Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The central bank of Bangladesh is likely to take a hardline approach against the commercial banks that are charging higher commissions and fees for their services, officials said on Saturday.

The Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country’s central bank, will now show rigidity in some of its activities including issuance of license for authorized dealer (AD) branch, generally known as foreign exchange branch, and approval for opening of new branches.

The indirect intervention may take place after receiving opinions from the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh (ABB) by August 27 about fixation of commissions and fees, recommended by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), the central bank officials added.

“We’ll take such measures against the banks that will not follow our advices relating to charges properly,” a BB senior official said.

The central bank may issue a fresh guideline on the fixation of commissions and charges for some specific services, provided by the banks to their clients, taking into account the recommendations of trade bodies and the ABB, the BB official added.

The ABB is now preparing a reply mentioning its latest position on the issue within the stipulated time, set by the BB earlier.

“We’ll send reply to the central bank clarifying our position on the issue by August 27,” ABB Chairman K Mahmood Sattar told BBN without elaborating.

The central bank of Bangladesh is now reviewing the latest position of service charges and commissions following allegation made by different trade bodies to the BB governor recently, the BB officials noted.

The bank charges their clients BDT 1200 and BDT 3000 for courier under export bill negotiation while they charge between BDT 1200 and BDT 2400 for letter of credit (LC) amendment, according to the FBCCI study report that was submitted to the BB earlier.

The FBCCI has prepared the report on the basis of data collected from 11 commercial banks, which was submitted to authorities concerned for taking necessary action.

Some banks take BDT 500 as LC advising charge while some other banks take BDT 250 for the same service. For LC transfer, some banks charge BDT 750 while others charge from BDT 300 to BDT 500, according to the FBCCI report.

“The commissions and service charges will be brought down at a minimal level to facilitate the country’s business activities,” Acting President of the FBCCI Abul Kashem Ahmed said, adding that the FBCCI, the country’s apex trade body, has already mentioned about what should be the reasonable charges and commissions in its recommendations.

The BB earlier issued a guideline on the basis of recommendations from a high-powered committee, the central bank official said, adding that the BB thinks that there is more scope to rationalize the rates of commissions and charges.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-23August09-2:53 am (BST)