Bangladesh's best corporate and investment bank 2017: Eastern Bank
Eastern Bank, led by Ali Reza Iftekhar, remains one of Bangladesh’s best-run lenders. Its balance sheet is strong – it boasts one of the country’s lowest ratios of non-performing loans, at 2.69% as of the end of 2016. And its credit rating is solid, with Moody’s confirming the bank’s Ba3 rating with a stable outlook in February 2017, for a second straight year.
Bank chiefs and analysts interviewed in Dhaka for these awards unanimously praised Eastern Bank’s corporate banking platform. “They have been the best in this area for many years,” notes the CEO of a rival lender. Its corporate banking division has emerged as a key provider of project finance, trade finance and mergers and acquisitions advice.
Over the past three years, it has introduced 12 new-to-the-country financial products and services, and takes great pride in its corporate governance. Bangladesh’s capital markets are more of a work in progress.
Investment banking is a marginal pursuit in this south Asia nation, and the Dhaka Stock Exchange lacks depth. That is likely to change in the coming years, as a new generation of rising corporate stars taps the local market for capital.
And when they do, Eastern Bank is likely to be a key player. It regularly underwrites the deals that do pass through the DSE, an example being the initial public offering of Fortune Shoes, which raised Tk220 million ($3 million) in October 2016. A small deal, but bigger ones will come.