BB asks six banks to launch mobile banking operation

The Bangladesh Bank (BB) issued a new deadline for the banks following their failure to run their MB operation within the stipulated time, central bank officials said.

Under the extended timeframe, two commercial banks will have to start their MB operations by today (May 31) and two others by July 31, 2012.

The remaining two banks have been asked to launch their MB within a reasonable time.

According to the central bank officials, the BB may take actions including cancellation of MB operating licence if the banks concerned fail to comply with the extended deadlines.

A total of ten banks are in the race to introduce the mobile banking in nominal stage while six banks are yet to start, BB officials said.

But only two banks have launched the mobile banking in full swing to reach the services to the unbanked people across the country, BB sources said.

Many of the commercial banks are still unable to start mobile bank operations mainly due to complicity in their agreement with mobile phone operators, causing delay in large amount of investment and marketing activities, related banks sources said.

Executive Director of BB Dasgupta Asim Kumar said mobile banking is like a project. So this initiative will take time to run including investment, marketing and needs an agent for providing this service.

BB is promoting the bank-led model as it will give the customers a lot of confidence. BB urged the telecom operators to form partnership with the banks. said a central banker.

According to BB statistics, BB has allowed 21 state owned Bank (SCBs), private commercial Bank (PCBs) and Foreign Commercial Bank (FCBs) to operate mobile banking. One foreign bank has shown reluctance to operate it. Five foreign banks are now operating banking in the country.

BB statistics say 2.37 lakh people have been registered with bKash (brack bank). Tk 1.18 billion have been transferred to beneficiaries by bKash until March, 2012. It targets to register at least 10 lakh.

On the other hand. Dutch-Bangla Bank has transferred Tk 880 million to their 1.72 lakh registered clients, according to BB statistics.

BB high official said only over 0.4 million people have been registered until March, 2012 for mobile banking, whereas the country has more than 85 million mobile phone users.

Over 0.6 million people will be registered by end of May, 2012, BB sources said,

Mercantile Bank and Bank Asia have began their mobile banking in limited version. 500 or more people have been registered in their operations.

BB sources said, ten banks are just now in preliminary stage about mobile banking although they have taken licenses many days ago. Rest of the six banks are yet to start any mobile banking at all.

Mobile banking was introduced on May 15, 2011 by Dutch Bangla Bank Ltd (DBBL). BRAC Bank introduced the service on July 21, 2011.

Two banks are also going to introduce m-banking throughout the country with the help of the government union information centers.

BB sources said BB has issued guidelines for mobile banking in last 2011. In the guideline it fixed a time frame for starting mobile banking within six months. Later the time frame was relaxed due to some procedurals complicity

Central bank allowed first three banks to start mobile banking last 2009.

All the 4,501 Union Information Service Center (UISCs) of the country will be brought under mobile banking services.

A total of 1,500 UISCs have already been brought under mobile banking services.