Dhaka Bank shapeshifting with pandemic
When the majority of banks are struggling to survive from the ongoing financial meltdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Dhaka Bank has introduced a novel banking product that will help clients open their account from home.
The lender rolled out the product named "Account from Home" in mid-May to help clients open accounts by way of maintaining social distance, Emranul Huq, managing director of the bank, told The Daily Star in an interview recently.
The agents of the lender now deliver welcome pack at customers' doorstep (maintaining health and safety standard) including free debit card and cheque book and collect documents with their signature.
The banks' accounts are increasing at a faster pace after the product's launch, Huq said.
The lender, which marked its 25th anniversary on July 5, invested nearly $7 million last year to upgrade its online platform as part of its effort to make both the digital and virtual banking vibrant.
"This has helped run our business to a great extent at a time when banks from across the globe encourage clients to do banking while sitting from home to control the spread of the pandemic," Huq said.
The lender has already introduced a good number of digital products riding on the investment, which are serving its clients, he said.
Another virtual banking product namely "Dhaka Bank Trade Cloud" has recently been introduced, which now helps clients to open letters of credit sitting from their home and office.
The move is allowing clients to submit all export and import-related documents digitally. The businesses are being allowed to carry out trade-related procedures just by turning up at a branch once.
The bank, which commenced its commercial operation in 1995, is one of the leading players in trade-based financing in Bangladesh. It accounts for more than 3 per cent of the country's total trade volume.
Dhaka Bank initially started its journey with only one corresponding bank to do its foreign exchange related banking, but the number now stands at 450, in what can be viewed as the lender's growing acceptance across the globe.
"We are maintaining a credit line with 30 global banks and two multilateral organisations – International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank.
They have provided a remarkable amount of guarantee and funded loans due to Dhaka Bank's strong brand image, said Huq, who was promoted to the post of MD in February from the previous position of additional managing director. He has been with Dhaka Bank for 23 years now.
The lender is now campaigning to popularising its online product namely "Dhaka Bank Go" such that clients do their banking smoothly including inter-bank fund transfer, utility bill payment, mobile phone recharge and pay tuition fee for educational purpose.
Banks must improve their digital and virtual banking as the pandemic has given a lesson that manual banking is not possible all the time.
"Improving the skill in manpower is our core target in the days ahead. And we will make tech-savvy manpower to keep up with the time," Huq said.
Quality human asset, technology-based advancement and good corporate governance have been the lender's focus since its inception.
The principles have already given several awards.
Dhaka Bank received 9th IFC Trade Award 2019 as a Best Issuing Bank in South Asia for best utilisation and performance of the Global Trade Finance Program limit maintained with IFC.
Besides, the bank has been awarded 'Bank of the Year-2018 in Bangladesh' as the industry standard for banking excellence from The Banker (UK) for its strong management, sound business model, banking innovations and prudent Risk approach.