to introduce most sophisticated and advanced financial technologies in the bank, Sonali Polaris Financial Technology Limited (SPFTL), a joint venture company was established by SBL and Polaris Financial Technology Limited, a leading global financial technology provider with headquarter in Chennai, India.

Sonali Polaris FT Limited has been established to implement core banking in banks. Vision of the company is to provide high quality IT solution to local financial organizations including SBL. Since its inception, SPFTL has implemented key Financial Technology solutions including a comprehensive Core Banking Solution (CBS) for SBL, Bangladesh Commerce Bank Limited and Sonali Bank (UK) Limited. It has also implemented a next-generation trading platform for the Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE).

In this way SBL is adopting modern and latest banking technologies to improve its standard of service and provide prompt banking services to its customers to fulfill their growing demand to make sure its glorious presence in the most competitive banking arena.

SBL has already introduced SMS Banking. Introduction of Internet Banking and Mobile Banking is under process and we expect to implement it by the end of this year. At present it has 57 ATM booths of its own as well as 3 co-branded booths which is expanding day by day. It has introduced 3 types of ATM cards – Debit and Credit Cards for the account holders and Pre-paid Cards for non-bank customers through which tax, VAT and utility bills can be paid. Rate of interest for the Credit Cards is the lowest in our country. We are going to introduce VISA enabled Debit, Credit and Pre-paid Cards very soon. SBL intends to establish ATM booths all over the country within next 3 years.

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The Guardian: Would you suggest what further steps should be taken to strengthen the whole network and facilities of SBL to fulfill the rising demand of this challenging age?

Managing Director: SBL is always aware of the need of the time. Our foremost task is to strengthen and broaden the automation and online banking. We have to make sure that all our customers will get prompt and quick services as well as services of high standard.

To fulfill the rising demand of this challenging age, steps have been taken to strengthen the whole network of the Bank. As told earlier, over 800 branches of the Bank are running under Online Any Branch Banking (Online ABB). The Bank has planned to bring all the branches under Online ABB by this year. In order to implement Online Real Time Core Banking (ORTB), a pilot project has been taken up. The project aims to bring 20 branches under the new system.

As the project is on its course, data migration is going on in some big branches including Local Office, Dhaka. SBL has a plan to bring as many as 100 branches by the end of 2014 and all the remaining branches within 2/3 years under ORTB. Facilities for the customers are being increased gradually and will be increased further in the future.

The Guardian: Would you discuss how many kinds of loan and advance the SBL offers and the total amount of loans and advance it has disbursed till date? Would you also give your reaction to the recovery situation of SBL loans and advances?

Managing Director: SBL is providing 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, Personal Loans and developing number of entrepreneurs and creating employment opportunities to help achieve economic development of the country.

It is providing collateral free SME loan upto Tk. 5.00 lac to women. Besides, SBL is providing loan facilities in different priority sectors of the government and in various schemes for the women like Unmesh, Jago Nari etc.

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To accelerate credit growth the following loan products have been introduced to meet the demand of the time – Cash Credit, Small Loan, Micro Credit, Rural Credit, Special Small Loan Program, Term Loan to Non-Banking Financial Institutions, Probashi Karmasangthan Rin Prokolpa (Loans to job seekers in foreign countries), Secured Overdraft (SOD), Loans to Disable Persons, Computer Loan, Motor Car Loan, Personal Loans, Loan for Diagnostic Center, few investment schemes under Islamic Banking and International Trade Finance like Local and Foreign L/Cs including Back to Back (BTB) L/Cs, Pre-shipment Credit, Packing Cash Credit, LTR, LIM etc.

The total amount of loans and advances of the bank is Taka 34319.4 crore as on 31 December, 2014.

The recovery situation of loans and advances of the bank is quite satisfactory. Specially, recovery from classified loans has gained a momentum with a record high this year. In  2013, Taka 5176.50 crore has been recovered from classified loans, out of which recovery in cash is Taka 1464.51 crore and other than cash recovery is Taka 3711.99 crore. On the other hand, recovery  in 2012 was only Taka 846.84 crore, out of which recovery in cash was Taka 393.89 crore and other than cash recovery was Taka 452.95 crore. Recovery during the whole year in 2012 was only Taka 846.84 crore.

The Guardian: In this context, would you please clarify the meaning of provisions set for substandard loan and advance, doubtful loan and advance, bad and loss  loan and advance, written-off loan and advance, stuck-up loans and loan defaulters?

Managing Director: When a loan is not repaid in due time, it becomes overdue and after expiration of certain time it is classified as substandard loan, doubtful loan and bad and loss loan by turn. Written-off loan is the kind of loan which has thin chance to be recovered and remained classified as bad and loss for long before being written-off.

The central bank, Bangladesh Bank has set certain percentage upto 100% of the amount of different types of classified loans to be kept provisions by the banks from their earnings as backup in case of non-recovery to protect the depositors’ interest. All the classified loans are considered as stuck-up loans. Loan Defaulters are those who did not repay their loans in due time.

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The Guardian: So far we know that a bank’s major income comes from the interest from the loans. Since the SBL is a state owned bank, it may have many more sources of income. Would you please mention the name of all the sources of income of SBL?

Managing Director: Banks have 2 sources of income – interest income and non-funded income. Interest income comes from the loans and advances of the banks. Non-funded income are those which come from other services given by the banks to the customers including transfer of remittance and foreign trade financing in the form of fees, commission and exchange for which banks does not require to invest. Apart from these, SBL earns from some other services rendered to the customer.

The Guardian: As a matter of fact, would you also inform us about the current profit and loss, assets and liabilities of the SBL? In this context, would you say what further initiatives can be taken to earn more profit by the SBL?

Managing Director: SBL earned operating profit of Taka 318.41 crore in 2013. Total assets and total liabilities of SBL as on 31 December, 2012 were Taka 75394.97 crore and Taka 73155.97 crore respectively. Initiatives have been taken to increase profitability of the bank.

Various new deposit products have been launched to attract the depositors and publicities are going on to draw the attention of the real prospective borrowers to increase interest income. Besides, initiatives have been taken to increase fee based non-funded income from the services rendered to the customers.

The Guardian: It is said that due to written-off loans and advances, a bank heavily loses its growth and profit. Would you give your reaction to this? In this context, would you also disclose the present scenario of SBL?

Managing Director: Written-off loans and advances are often remain un-recovered. But 100% of the written-off loan amount is to be kept as provision. So it hampers the profitability position. SBL always render highest effort to recover the written-off loans and advances. The recovery position from written-off loans of SBL is reasonably good at present.

The Guardian: Would you say what stage a loan or and advance is decided to be written-off or as bad debt? In this context, would you mention the amount of SBL’s total written-off or bad loans and advances. Would you further say what measures are being taken to recover these amounts or to tackle the defaulters?

Managing Director: When a loan or advance remains classified as bad and loss for long, the bank already has filed suite to recover the money and the loan has dimmed chance to be regularized – then the loan or advance is decided to be written-off as per Bangladesh Bank circular. The amount of SBL’s total written-off loan is Taka 4655.00 crore as on 31 December, 2013. All out efforts are continued to recover loans from the defaulters.

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The Guardian: Would you discuss the various kinds of risk of a bank and say what measures are available at the SBL to manage all the risks?

Managing Director: Like other banks in Bangladesh, SBL also faces challenges of various types of risks. The 7 core risks are- Internal Control and Compliance Risk, Foreign Exchange Risk, Credit Risk, Asset Liability Management Risk, Money Laundering Risk, Information & Communication Technology Security Risk and Environmental Risk. Bangladesh Bank has already issued sets of guidelines for capital adequacy in accordance with Basel-II including stress testing and there are the mandatory Core Risk Guidelines which are mentioned above.

As per Bangladesh Bank guidelines SBL manages all the risks with its own tools and every measure is available in SBL to mitigate those risks.

The Guardian: So far it is learnt the SBL has introduced some new products for the NRBs. Would you please tell us something about this?

Managing Director: SBL always tries to launch new products considering the demand of the customers. It has recently launched 2 new deposit products namely Triple Benefit Scheme (TBS) and Sonali Bank Millionaire Scheme (SBMS). SBL has already launched 1 deposit product and 1 loan product for the NRBs. Higher interest is paid in the account for foreign remittance sent by the NRBs. Interest rate of Savings Accounts maintained by the NRBs is 1.5% higher than that of the local customers. Loan is given to the people who go abroad with confirmed job contract.

The Guardian: Would you also discuss for what purpose the SBL has recently introduced a number of schemes and created a number of funds including Benevolent Fund and Death Relief Grant Scheme?

Managing Director: SBL always introduce new products or schemes to boost up business. It also introduces new employee beneficial schemes. Employees Benevolent Fund and Pension & Death Cum Retirement Benefit scheme are in operation in the bank since long. Employees get financial benefits from these funds.

The Guardian: As a veteran banker of the country, would you reflect on the various problems of the country’s banking sector and suggest what realistic steps should be taken to solve all the problems?

Managing Director: At present the seasonal issue in the banking sector is some loan irregularities occurred in the recent past years. As a result Non-Performing Loan (NPL) has been increased a lot. Besides, investment opportunities for the banks have been shrunk in the recent past. To support Government Budgetary activities SBL invested significant amount in Government Bills and Bonds.

In absence of active secondary bond market those bonds cannot be sold any time. Furthermore, to comply with the Basel-II accord the amount of Risk Based Capital Adequacy or Capital Requirement for the banks has been increased. All these problems should be overcome through working properly and in adequately planned way and with the help of the regulatory bodies. All types of risks should be eliminated/mitigated. Monitoring and supervision must be tightened and internal control and compliance system must work properly to avoid irregularities. All the bankers must work with honesty and there is no alternative to honesty which is the top most prerequisite for a banker. SBL has reduced CL significantly in December 2013 and enjoys good liquidity and investable   fund now.

The Guardian: Keeping this in mind, would you also identify the problems and limitation of SBL and suggests their possible remedial measure?

Managing Director: The problems prevailing in the banking arena are the same for SBL and those can be overcome in the same way.

The Guardian: In this context, would you also comment about the attitude and philosophy of the Government of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina towards the development of the banking sector of the country? In this context, would you also assess the present role of the Bangladesh Bank in guiding the banking sector of the country?

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Managing Director: The attitude and philosophy of the government of the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina towards the development of the banking sector of the country is very much favourable. It will help in sustainable development of the banking sector and make the banking sector capable of contributing in building the Digital Bangladesh.

Government of Bangladesh is working to lessen dependency on overseas sources in economic activities of the country to become selfreliant. Financial inclusion is very important for economic development of a country. SBL is working in line with the Government policies and financing the poor and under privileged people to make them self reliant so that they can contribute to the economic development of the country.

Bangladesh Bank, the central bank of the country is the guide, monitor and supervisor of the banking sector. Bangladesh Bank is performing its duty properly in guiding the banking sector of the country.

The Guardian: Keeping in view of the past success and failures of SBL, would you say  what further strategies and action plans, the SBL authorities should adopt to fulfill the growing banking demand of the nation?

Managing Director: SBL tries to learn from the past. SBL authorities have already taken new strategies to meet the banking demand of the time. SBL is aware of the growing banking demand of the nation, has adequate plan and adopting appropriate strategies to fulfill those.

The Guardian: In the end, would you please give your valuable message for your future generation bankers and especially for the people of Bangladesh?

Managing Director: For the future generation bankers, my message is- “work hard and dedicatedly and be honest, the success for you and your organization is a must.”

And I earnestly request the people of the country to be with us and make us able to contribute in the greater economy of the country. SBL will be with you all the time ahead.

Profile of Mr. Dutta

Pradip Kumar Dutta was born in a respectable family in Mymensingh on 26 November, 1953. He is the son of Late Jitendra Kumar Dutta and Late Amio Bala Dutta.

Mr. Dutta did his Master of Science degree from Dhaka University in 1974. He started his career with Sonali Bank in 1977 as a Senior Officer. He has served in various positions in Sonali Bank, which include Branch Manager, Head of Principal Office, Head of General Manager’s Office and Head of different Operational Divisions at Bank’s Head Office.

On getting promotion as General Manager he was posted to Bangladesh Krishi Bank (BKB). He served there for a period of one year and a half from September 2003 to March 2005. Then he was again transferred and posted in Sonali Bank where he worked as a General Manager and Deputy Managing Director till he was promoted and posted as the Managing Director of Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank (RAKUB) on 18 July, 2010. He worked there till 14 June, 2012 with a break of less than 2 months period.

He was appointed as the Managing Director and CEO of Sonali Bank Limited and has been working since 17 June, 2012. In his career he gained expertise in all types of banking activities, having vast practical exposure. He is widely acknowledged for his cooperative attitude and amiable disposition in the banking industry.

The Managing Director and CEO of Sonali Bank Limited, Mr. Dutta is a man with impressive personality. During his career as a banker, he attended many trainings, seminars and workshops at home and abroad. By this time, he visited Japan, UK, USA and many other countries in the world.

Presently, Mr. Dutta is holding various positions in other institutions of the banking sector. He is  the Chairman,             Sonali Exchange Inc., New York, USA; Vice-Chairman, Institute of Bankers Bangladesh (IBB); Member, Governing Board, Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) and Executive Committee, Bangladesh Foreign Exchange Dealers’ Association (BAFEDA) and Lifetime Member, SOFEN, a Socio-Cultural Organization.

He is  Director, Sonali Bank (UK) Limited, London, UK; Director, Primary Dealers’ Bangladesh Limited (PDBL); Director, Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB); Director, Sonali Investment Limited (SIL); Director, Bangladesh Commerce Bank Limited (BCBL); Director, Central Depository Bangladesh Limited (CDBL) and Director, Industrial and Infrastructure Development Finance Company Limited (IIDFC).

He is also Advisor of Chakrabak, a monthly news magazine.