Capital deficit widens at state banks

Finance minister sits with them today to set the future course of action

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State banks’ capital shortfall surged by 357 percent in the last six months due to a sharp rise in their classified loans resulted mainly from various scams.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith will sit with top executives of these banks today to devise a way to make up for the deficits and decide their future course of action.
The banks had a capital shortfall of Tk 9,062 crore on June 30, a big jump from Tk 1,981 crore on December 31 last year, according to central bank statistics.
The rising capital shortfall in the banks had also prompted the International Monetary Fund to impose a condition — the government will have to recapitalise the banks to help them meet the deficits by the end of the current fiscal year.
And around Tk 15,000 crore has already been allocated in the current fiscal year’s budget to recapitalise the banks, a finance ministry official said.
However, before the recapitalisation plans take off, the existing memoranda of understanding (MoU) between the banks and the central bank will have to be tightened further, according to the IMF conditions. In the MoU, Bangladesh Bank imposes various conditions on the banks to improve their overall performance.
The IMF in a report in June said the government would have to provide an allocation for recapitalising the banks as a step to cover their capital shortfalls, with the actual injection of recapitalisation funds conditional on the strengthening of the MoUs following diagnostic examinations.
The central bank completed a diagnostic examination of the banks last month and found their conditions slipped to the worst level in the CAMELS (capital, asset, management, earnings, liquidity, and sensitivity) ratings.
The diagnostic examination focused on the banks’ asset quality, liquidity management, and internal audit and control.
An IMF team visited Bangladesh last month, and on the basis of the assessment of the diagnostic review they gave a draft MoU to the central bank to revise the existing one, the ministry official said. The revised MoU will have to be signed next month, the official added.
Of the state banks, scam-ridden Sonali has the highest amount of capital shortfall. Its Managing Director Pradip Kumar Dutta said their capital shortfall increased as they brought down their provision deficit.
Dutta also said their financial health improved much in the last six months, when they recovered default loans worth Tk 2,190 crore.
The finance minister will also review the banks’ overall performances in today’s meeting, the ministry official said.
The chairmen and managing directors of the four state banks apart, the chairmen and chief executives of BASIC Bank and Bangladesh Development Bank Ltd (BDBL) have been asked to attend the meeting.
Capital shortfall at BASIC, another scam-hit bank, was Tk 183 crore in June, though it had a surplus of Tk 71 crore in December last year, according to BB statistics.
However, BDBL had a capital surplus of Tk 673 crore in June.

Source: The Daily Star

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