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Bangladesh's best international bank 2017: Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered stands head and shoulders above its foreign peers in Bangladesh. HSBC has a solid local operation and a few other pan-Asian lenders are here in spirit, but no one can compete with the London-based, emerging market-focused lender.

StanChart’s country head and CEO, Abrar Anwar, told Asiamoney in Dhaka that Bangladesh was one of the bank’s “top-10” sovereign priorities, and it’s not hard to see why. This is one of the fastest-growing frontier markets, filled with people keen to learn and spend and make a better life for themselves. Moreover, it’s a market that, for the first time in years, isn’t riven with political conflict.

There is much to like here, a fact that StanChart, which posted domestic pre-tax profit of $180 million on total revenues of $281 million in the full year 2016, knows only too well. Its local finances are more than healthy; Standard Chartered was rated triple-A for the eighth straight year in 2016 by the country’s main credit rating agency, CRISL, and boasts a local capital adequacy ratio of 15.8%.

Few of its peers come close to matching its national presence, which includes 96 ATMs and 25 branches. It was the first lender, foreign or local, to issue credit cards, and remains the biggest domestic card distributor to this day. Around half of all local deposits with foreign banks are held by StanChart, which also accounted, at the end of 2016, for 79% of all advances extended to local customers by all foreign lenders.