Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Most of the commercial banks in Bangladesh are now diversifying their investment portfolios along with carrying on with traditional banking to boost the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), bankers said.

The banks took the latest move to invest more funds in the SMEs sector through empowering women entrepreneurs as well as development of the agriculture sectors.

A leading private commercial bank (PCB) has decided to invest in soybean cultivation, processing and trading in the country’s eastern Laxmipur district, they added on Saturday.

“We’ve decided to invest funds for promoting soybean cultivation as well as soybean business in Laxmipur district,” Managing Director of the National Credit and Commerce (NCC) Bank Limited, a leading PCB, Nurul Amin told BBN in the capital, Dhaka.

The NCC Bank Limited took such a decision after successfully investing in maize cultivation at Hatibandha and Patgram upazilias in the country’s northern Lalmonirhat district, Mr. Amin added.

“We want to utilise our maize cultivation investment experiences in the Laxmipur soyabean cultivation project,” he said, adding that the bank has already discussed the matter with local administration for launching a long term financing project on soybean.

Laxmipur Sadar, Lowrence Bazar, Hajir Hat (bazar), Kadirponditerhat, Ramgati Bazar, Raipur Bazar and Hydergonj Bazar are main soybean market in the district.

On the other hand, state-owned Agrani Bank Limited launched a special loan scheme in February last to encourage overseas employments.

Under the loan scheme, any overseas jobseeker can avail BDT 300,000 at the interest of 10 percent annually that would be repaid through remittances within three years.

“We’ve also planned to introduce another new product for Non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) within this year,” Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Agrani Bank Limited Syed Abu Naser Bukhtear told BBN in Dhaka.

BBN/SS/SSR/AD-31May09-1:32 am (BST)