BBN file photo

Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The central bank of Bangladesh has asked the banks, which have exchange houses aboard, to appoint agents in the respective countries to help revamping the flow of inward remittance.

The advice was made at a view-exchanging meeting with senior executives of top 20 remittance-recipient banks at the central bank headquarters in Dhaka on Tuesday with Bangladesh Bank (BB) Deputy Governor SK Sur Chowdhury in the chair.

“We may consider positively for appointing such agents if the banks concerned seeking permission from the central bank,” Mr. Sur Chowdhury told BBN in Dhaka.

He also said two private commercial banks (PCBs) have already appointed such agent in the United Kingdom and they get positive result.

Earlier, Prime Bank Limited and BRAC Bank Limited had appointed agents in the United Kingdom (UK) to raise the flow of remittances from that country.

Talking to BBN, Ahmed Kamal Khan Chowdhury, managing director of the Prime Bank Limited, said the number of transactions has increased by 36 per cent from the UK after the appointing of 10 agents in the country in July this calendar year.

“We’re planning to appoint such agent in other countries, too, to expedite our inflow of remittance,” he said while replying to a query.

Mr. Kamal also believes that the flow of inward remittances will increase if the banks concerned set such agents in the respective countries.

But he warned that the banks will have to ensure proper monitoring of such agents for avoiding anti-money laundering and terrorist- financing risks.

Currently, 29 exchange houses of 15 commercial banks are operating across the globe to expedite the inflow of foreign currencies from the wage earners.

Besides, all banks have already set up 1184 drawing arrangements abroad for collection of remittances from different parts of the world.

The central bank’s latest moves came against the backdrop of a sharp fall in inward remittances in the month of September despite close monitory by the governing bank.

At the meeting, the banks were also asked to build up mass awareness both at home and abroad about advantages of sending money through banking channel using different TVCs (television commercials).

All the banks have also been asked to extend cooperation in ensuring mandatory opening of account of each outbound worker before their departure for foreign destinations.

The September inflow of remittance dropped by more than 39 per cent to US$853.73 million—the lowest monthly receipt in seven years—from $1.42 billion in August 2017. It was $1.06 billion in September last calendar year.

However, the flow of inward remittances increased by 4.38 per cent to $3.39 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of the current fiscal year (FY 2017-18) from $3.24 billion in the same period of FY2016-17.

BBN/SSR/AD