The Navy and Air Force have sought permission from the Bangladesh government to start commercial bank.In a letter to the prime minister, Navy chief Vice Admiral Muhammad Farid Habib has asked for clearance for the proposed Maritime Bank Ltd.Habib said this would ‘further facilitate’ financial services for those serving the Navy and the Air Force.The Navy wants to operate the bank through its commercial arm Nou Kalyan Foundation. It says the Air Force has ‘agreed’ to be a partner in the venture.It also said that they would file a formal proposal to the Bangladesh Bank after getting the prime minister’s permission on the matter.The finance ministry said they were aware about the navy chief’s initiative.“I am aware about the proposal, but I don’t know whether any decision has been reached on it,” Secretary to the Banking and Financial Institutes Division M Aslam Alam told greenwatchbd.com. The Vice Admiral said in his letter said that his force had a strength of 22,000 whose banking needs had grown.“The Navy is dealing with public and private funds more than ever before. The number of vessels serving for the UN peacekeeping mission has also increased,” the letter to the PM says.
It now uses different commercial banks to handle financial matters, the navy chief wrote, adding that a separate bank would make things easy and save public funds.The bank aims to invest in large projects in the maritime and aviation sector, especially export-import, shipbuilding and aviation, ports and in the blue economy.“Feasibility study by a well-known consulting agency says the bank would be able to play an important role in the country’s economic development process,” Vice Admiral Habib wrote.He sought the prime minister’s intervention to instruct the finance ministry and the central bank to clear their initiative. Bangladesh Army’s commercial arm, Sena Kalyan Foundation currently operates the Trust Bank Ltd.The Ansar-VDP Unnayan Bank, a specialised bank, operates for the Bangladesh Ansar and VDP, is owned by the government.The Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) also sought the government’s clearance for a bank of its own.A total of 56 commercial banks operate in Bangladesh now.In 2013, the government approved nine banks— six by local entrepreneurs and the rest to Non-Resident Bangladeshi initiatives.