Agent Banking – which provides limited scale banking and financial services to the mostly underserved population – is booming in Bangladesh.
The amount of deposits reached Tk13,040 crore in September this year, an increase of 111% compared to Tk6,170 crore recorded in the same month last year.
During the same period, the amount of disbursed loans reached Tk1,086 crore, an increase of 255% compared to Tk306 crore recorded in September last year.
Bangladesh is also receiving a significantly large portion of the remittance through agent banking. In September this year, the country received Tk38,335 crore in remittance, which is a 221% increase from the Tk11,937 crore recorded in same month previous year.
Responding to a query, Senior Research Fellow of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) and economist Dr Nazeen Ahmed said, "Agent banking is providing services to people even in the rural areas, which is a great advantage.
"I believe that all the indicators of agent banking is increasing because more people are utilising this service due to the Covid-19 pandemic."
According to the Bangladesh Bank, 28 banks have taken licence for carrying out agent banking. Of these, 24 banks have launched the service so far.
As of September this year, the number of agents have reached 10,163, which is a 16% increase compared to the same month last year. During this period, the number of outlets have reached 14,016, which is a 49% increase when compared year-on-year.
The number of agent banking accounts has exceeded 82 lakh in September this year, which is a 107% increase from 40 lakh recorded in the same month last year.