The Bangladesh Bank will inquire about Islami Bank's alleged lending irregularities, said a top central bank official, as recent media reports mentioning loans worth several thousands of crore of taka to ghost companies caused concerns among the clients.
"The Bangladesh Bank inspects and supervises everything according to the banking guidelines. Everything will happen accordingly," GM Abul Kalam Azad, spokesperson of the central bank, told The Business Standard on Sunday.
"In special cases, inspections are conducted after specifying and approving the terms of reference," said Abul Kalam Azad, adding this is how the central bank is going to perform the supervision.
There are recent incidents of taking loans of thousands of crores of taka from Islami Bank by ghost companies and fake addresses. At least three such firms borrowed Tk900 crore each just the next month of company registration.
As the irregularities grabbed the headlines, many Islami Bank clients became worried about their deposits with the reputed private bank.
According to a report of The Business Standard on Sunday, MediGreen, a newly registered company, secured Tk900 crore in loan from Islami Bank in October, just a month after getting registered with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies (RJSC) for setting up a trading business.
Another company, S.S Straight Line, obtained registration on 3 August from RJSC and applied to the VIP Road branch of Islami Bank for a loan on 23 August. The bank approved a loan of Tk900 crore on 18 September without collateral, as the loan documents show.
Marts Business was registered on 11 September and applied to the Farmgate branch of Islami Bank on 28 September for a loan of Tk900 crore. The bank approved the loan on 24 October without taking collateral, according to the loan documents.
Each of the three companies which have secured Tk2,700 crore in loans from Islami Bank has used fake office addresses, which clearly demonstrates that these are shell companies and the real beneficiaries of these loans are anonymous, and the loans were given for the same purposes.
Besides, a Bangla national daily published a report recently suggesting about Tk7,000 loans by Islami Bank in similar ways. The report said that the loans were taken against eight firms this year.
The ghost companies availed another Tk2,320 crore loans from Social Islami Bank (SIBL) and First Security Islami Bank similarly. According to the report, the firms altogether owe around Tk9500 crores to these three banks.