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Public banks seems to have become adapted to loan scams

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08th-Feb-2018       
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ANOTHER big scale loan scam has brought the state-run Janata Bank under scrutiny. This time the amount of scam is a staggering 5,504 crore Taka. According to the public bank's loan sanctioning stages there are at least five layers of scrutiny. But in case of Anon Tex Group, all of these layers seemed to have been ineffectual. Had the five layers of enquiry been properly followed - the apparel exporter could not have been able to take out loans - despite failing to pay back its previous loans. Moreover, Janata Bank's loans to the group of companies accounted for more than 25 percent of the state-owned bank's capital base, which was in violation of the single borrower exposure limit set in the Bank Company Act 1991.
The group, reportedly has an annual turnover of $150 million, has failed to make regular installment payments while leaving Janata Bank with a massive hole in its capital base. The loans were disbursed between 2010 and 2015 from the state-owned bank's corporate branch.
What we now witness is - it isn't only the board of directors and the top management who are responsible for disbursement of huge amounts of loans - the entire management of at least one our  state-run banks is in some capacity involved in the scams. This has happened because of zero accountability in our banking sector. Especially, in the case of Janata Bank it appears the entire bank was involved in the latest scam. The former chairman of Janata Bank, also a noted professor of economics is reported to have said to journalists that the group had set up industrial units following 'European standards' and its loan repayment was 'very good' during his stint as the chairman. Interestingly it was during his time when most of the loans were sanctioned.
Whoever the Chairman, MD or the directors of Janata Bank- none can escape their responsibilities. Also the culture of blame game and mudslinging will do us no good. A prompt and in-depth investigation must dig out the truth and should send all of the offenders behind bars. We don't want our banks to become hostages to dubious businessmen.

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