Bangladesh's best domestic bank 2023: Eastern Bank
Eastern Bank Limited’s 30th year was not the celebration that CEO Ali Reza Iftekhar and his team might have anticipated. Between surging global interest rates, runaway inflation and geopolitical upheaval, 2022 could scarcely have been more challenging for Bangladesh’s financial system.
Yet performance-wise, Iftekhar made it a year to remember for shareholders. By virtually any metric, EBL was the industry standout. Net profits rose 9.73%, year on year, in 2022 as assets jumped 17.3% and Tier 1 capital increased to 14.56%.
Return on equity rose to 15.46% last year, while the non-performing loan ratio dropped to 2.78%, from 3.70% in 2021. Such figures serve as a reminder that EBL is a corporate governance exemplar in an economy not normally celebrated for transparency.
The bank weathered the global chaos by prioritizing compliance, controlling costs, product innovation, increasing internal productivity and strengthening customer service.
It also meant balancing liquidity and profitability as the bank scrambled to support individual customers, small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporates navigating the economic turbulence.
Yet EBL wins our award for best domestic bank largely because management kept a clear eye on future growth and competitiveness.