Islami Bank reform: Core policies to remain unchanged

Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) will have no fundamental changes in its policy and will continue operating under the Shariah law although there have been changes in the board of the bank. Arastoo Khan, the new chairman of IBBL made the statement on his first day at office while speaking at a press conference at IBBL headquarters in the capital's Dilkusha on Sunday. The briefing was arranged at a short notice to clarify the board's position and to   dispel confusion among people, employees, customers and general shareholders.

"The preamble will not be violated. We would like to assure the people of the country and customers of the bank that the basic Sharia law has to be strictly followed," said Arastoo. The chairman also said, "This is only a change in the management, not in the fundamental principles. The preamble will not be violated. We would like to assure the people of the country and customers of the bank that the basic Sharia law has to be strictly followed." "Changes can happen any time; in the state, in the government and in the cabinet," he added.

Talking about corporate social responsibility or CSR activities, Arastoo Khan stated that it will also continue as before; the management and the board want to make sure that the money for the CSR or any other fund falls into the right hands. "No inappropriate or improper use of money for the CSR will be tolerated," he added. Arastoo Khan, however, said that the bank will now aim at investing in big government projects.

"Islami Bank has a huge amount of assets. The big projects of the government will be financed through the hank, because the government never defaults. So these projects will be funded through the finance ministry though the profit will be less," he said. A former secretary and former chairman of Bangladesh Commerce Bank, Arastoo said he is looking to make the investments on public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements.

The paid-up capital of the Islami Bank, the largest private bank in Bangladesh, is Tk 16.1 billion. Its market capital is Tk 48.29 billion. The bank's net profit in 2015 was Tk 3.15 billion. Arastoo Khan said the employees of the bank are fearing for their job after the change. "The new management will not sack anyone. Everyone will retain their job. If someone does something wrong, he or she will lose job," he added. The new chairman also observed that the bank had no representation of women. He said now the bank will recruit more women and promote the existing female employees New Vice-Chairman Parvez said, "People had made indirect comments about the previous board. So changes to the board have been brought." Terming the change a "good sign" for the banking sector, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said that the government was observing the situation.

IBBL went through a massive reformation of board on Thursday at the 240th board meeting when the chairman, managing director and a vice-chairman stepped down. Mustafa Anwar, Abdul Mannan and Azizul Haq have meanwhile resigned from the posts of IBBL chairman, managing director and vice-chairman respectively on health grounds.

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