Syed Mahbubur Rahman is the Managing Director and CEO of Dhaka Bank Limited. He holds over 27 years of experience in the Banking and Credit related service arena. Over the course of his career, Mahbubur has worked in various roles with some of the biggest names in the financial sector in the country such as BRAC Bank Limited, Prime Bank Limited, Citibank NA, Standard Chartered Bank, and IDLC Finance Limited.
He started his career in Saudi-Bangladesh Agricultural & Industrial Investment Co. (SABINCO) and has also served as a Director of BRAC EPL Investments Ltd, BRAC EPL Stock Brokerage Ltd, BRAC Saajan Exchange Ltd, bKash Ltd, BRAC IT Services Ltd and IIDFC Securities Ltd. Mahbubur is the Vice President of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh Limited. He was accorded with the prestigious ‘Asian Banker Leadership Achievement Award’ for Bangladesh for the period 2011-2013.
On the occasion of entering Dhaka Bank Limited’s 21st year, their MD and CEO pinpointed three aspects required for success: Energy, Experience, and Excellence. “At Dhaka Bank Limited, we believe that Energy is the main component necessary to make a strategy or mission successful. Experience helps fine tune our actions. Younger professionals have the energy while the seasoned professionals have the experience, with this combination we can strive towards excellence.”
He went on to discuss how he wants to turn Dhaka Bank Limited into the ultimate banking service providing platform, “We are going to expand our facilities for the customers. This is why we will be going for Agent Banking so that we can help the unbanked population in Bangladesh.” Dhaka Bank hopes to open ten new branches within this year while also launching new apps for their banking services.
Responding to a question regarding the next big challenge for the Banking sector, Mahbubur admitted that it was a major problem for so many banks to be competing and vying for the same market. “The NonPerforming Loans (NPL) are the main barriers to success for the banks which preventing the interest caps from dropping. The larger the NPL of a bank, the larger and more complex its burden. We need to be able to publish the list of defaulting parties, which will create social awareness and help us battle this default culture.” He also advocated for political decisions which would reduce the misgovernance of banks as it hampers the growth of the entire industry.
Mahbubur pinpointed the issue that Banks depend mainly on wholesale banking where they mostly cater to large corporations, midsized companies, international businesses, government entities and so on. “With Dhaka Bank, we’re aiming to shift the focus to retail banking so that we can cater to the needs of the individuals and SMEs better.
When asked about the reliability of credit cards he spoke of how scams still occur in developed nations. However, banks are still trying their utmost to safeguard against any fraudulent activities. “People are becoming increasingly reliant on credit cards. We need to make sure they can safely use them without any fear. As we at Dhaka Bank want to focus on improving customer service, it is imperative that the services we provide through our credit cards can meet the customers’ expectations.”
He went on to discuss the issue of Human Resources for banks as every year around two hundred thousand people are in the job market looking for banking jobs. However, it is extremely difficult to pick out the most qualified and efficient ones from that pool. “We are choosing people who have proper reasoning skills. We’ve learned from past experiences that it is helpful to have employees who have good analytical skill. The Banking profession requires perseverance and diligence so analytical skills will help in that regard.”
When broaching the subject of cyber security he emphasized on not staying idle in this continuously changing global stage. “Cyber security issues are of the highest priority and we need more checks and balances at every stage. The recent major heist had some human involvement otherwise they would have been succesful. Bangladesh Bank has also become more cautious and vigilant by regularly processing and checking all their information.” As the economy is growing at a rate of around 6-7% each year, Mahbubur stressed the need for the growth of our business process as well.
Expressing his optimistic view of the future, he spoke of Bangladesh’s immense potential even though the cost of doing business is rising. The country has to overcome its barriers and move forward while streamlining its rules and regulations.
Dhaka Bank was listed on the Stock Market in 2000. The Bank’s net profit for 2015 was Tk 151 crore, while the Bank deposited around 1-2% of its net profit to the Dhaka Bank Foundation which works for the development of the society in areas of health, education and sports.
Currently, the Bank has around 87 branches including two Islami Bank Branches, 53 ATMs, 19 ADMs and 3 SME services centers, one Offshore Banking Unit, One Business Kiosk and six Brokerages under Dhaka Bank Securities Limited.