The total remittance inflow through the agent banking channel in the country has crossed the Tk1 lakh crore milestone since its inauguration in 2013, giving a boost to rural savings, according to the Bangladesh Bank.
The central bank data shows, remittance worth more than Tk1.06 lakh crore has been distributed through agent banking till September this year.
The deposit in the agent banking channel stood at Tk30,325 crore at the end of September this year, marking a 33% rise in the last one year.
People concerned said customers are gradually interested in agent banking as many banks are opening agent banking outlets. Besides, the remittance growth is driving the sector further.
According to the central bank, 31 banks are currently running 20,177 agent banking outlets. Of these, 17,384 are in rural areas and 2,793 in the urban regions.
Mohammad Ziaul Hasan Molla, deputy managing director and head of agent banking of Bank Asia, told The Business Standard, "Remittance is a major contributor to the deposit growth of this sector. So far, remittance worth $12.5 billion has been distributed through this channel.
"The channel is delivering remittances at the doorsteps of rural areas. Proper encouragement for the sector would help increase the amount of remittance in the country."
The sector has already disbursed loans of Tk685 crore at the end of September. Stakeholders said they are emphasising on disbursing more loans through this channel.
According to the Bangladesh Bank, in the last one year, loan disbursements through the agent banking channel have increased by around Tk200 crore.
Selim RF Hussain, chairman of Association of Bankers Bangladesh (ABB) and managing director and CEO of Brac Bank, said, "Still a large part of the country's working population are outside the banking sector. They are gradually being brought into the channel through agent banking. However, compared to the amount of deposit collected through agent banking, the loan disbursement is much less."
Mentioning that loans are being disbursed to the city areas by collecting deposits from villages, he said, "Loan disbursement should be increased in the rural areas to promote the economy there. BRAC Bank is trying to increase loans in villages. Other banks should also come forward in this regard.
"Opportunities are there to lend money to the Cottage, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (CMSME) sector in the rural areas. We need to exploit the opportunity."