Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The central bank of Bangladesh on Tuesday rationalized bank charges, fees and commissions to protect interests of depositors, investors and clients, officials said.

The Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country’s central bank, issued a master circular on schedule of changes on the day for both lending and deposits that would come into effect from January 1, 2010.

“We’ve taken the decision in consultation with the Association of Banks, Bangladesh (ABB),” a BB senior official said, adding that the central bank has taken the latest move after detecting inconsistencies in the charges, fees and commissions for maintaining saving accounts with the commercial banks.

“The central bank will rationalize the charges in consolation with stockholders time to time to facilitate the country’s business activities,” the BB official added.

The central bank asked the banks not to realize four types of charges — incidental charge, minimum balance fee, ledger fee and service charge.

“The banks will have to send its list of the charges and fees on a half yearly basis — in July and January to the central bank,” the BB said in its circular, adding that in case of any change in charges and fees, banks have to inform the related department of the central bank about it and post information on banks’ websites.

Different trade bodies, including the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka (MCCI), Bangladesh Garment Manufactures and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufactures and Exporters Association (BKMEA) earlier requested the central bank governor for taking necessary measures to bring down the banks’ commissions and service charges to a reasonable level.

However, the banks will be able to impose charge maximum BDT 300 and BDT 500 for saving and current accounts respectively.

Clients will be able to take balance confirmation certificates from banks for free twice a year, according to the circular. “If anyone asks for a statement more than twice a year, they may be charged a maximum of BDT 200,” the central bank said.

The central bank has lifted fees on premature and counter transaction asking the banks not to charges for such transactions.

“Costs of mailing, courier, telex and SWIFT must be on the basis of actual expenditure for letters of credit (LCs) transmission, amendment, confirmation, cancellation and foreign correspondence charge,” it added.

The charges for side LCs, deferred LCs, same percent cash margin LCs and back-to-back LCs will be 0.40 percent, 0.50 percent, 0.25 percent and 0.40 percent on a quarterly basis.

Charges for LCs advising, amendment and transfer have been fixed maximum at BDT 750 while the charges for LCs acceptable maximum at 0.40 percent and maximum at 0.20 percent locally on a quarterly basis.

Foreign correspondence, handling and document endorsement charges have been waived while the charges for export bills negotiation and export bills collection have been fixed at maximum 0.15 percent.

The charges for issuing back-to-back LCs, C&F certificates and certificates for realization of export prices have been set at BDT 500.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-23December09-12:06 pm (BST)