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Bangladesh central bank asks Sonali Bank to shut down US exchange house

Bangladesh's central bank asked Sonali Bank Ltd. to shut down its U.S. exchange house after years of poor performance, The Daily Star reported March 18.

Bangladesh Bank wrote to the bank Feb. 18, advising the bank to rethink whether it should be operating a loss-making business abroad. Sonali Bank will monitor Sonali Exchange Co.'s operations and will shut it down or undertake a significant restructuring in 2019 if its performance does not improve, the publication quoted Managing Director Md. Obayed Ullah Al Masud as saying.

Sonali Exchange has received US$28 million in capital injections since its establishment in 1994. It has only recorded cumulative profit of US$293,000 between 1994 and 2016. Meanwhile, the unit's liabilities total around US$1.25 million, the publication reported.

However, the central bank has found that Sonali Bank did not apply any interest on its loans to Sonali Exchange, which is a violation of the terms agreed upon by Bangladesh Bank. In response, the bank's managing director said the lender will recalculate the interest rate for the loans if needed.