Brac Bank has paid tribute to its founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed KCMG on the 20th anniversary of the bank.
It organised a webinar on 8 January with some of the country's eminent economists to discuss Sir Fazle's contribution to financial inclusion in Bangladesh, reads a press release.
The virtual discussion also commemorated the second death anniversary of Sir Fazle. The dialogue reflected on his lifelong work to bring the unbanked missing middle into the formal financial ecology.
Chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, former governor of Bangladesh Bank and Executive Chairperson of Unnayan Shamannay Dr Atiur Rahman, Executive Director of Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh and Chairman of Brac Bank Dr Ahsan H Mansur, and Managing Director & CEO of Brac Bank Selim RF Hussain, shared their thoughts and memories in the session.
Sir Fazle's contributions to win over poverty and shape global development over the past 50 years are unparalleled. Beginning in the early 1970s, shortly after Bangladesh's independence, he established Brac and transformed it into the largest and most-effective non-governmental organisation in the world. He has set an extraordinary example of sustainable development, ethics, philanthropy, and most importantly, valuing human beings, added the statement.
Speaking at the session, Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, said: "Sir Fazle believed in integrated development approach covering financial inclusion, education as well as health. He had the foresight and power to innovate for creating a society based on equality. He had a complete life that positively uplifted lives of millions both at home and abroad."
Dr Atiur Rahman, said, "Sir Fazle was an aesthetic personality. He pondered about the multi-dimensional upliftment of the people and sustainable development of the country. Brac Bank and bKash are trying their best to live up to his legacy. He will always be inspirational to the people of Bangladesh and the new generation alike."
Dr Ahsan H Mansur, reminisced, "Sir Fazle was passionate about SME Banking to provide access to finance to the unbanked. He dreamt of Brac Bank's SME portfolio reaching 50% of the total asset portfolio. It is so satisfying that we have been able to make his dream come true.
"Brac Bank's SME loan portfolio now constitutes 53% of the total asset book. But I think we should further expand our loan portfolio for women entrepreneurs, which goes in spirit with Sir Fazle's mission of women's empowerment."
Selim RF Hussain said, "Sir Fazle had always said - small is beautiful, big is impactful. He gave us the space to scale up our operations and reach more people and demography for a more positive impact. He left behind a rich legacy for generations to follow. A lighthouse for all, his influence and teaching will go beyond ages."
The institutions founded by Sir Fazle, such as Brac Microfinance, Brac Bank and mobile financial service provider - bKash - stand true to his commitment to financial inclusion bringing the unbanked missing middle under the purview of the mainstream financial system.