The number of bank accounts with more than Tk1 crore in deposits increased by 3,412 to 86,037 in the April-June quarter of this year – when the Covid-induced economic shock was the most intense–from the previous quarter.
The amount of deposits in such accounts also rose by more than Tk25,312 crore during the period, according to a report by the Bangladesh Bank released on Monday.
As per the central bank's data, the total amount of accounts with more than Tk1 crore in deposits rose to over Tk5.41 lakh crore at the end of June–from nearly Tk5.16 lakh crore three months ago.
Such accounts represent just 0.077% of the country's 11.17 crore bank accounts.
These accounts constitute just a tiny portion of the country's total bank accounts but hold almost half of the total deposits in banks.
In the total over Tk12.64 lakh crore bank deposits, the share of these accounts increased to 42.81% at the end of June this year from 42.62% of over Tk12.10 lakh crore three months earlier.
Both the number of bank accounts with more than Tk1 crore in deposits and the amount of deposits in such accounts have been on the rise for long.
In 2019, the number of such accounts increased to 83,839 from 75,563 in December 2018.
While a small group of people were in possession of almost half of the cash in the country's banking sector, a large section of the remaining population struggled hard to survive the fallout of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The average income of urban slum dwellers and the rural poor has dropped by more than 80% following the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, according to a joint survey of the Power and Participation Research Centre and the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development.
Some 40% of the poor population and 35% of the vulnerable non-poor have already reduced their food consumption to cope with the situation, the survey found.
The central bank's data also showed the deposits in the bank accounts of the extreme poor–which were opened with just Tk10 as a deposit under the government's financial inclusion programme–has dropped by more than 23% to nearly Tk247 crore at the end of June from almost Tk323 crore three months ago.
The fact that a significant portion of bank deposits are held by a small percentage of the population hints that the rich are growing richer and the poor becoming poorer–raising concerns over possible social grievances and a deterioration of law and order.