Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Most of the commercial banks hiked interest rates on deposits by nearly 3.0 percentage points in January this year, although lending rate remained almost unchanged, officials said.

The banks are offering interest rates up to 13 percent in January, up 10.47 per cent on December last, while the rate for savings accounts rose to 9.50 per cent from 9.0 per cent, according to the central bank statistics released on Thursday.

Bangladesh Bank officials said at least 22 commercial banks out of 47 increased interest rates on deposits this month to meet their growing demand for liquidity.

But private banks agreed to cut interest rates on deposits to 12 per cent Sunday, from the current 13 per cent.

The Association of Bankers Bangladesh (ABB) took the decision at a meeting Tuesday, with its chairman K Mahmood Sattar in the chair.

“We’ve already requested our member banks to bring down interest rates by Sunday,” ABB vice-Chairman Nurul Amin said, adding that the ABB will meet next month to review the overall interest rate situation in the country’s banking system.

On April 19, 2009, the central bank asked commercial banks to keep lending rate at 13 per cent in five specific areas to help mitigate the impact of the global economic meltdown.

The areas include agriculture, term loan to large and medium-scale industries, working capital to large and medium-scale industries, housing, and trade finance.

Currently, most of the banks prefer fixed deposits to savings by offering even higher interest rates to collect funds from general depositors, a senior treasury official said.

“At least 10 commercial banks are facing liquidity shortfall due mainly to the mismatch between their assets and liabilities,” a senior BB official said, adding that the central bank is monitoring the overall interest rate situation closely.

The inter-bank call money rate shot up a record 190 per cent on December 19 last, indicating that some commercial banks were facing a big mismatch in their fund position.

Term loans to large and medium-scale industries attract interest rates ranging between 11 per cent and 13 per cent while rates for small industries were fixed between 10 per cent and 18 per cent.

Similarly, interest rates on housing loans range from 9.99 per cent to 13.00 per cent and on consumer credits are between 11.50 per cent and 19.50 per cent.

Bank charge 10.25 to 13 per cent on working capital to large and medium scale industries and interests for small industries vary between 11.50 per cent and 17.00 per cent.

BBN/SI/AD-21Jan11-1:18 am (BST)