March 25, 2017 - 1:10pm
The country’s scheduled banks are still reluctant to extend their services to street children and child workers as they (banks) opened only 3,725 accounts for them (children) as on December 31, 2016.
On March 10, 2014, Bangladesh Bank in a circular asked all banks to allow street children and child workers to open bank accounts with a Tk 10 minimum initial deposit.
The central bank took the initiative to help street children develop saving habits and eventually help them step forward towards a better future.
According to the latest BB data, the total deposits in the street children’s accounts stood at Tk 24.42 lakh at the end of December 2016.
Seventeen of the 57 scheduled banks have so far opened these accounts. The banks are Sonali Bank, Janata Bank, Rupali Bank, Agrani Bank, Bangladesh Krishi Bank, Bangladesh Development Bank, Bank Asia, Mercantile Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, National Bank, Social Islami Bank, One Bank, Pubali Bank, The City Bank, Trust Bank, Al-Arafah Islami Bank and Uttara Bank.
As per the BB guidelines, street children’s accounts should be operated by the non-government organisations nominated by the central bank.
The NGOs concerned will nominate at least two of their staff to take care of this programme.
One of the two nominated staff should come from the accounting department and the other from the field level.
However, the NGOs should take the overall responsibility for operating the accounts, until the street children and child workers reach the age of 18.
The NGOs and the banks concerned will sign agreements to operate the accounts.
There will be no fees for maintaining these accounts, but the account holders will not get online transaction facility, meaning that no debit or credit cards would be issued to them by the banks.
Withdrawal should be done by using cheques or other physical debit instructions.
‘Banks usually do not enjoy any profit from the saving accounts of the street children. So they are reluctant to open such accounts,’ A BB official told New Age on Thursday.
The BB data, however, showed that the total deposits in the street children’s accounts slightly increased to Tk 24.42 lakh as of December from Tk 23 lakh as of September, 2016.
The total deposit in the street children’s accounts was Tk 22.01 lakh as of June 30, Tk 21.12 lakh as of March, 2016 and Tk 19.07 lakh as of December 31, 2015, the BB data showed.
The BB official said, ‘The deposits in the street children’s accounts slightly increased in the last few quarters, but it [the growth] was not
satisfactory. The deposits in the accounts should have increased more as the central bank opened the programme almost three years ago.’