In Bangladesh, you will find 58 commercial banks, among which 6 are state-owned, 9 foreign commercial banks, and 43 private commercial banks. The question that might arise in your mind is, among all the banks, what does the term “commercial bank” refer to? Basically, commercial banks are financial institutions that provide different banking services, including accepting deposits, granting various loans, offering basic financial products such as savings accounts, etc., to generate profit. Therefore, the banks you would find around are mostly commercial banks.
Though all the banks try to attract their clients with new packages and benefits, not all of them can successfully gain the trust of the masses. Because the banks provide diverse services, their customer bases are likewise different. In this article, we are going to list the top ten best commercial banks operating in Bangladesh. Plus, we will also provide a brief idea about the bank’s origin and current operations.
Top 10 Commercial Banks
From the 58 commercial banks listed by the Bangladesh Bank, we have picked the top ten names based on their popularity, network across the country, total deposits, number of clients, etc.
1. Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd (IBBL)
Islami Bank Bangladesh ranks top on our list because it has the largest banking network across the country, with 357 branches. The bank was founded by Saudi and Kuwaiti investors in 1983, being the first Islamic bank in Southeast Asia. It provides commercial banking services based on Islamic Shari’ah law. IBBL serves its clients through 357 branches, 60 sub-branches, 1,200 agent banking outlets, 660 own, and about 11,000 shared ATM and CRM booths.
It is a public limited company and is listed with both Dhaka Stock Exchange Ltd. and Chittagong Stock Exchange Ltd. IBBL has reached the milestone of one trillion deposits in 2020. In addition, it alone mobilizes 32% of the total foreign remittance of the country. The number of clients for the bank is 15 million now. Md. Nazmul Hassan, Ph. D, is the current chairman of the bank, and the headquarter is located at Islami Bank Tower, 40, Dilkusha C/A, Dhaka – 1000.
2. Dutch Bangla Bank Ltd. (DBBL)
Dutch Bangla Bank Limited started its operations formally in 1996 as the first joint venture bank in Bangladesh, focusing on financing high-growth manufacturing industries. It was initiated with the combined effort of Bangladeshi shareholders led by M Sahabuddin Ahmed and the Dutch company – FMO. The bank currently has 220 branches and the largest fleet of ATM booths in the country. According to the bank’s Annual Report- 2021, there are a total of 4,917 active ATMs and 1,342 Fast Tracks to date, which ensures easy access to its banking services for its clients.
This significantly contributed to the gigantic client base of the bank. Moreover, in May 2022, DBBL mobilized 133.90 million USD foreign remittances and secured the second position in this concern. DBBL also concentrates on its corporate social responsibility. Due to the huge amount of investment in this sector, the bank has become the largest bank donor in Bangladesh. Mr. Sayem Ahmed is the current chairman of the bank, and it is headquartered at 47 Motijheel Commercial Area, Dhaka-1000.
3. Sonali Bank Ltd. (SBL)
The largest commercial bank operating in Bangladesh, Sonali Bank Limited, was set up as ‘Sonali Bank’ in 1972 under the Bangladesh Banks’ Nationalization Order. Later in 2007, it was converted to a Public Limited Company with full ownership of the government and started functioning as Sonali Bank Limited. To expand its activities, the bank founded Sonali Exchange Co. Inc., a full subsidiary company in the US, in 1994. Moreover, Sonali Bank Ltd., along with the government of Bangladesh, initiated the operation of Sonali bank (UK) in 2001.
Currently, the bank has 1227 branches across the country and 2 more branches abroad to serve its clients. It has also offered Islamic banking services through dedicated branches in different districts of Bangladesh since 2010. Mr. Ziaul Hasan Siddiqui is the current chairman of SBL, and its headquarter is at 44 Motijheel Commercial Area, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
4. The City Bank Ltd.
The City Bank Limited is a first-generation private commercial bank in Bangladesh and has been operating for 39 years. Being one of the pioneers of commercial banking in the country, City Bank offers premium services to its large customer base through its 132 branches. It is the only licensee of issuing, managing, and promoting American Express cards in Bangladesh. City Bank holds a 35% market share in the card segment, serving approximately half a million subscribers with a total of 1.2 million cards in the country.
Moreover, its real-time online banking feature offers retail banking, corporate finance, SME banking, women banking, asset management, equity brokerage, and Islamic banking through a full-fledged Islamic banking branch too. For international operations, the bank has established 10 branches abroad and 2 representative offices in Malaysia and Hong Kong. The bank is headquartered at 136 Gulshan Avenue, Circle 2, Gulshan, Dhaka, Bangladesh, and is currently operating under the leadership of Aziz Al Kaiser (Chairman).
5 Agrani Bank Ltd. (ABL)
Agrani Bank Limited is a fully state-owned commercial bank that was established by merging 2 Pakistani banks, ‘Habib bank’ and ‘Commerce bank,’ after the liberation of Bangladesh. It was formed under the Bangladesh Banks (Nationalization) Order 1972. Currently, the bank has 967 branches to serve its clients, and it is very popular across the country due to the quality of its services. It is the first nationalized bank in the country to offer agent banking, and more than 400 of its agent booths deliver banking services in rural areas of Bangladesh.
ABL has five subsidiaries: a merchant bank, a remittance house in Singapore, Malaysia, and Canada, and an SME financing company. The bank is headquartered at 9/D Dilkusha Commercial Area, Dhaka – 1000, Bangladesh, and Zaid Bakht is the current chairman of the organization.
6. BRAC Bank Ltd.
BRAC Bank Limited is a private commercial bank in Bangladesh, operated by the development organization BRAC. Focusing on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the bank started its journey in 2001, and within its 20 years of operation, it has set up 187 branches, 705 agent banking outlets, and 373 ATM booths across the country to serve its clients. It is the only member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) from Bangladesh.
One of the leading Mobile Financial Service providers in Bangladesh, BKash is a subsidiary of BRAC Bank. It has provided the people of rural Bangladesh with money transfer facilities through the use of mobile phones. The other subsidiaries of this bank are BRAC EPL Investments Limited, BRAC EPL Stock Brokerage Limited, and BRAC Saajan Exchange Limited. The bank is headquartered at Anik Tower, 220/B Tejgaon Gulshan Link Road, Tejgaon, Dhaka-1208, and it is run under the chairman, Dr. Ahsan H. Mansur.
7. Bank Asia Ltd.
With the acquisition of two foreign banks, Bank of Nova Scotia and Muslim Commercial Bank Limited, Bank Asia Limited started its journey in 1999. The bank provides modern and innovative banking products and services to clients through its 129 branches. Moreover, Bank Asia wishes to open a bank account for every person in the country, irrespective of socio-economic class, with the goal of making Bangladesh free of poverty. Hence, it offers banking facilities to 5 million+ customers across the rural areas of Bangladesh through 5000+ outlets of agent banking.
In 2003, the Bank made headlines when its Initial Public Offering of shares was oversubscribed by 55 times, a record in Bangladesh’s capital market history. The bank aims to make the first-ever Digital Bank in Bangladesh for the future generation of banking services. It is run under the chairman A Rouf Chowdhury and headquartered at Bank Asia Tower, 32 & 34, Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Karwan Bazar, Dhaka.
8. United Commercial Bank (UCB)
In the middle of 1983, United Commercial Bank (UCB) began its journey and has since become one of the major first-generation banks in the country. In addition to reviewing and monitoring business loans, managing business financing risks, and pricing products, the Bank is firmly committed to promoting the SME sector as well. In addition, the Bank offers both incoming and outgoing remittance services to its customers. With a vast network of 215 branches, 580 ATM booths, 2 SME banking centers, and 1 offshore banking unit, the Bank has already made a distinct mark in the realm of Private Sector Banking in this country.
Since its debut in 2006, UCB Cards have shown incredible success and growth, and it quickly became the leader in the local market with over 40000 card holders. UCB Fintech Company Limited, a unit of United Commercial Bank, owns the digital financial service brand Upay. Consumers from all over the country can use Upay’s vast range of mobile banking services. The bank is headquartered at Bulus Center, Gulshan Avenue, Dhaka-1212, and is currently led by Mrs. Rukhmila Zaman.
9. International Finance Investment and Commerce Bank Limited(IFIC)
International Finance Investment and Commerce Bank Limited (IFIC Bank) is a limited liability banking business based in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. As a joint venture between the government of Bangladesh and private sector sponsors, it was established in 1976 to operate as a finance company. IFIC became a full-fledged commercial bank in 1983 when the government authorized banks to operate as private companies. However, the Bangladeshi government still owns 32.75% of the Bank’s share capital, making it the largest shareholder, while a few reputable businessmen own 4.1% of the company’s capital.
Recently in 2021, the number of branches of IFIC crossed 160, and the number of Uposhakhas around the country reached 818. In addition, it has established joint ventures and subsidiaries in Nepal, Oman, and the United Kingdom to expand its global reach. This bank’s subsidiaries include IFIC Securities Limited, IFIC Investment Limited, and IFIC Money Transfer (UK) Limited. The bank is run under the leadership of business tycoon Mr. Salman F Rahman MP and is headquartered at IFIC Tower, 61 Purana Paltan, Dhaka.
10. Mutual Trust Bank Ltd. (MTB)
Mutual Trust Bank Ltd. (MTB) is a third-generation private commercial bank incorporated as a Public Limited Company in 1999. MTB strives to be one of the most acclaimed banks in the country, as well as a recognized innovator and customer-centric business. Currently, the bank has 119 branches & 33 Sub branches, 200 Agent Banking Centers, 18 kiosks, 310 modern ATM booths, 4 Air Lounges, and over 3,220 Point of Sales (POS) machines across the country to serve its client.
MTB Securities, MTB Capital Ltd., and MTB Exchange Ltd are some of the subsidiaries of the bank. In 2015, the bank joined the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) as one of two local partners in Bangladesh. In addition, the bank was given the title of “one of the best-run banks in Bangladesh” at the 15th Annual Bangladesh Business Awards presented by the Daily Star. Syed Mahbubur Rahman is the managing director and CEO of the bank, and the headquarter is located at MTB Centre, 26 Gulshan Avenue, Gulshan 1, Dhaka.
Commercial banking in Bangladesh is expanding with the developing economy of this country. More and more private banks are entering the market. After reviewing the performance, services, and networks of all the prominent banks, we have come up with this list. We hope and believe that you have got a clear insight into the top ten commercial banks in Bangladesh if you have come so far.