Published at: The Financial Express, February 28, 2019
Mercantile Bank Ltd (MBL) during the last three years witnessed a solid growth in all parameters of businesses due to concerted efforts, performed by a team of committed and dedicated professionals.
MBL is now in the process of establishing 2 new subsidiary companies : MBL Asset Management Limited (including venture capital) and MBL MyCash Limited.
“These two proposed subsidiaries will be managed by highly qualified and experienced industry professionals,” Kazi Masihur Rahman, the outgoing Managing Director & CEO of MBL told the FE in an interview recently.
“I am very pleased that the core duties and responsibilities performed by my fellow colleagues jacked the ranking of the MBL up in all business areas during the last three years after my joining here in early January of 2016,” he said.
The professional banker, who knows every nook and crany of the banking sector, retires on February 22 after trailblazing many new and innovative products and services for the sector both home and abroad during his four-decade long career.
“My three-year career as Managing Director & CEO of Mercantile Bank Limited was built upon my thirty-eight years hands on experiences in financial industry,” he said.
“During my stewardship, MBL accomplished several rip-roaring successes, including the milestone operating profit of over BDT 7.0 billion in 2017, snaring the position among the top ten banks, strong balance sheet & good asset quality etc,” he disclosed.
Balance sheet size increased to Tk 398.77 billion (39,877 crore) in 2018 against Tk 285.82 billion in 2016, deposits increased to Tk 23,196 crore in 2018 against Tk 16,488 crore in 2016, loans & advances increased to Tk 22,423 crore in 2018 against Tk 15,091 crore in 2016. Total import business in 2018 was Tk 19,638 crore against Tk 13,976 crore in 2016. Total export business was Tk 15,830 crore in 2018 against Tk 11,303 crore in 2016.
“Looking back, I can say without hesitation that MBL’s performance today is much better in all respects than it was three years ago, and I am confident it will be even better in future,” Mr Kazi Masihur Rahman said.
The core business areas of MBL are corporate lending, trade finance, treasury operation, and OBU. In addition, it has enlarged its operational areas in retail, agriculture and SME banking.
A re-implementation project has recently been kicked off for upgrading CBS T24 from version R-10 to R-18.
MBL has a diversified loan portfolio for economic development of the country. It encourages in all areas of business, such as, agriculture, commodities, textile, retail, jute & jute products, RMG, SME, leather, textile, import, export etc. Moreover, for encouraging young entrepreneurs (Start-up) a new product “Udayan” has been launched.
Asked what would be his advices to his successors, Mr Kazi Masihur Rahman said the nature of banking business is absolutely service-oriented as well as the motto of business is to ensure regulatory compliance and increase shareholders value by providing highest level of IT-driven products and services.
“Stuck up and classified advances should be reduced aggresively by way of extensive follow-up and monitoring, legal action, counseling and ensuring good recovery culture”.
Bank should work sedulously with the faith of investors. Its operation must be focused on the return of investors by compliance of all rules and regulations. Quality of assets must be ensured.
For any financial institution, quality of human resources, technology and ethical standard needs to be developed for creating good image and ensuring sustainable growth. Strategic Management Audit is important for development. Internal corporate governance code should be followed for each every sphere of management activities.
Commenting on country’s basic weaknesses in banking profession, the career banker said : The first thing that came to my mind is lack of adequate knowledge and professionalism. The entire banking profession is built upon knowledge.
“To remain updated with the latest technology is a sine qua non to successfully tackle the challenging task. A good banker has to balance his day to day work along with his devotion for conceptual enrichment. Knowledge of technology is a must.”
Prior to joining MBL, Kazi Masihur Rahman served as CEO of Exim Bank Ltd and DMD of Prime Bank Ltd. He was engaged as Consultant of BGB for establishing Shimanto Bank Ltd.
He made debut in the banking career with Sonali Bank as a Probationary Officer in 1977 and served there in various capacities at Head Office and branches in Bangladesh and UK. In 1988, he joined BASIC Bank as Company Secretary and Head of Corporate Affairs.
He later moved to Mashreqbank, Dubai in 1990, wherein he served as a core team member in the re-structuring projects of Mashreqbank. After serving Mashreqbank for about 4 years, he joined United Saudi Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia in 1993 as Head of System and Procedures Department. In 1997, he joined Saudi Hollandi Bank, a joint venture of ABN AMRO Bank, and served the Bank for more than 6 years as Country Head of Trade Finance.
“My banking career at home and abroad has rewarded me profusely. No complaints, no regrets. It was indeed very much fulfilling. I feel very proud that I’m going to retire from my banking service as MD & CEO from Mercantile Bank Limited, a leading private commercial bank in Bangladesh,” he opined.
“Due to the unbridled corruption of a small section of unscrupulous people, the whole industry is now paying it dearly, but it should be and can be improved with the concerted effort of all stakeholders. We have many good bankers in the industry. I wish the bankers can do their job with dignity and respect as professionals,” he said.