Bangladesh's best domestic bank 2022: Eastern Bank
Eastern Bank, run by chief executive Ali Reza Iftekhar, has been a consistent presence in Asiamoney’s annual best bank awards. Over the last year, the firm went the extra mile to remind the market why.
In 2021, its tier-1 capital rose 11.4%, year on year, to Tk26.1 billion ($293 million). Overall assets jumped 15.4% to Tk388.8 billion, following an anaemic, 0.53% year-on-year increase in 2020. Net profits rose 13.5% in 2021 and return on equity was 15.5%, up from 15% in 2020.
It is easy to think that these and other successes merely reflect the opening up of the economy and excess central bank liquidity around the globe. This assumes, though, that Bangladesh’s financial sector was state-of-the-art before Covid-19 arrived.
But, as Iftekhar says, Eastern Bank’s continued leadership owes much to the strategic moves it made during the pandemic to rein in operating costs, leverage strong growth in traffic on its digital platforms and social media channels, and offer new and innovative services through the bank’s mobile apps.