Home Cover Story Interview with Tanjil Chowdhury

Interview with Tanjil Chowdhury

Tanjil Chowdhury, Chairman of Prime Bank - theincap

Tanjil Chowdhury
Prime Bank
Managing Director
East Coast Group of Companies

In the intricate tapestry of a nation’s economy, the presence of a robust monetary system is undeniably essential. A well-functioning monetary system ensures smooth economic transactions, efficient allocation of resources, and fosters overall stability. Central to this system are banks, which assume a lion’s share of responsibility in driving a country’s economic growth and equilibrium. Among the banking institutions in Bangladesh, Prime Bank stands tall as one of the most resilient and pivotal players since its inception. As a holding company, Prime Bank Ltd. plays a pivotal role by offering a comprehensive range of financial and banking services. From corporate and institutional banking to serving commercial enterprises, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, and individual consumers, Prime Bank’s diverse operations cater to the varied needs of the nation’s economy. Founded on February 12, 1995, and headquartered in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Prime Bank’s unwavering dedication to excellence has solidified its position as a cornerstone of the nation’s financial landscape.

Let’s learn about his journey.

The InCAP: As technology in general and FinTech change the financial industry globally; hence, we are interested to know regarding the general tech adoption at Prime Bank directly from you.

The usage or implementation of financial tech and automation has facilitated Prime Bank to offer banking solutions by leveraging connectivity, mobile technologies, data analysis, and artificial intelligence. Redefining our value proposition to encompass digital innovation is along with traditional values. This permits us to conceive banking in a completely new light; serve a TG/demographic who were un-bankable in the past or inaccessible due to scale.

We have launched a salary advance loan, ‘PrimeAgrim’ to blue-collar garment workers with a record-breaking processing time of less than 4 minutes, the fastest nano-loan sanctioning in Bangladesh. The solution is fully AI-based and has a machine learning engine that dynamically formulates an ‘alternative credit scorecard’ and even fosters financial literacy through quick e-learning. I am delighted to reveal that ‘PrimeAgrim’ has won prestigious accolades internationally and domestically for Fintech innovation.

Prime Bank’s internet banking ‘MyPrime’ users can now enjoy the benefits of ‘Zero Barrier Applications’ and faster approvals, higher efficiency, automated customer service, stronger security, and risk-averseness. In addition, we have overhauled our entire internet banking interface. Now, our patrons can seamlessly make fund transfers, utility payments, MFS transferals, credit card management, QR code payments, and loan and deposit-scheme applications with a touch of a button.

We have successfully worked on process optimization, developing an automated CIB checking system with a click of a button, making us more operationally efficient.

Mr. Tanjil, how entrepreneur-friendly is Prime Bank? What initiatives are you conducting for entrepreneurs as of now?

Prime Bank is extremely friendly towards entrepreneurs. We have a dedicated team working with Micro, Small, and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSME). We have tied alliances with BASIS to support Tech Freelancers, and we are also setting up a tactical fund for startups.

In addition, we have a women’s banking initiative, “Neera” which has been designed and developed by women for women; curated banking asset and liability solutions are available under this program which alleviates and empowers female entrepreneurship. I am happy to announce that our ‘Neera’ center shall be inaugurated on top of our flagship Gulshan branch this winter, exclusively catering one-stop banking solutions to female clienteles and women-led businesses.

From your perspective, what changes should be made in Bangladesh’s banking and financial sector?

Creating a culture of self-governance is so crucial; bankers know very well what is prudential and how to be risk averse while providing quality banking/financial solutions. Persistent intervention by regulators is not a good sign; sound policies are already there; it just needs to be enforced and relaxed or amended in some cases. It is also the prevalent norm to see policies being drawn to address one or two ‘problem’ banks or FI’s; good performers should be rewarded and motivated.

At the same time, the bank’s sponsors should have less involvement in sanctioning loans or conducting business approvals. We are not quite there yet for full autonomy to management; however, sponsors may focus more on strategic guidance and policy development. I would be keen to see further inclusion of women in Senior Management roles, also as independent and sponsor directors of boards.

The regulator should allow stronger banks to do mergers or acquisitions of problem/weak Banks & FIs. Cross-border synergy should also be encouraged by BB so that Bangladeshi Banks and Financial Institutions may explore other prospective markets and earn foreign currency with low-risk fee-based services.

What has been your biggest challenge to date as an MD of East Coast Group of Companies, and how did you conquer that?

Our Founder and Group Chairman is a visionary; he is extremely receptive to new ideas and adaptation of automation and technology. He is always ahead of time in foresightedness and more tech-savvy than us; often, we are the ones doing the catching.

So I would say expanding our business and diversifying our risk basket without compromising our core competencies and values is an ongoing exercise. We have a lot of strategic investments in industrial land, and converting them to big-scale projects is our goal for the foreseeable future.

Mr. Tanjil, thousands of hearts follows you. Please say something to them.

“The world is not interested in the storms you encountered, but did you bring in the ship?” The bottom line matters the most; I learn this on a daily basis. There are usually no legitimate shortcuts; unfortunately, hard work and perseverance is mandatory.

To acknowledge more Cover Stories, Please Click Here!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here