The Bangladesh Bank Thursday brought Islamic banks on board in disbursing a Tk3,000 refinancing scheme meant for the low-income professionals, farmers and marginalised traders.
Under the shariah-based loan policies, the Islamic banks will lend from the scheme to the pandemic-hit clients via microfinance institutions, or directly to the customers, said a central bank circular Thursday.
The microfinance institutions will now be able to lend the clients after availing the money from five banks, in contrast to three they could avail earlier, said the circular.
The highest interest rate of the loan at client level is 9% if the money is borrowed from the microfinancing institutions. The rate is 7% if the client borrows it directly from the banks.
The refinancing scheme formed in September last year was said to continue for three years. In the latest circular, the central bank specified the period to 30 June 2023.
The Bangladesh Bank circular said banks will get the fund from the central bank at 0.5% interest, in contrast to 1% earlier. Besides, the microfinance institutions will get the money from the banks at 3% interest, in contrast to 3.5% earlier.
The highest lending for individual clients will be Tk75,000 while the highest financing for a minimum five-member group will be Tk3 lakh.
Small entrepreneurs can borrow the highest Tk15 lakh as an individual client, while entrepreneurs in a group can avail the highest Tk60 lakh.
For individual clients, the grace period of the loan will be three months while it will be six months for the entrepreneur category.
The Tk3,000 crore refinancing scheme was formed on 27 September last year as the first phase of the scheme completed on 30 June this year. The second phase disbursement has begun from 1 July.