Bangladesh's best international bank 2019: Standard Chartered
Standard Chartered is hands down the best foreign bank operating in Bangladesh. It opened its first branch there in 1948, acquired ANZ Grindlays in 2000, and snapped up a commercial banking business from American Express five years later. It now boasts 24 branches and booths dotted around seven cities, employing 2,100 people and providing services ranging from credit cards and auto finance to personal loans and Islamic banking.
Corporate and institutional clients, including many of the world’s biggest firms, automatically turn to StanChart in search of products including trade finance, cash management, foreign exchange, lending, securities and debt capital markets.
Every piece of raw data bolsters its claim to be Bangladesh’s best foreign bank. In 2018, Standard Chartered accounted for 8% of all external trade finance, 30% of all completed letters of credit and 25% of the onshore US dollar clearing business. It is the dominant custodian bank, and accounts for 63% of all small and medium-sized enterprise lending by foreign banks. Moreover, a strong onshore presence allows it to plan for the future.
Bangladesh’s garments industry may be geared to the fashion demands of Western firms and consumers, but big-ticket infrastructure and corporate investment is ever more likely to flow in from Japan, China, Singapore and India.
The biggest inbound FDI deal in recent years was the purchase by Japan Tobacco of local group Akij Group for $1.5 billion in August 2018. StanChart was exclusive financial adviser to Japan Tobacco on that deal. It also provided custodian and FX services to the Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses when they joined forces in February 2018 to buy a 25% stake in Dhaka Stock Exchange.
Speaking to Asiamoney, Standard Chartered’s country chief executive, Naser Ezaz Bijoy, flagged up the importance of the bank’s new China desk, which caters to more than 30 mainland companies in Mandarin, and its dedicated Japan- and India-focused relationship managers.