Bangladesh's best domestic bank 2018: Brac Bank
Brac Bank’s straight-talking chief executive, the Standard Chartered veteran Selim Hussain, hit the ground running when he arrived in November 2015.
In the two years that Hussain has been in the chair, Brac Bank’s profits have soared from Tk2.34 billion ($28.2 million) for the year before he arrived to Tk3.97 billion ($47.83 million) up to the first nine months of 2017.
With another quarter to be reported, Dhaka analysts believe Brac’s profits may well top Tk5 billion ($60 million) for the year. If that happens, it would mark yet another milestone for Brac Bank and Hussain in 2017, after Brac Bank became the first Bangladeshi bank to reach a market capitalization of $1 billion.
Brac Bank has neatly caught Bangladesh’s journey from poverty straitjacket to middle-income developing country status. That march is led by legions of small traders and manufacturers whom Brac Bank has captured as customers in numbers.
Hussain says his small and medium-sized enterprise book now accounts for around 40% of Brac Bank’s total loan portfolio. In addition, its 51% stake in the country’s dominant mobile payments operator bKash has also helped lift presence and profits.
That’s all good news for shareholders, primarily the world’s biggest non-government organization, the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee (BRAC), which span off what was then essentially a micro-financier focused on Bangladesh’s army of largely undocumented small business people.
BRAC now owns 44% of the bank, which has generated dividend yields of 30% for shareholders in each of the years since Hussain arrived.