Relocation, transfer, replacement or ownership change of agent banking outlets will require the nod from the Bangladesh Bank, said a central bank notification Thursday.
However, no such approval will be required in case of closure of an outlet, said the circular.
Earlier, the central bank approval was not required for relocation, transfer, replacement or ownership change of the outlets.
The circular brought six changes such as biometric fingerprints for transactions, agent branch visits, deadline reduction for quarterly report submission, and included a new clause to the agent banking guideline.
Biometric fingerprints have been added to the guideline for new transactions and customer identification. The previous 2017 guideline on agent banking only mentioned verification of photo ID and personal identification number.
The revisions also call on banks to inspect agent branches quarterly or monthly. The previous guideline did not specify the time of the visit. In addition, the branch manager or branch nominated officers have been asked to closely monitor the banking activities of the agents associated with the concerned branch.
The circular also directed the banks to submit quarterly reports within seven days of the end of the quarter. According to the previous guideline, the time was 15 days.
A new clause on report submission has been added to the guideline for bringing more transparency in the agent banking sector. According to the clause, banks shall submit a quarterly report to the central bank's Financial Inclusion Department providing information on financial irregularities, fraud, forgeries, scams and accidents and actions taken by the banks. In case there is no such incident for the reporting quarter, a "Nil" report shall be submitted.
Bank Asia, one of the leading agent banking service providers, welcomed the new circular.
Md Arfan Ali, president and managing director of the bank, said they had already been practicing some of the measures mentioned in the circular.
"The revised guideline will help reduce our operational mismanagement. The introduction of two factor authentication will protect the interests of the customers and will also help the banks," he added.