Eastern Bank Ltd (EBL), a leading private bank of Bangladesh, will open its first representative office in Guangzhou of China today to explore the growing business opportunities between the two Asian economies.
The bank in a statement yesterday said this was the first footprint of any Bangladeshi financial institution in China, the world’s second largest economy after the United States of America.
“We are best known for our strength in international business and trade finance, and our core competencies include commendable creditworthiness and access to global market through the largest correspondent banking network,” said Ali Reza Iftekhar, managing director and CEO of EBL.
“As Bangladesh’s economy is growing fast, we feel we can contribute more to the economy with our expertise in international business and trade finance,” he said.
Guangzhou will be the EBL’s third overseas office after Hong Kong and Myanmar. The bank first went to Hong Kong with its finance company -- EBL Finance (HK) Ltd -- in 2013. The EBL says its Hong Kong office has been a successful venture with sound professional management and a skilled team earning profits regularly.
With an initial capital of Tk 1.47 crore only, it made an accumulative profit of nearly Tk 42.5 crore till January 31, 2018, and out of that amount, Tk 23.5 crore has been repatriated to Bangladesh.
The EBL has recently opened a renminbi account (Chinese currency Nostro account with the Bank of China) as the Bangladeshi bank has started LC (letter of credit) business in the yuan.
The EBL said it maintains excellent banking relations with Chinese banks and corporate houses operating in Bangladesh.
Also, the bank is working with the major Chinese banks including the Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and Agricultural Bank of China.
The EBL has recently partnered with China UnionPay and has opened a “China desk” to deal with business originating in China. The bank also collects Chinese visa fees for the embassy in Bangladesh.
China is now the largest trading partner of Bangladesh. The total volume of trade between the two countries stood at $12.4 billion in fiscal 2017-18. Based on the current growth rate, analysts and bankers said this bilateral trade volume may reach $18 billion by 2021.