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27th Virtual Annual General Meeting
Prime Bank opens Agent Banking Outlets at Khilkhet, Dania and Ashulia
Dhaka, Wednesday, December 30, 2020: Prime Bank’s Agent Banking Service is now at Khilkhet and Dania in Dhaka and Katghora Bazar in Ashulia.

At Agent Banking Outlets, the customers can open account instantly with zero initial deposit. The valued customers can enjoy the full array of banking services including deposits, withdrawals, savings schemes, money transfers, remittance, utility bills payment, cheque book and debit card requisition and many more.

Agent Banking channel adds to the bank’s wide Branch Network of 146 branches further strengthening its strong countrywide presence especially at the rural and semi-urban localities. Prime Bank aims to emerge as the leader in Agent Banking space to serve the unbanked people at the remote areas of the country. The bank has plan to rapidly expand its Agent Banking network to make its presence across the country.

Agent Banking has created opportunities for financial inclusion of millions of people at the grassroots level who are presently beyond the purview of formal financial system. Agent Banking has opened up economic opportunities, create employment and invigorate the economy at communities at remote areas where brick and mortar model branch is not financially viable.

Faisal Rahman, Acting Managing Director and CEO, Prime Bank, formally announced launching of operations of the Agent Banking Outlets at Khilkhet and Dania in Dhaka and Katghora Bazar in Ashulia on December 30, 2020 through video conferencing.

ANM Mahfuz, Head of Consumer Banking, and Nazmul Karim Chowdhury, Head of Brands and Communications, opened operations of the Khilkhet Agent Banking Outlet. Md. Amzad Hossain, Head of Branch Distribution Network, opened operations of Dania Agent Banking Outlet and Masudul Haque Bhuiyan, Head of Cards and ADC Business, opened operations of Ashulia Agent Banking Outlet. Local dignitaries were present at the respective outlets.
Prime Bank achieves loan disbursement target under Govt’s CMSME Stimulus Package
Dhaka, Tuesday, December 29, 2020: Prime Bank has achieved 100% loan disbursement target under the Government's Stimulus Package for Cottage, Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (CMSME) ahead of Bangladesh Bank set deadline of December 31, 2020.

The bank is making proactive efforts to help micro, small and medium businesses hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic secure much-needed funding. The financing with subsidized interest rate will greatly assist the businesses to overcome the losses due to the pandemic.

Prime Bank has disbursed BDT 250 crore to 2,388 CMSME customers, a target stipulated by Bangladesh Bank.

This easy term credit helps the CMSMEs make a strong comeback after the onslaught of the unprecedented disruption to business due to the pandemic.

Prime Bank has always been committed to CMSME sector, which is the lifeblood of the economy and vital to employment creation and invigorating the country’s growth engine. The bank’s wide network of MSME Banking and speedy loan processing help the bank to meet the target well before the deadline set by the central bank. Mentionable here that Prime Bank is the first bank in Bangladesh to introduce collateral free loan to the small and medium companies in ICT and ITES business under an MSME ICT Alliance with major trade associations of the promising sector.
Prime Bank gets recognition from ICAB on Good Corporate Governance Practices
Prime Bank has been awarded ‘Certificate of Merit’ at the 20th Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) National Award Ceremony under “Corporate Governance Category” for the Best Presented Annual Report 2019.

Strongly committed to good corporate governance, transparency and accountability, the bank comprehensively discloses its financial results in Annual Report to keep its shareholders, customers and stakeholders well informed about its banking operations and financial performance.

Honorable Minister, Ministry of Commerce Mr. Tipu Munshi, MP handed over the award to the Bank’s Company Secretary.
NEERA's quest for social justice and mental wellness of women
Dhaka, December 13, 2020: ‘NEERA’ - A Prime Bank Initiative for Women, has hosted a webinar aiming to raise social awareness about prevention of violence against women and importance of mental health wellness.

As part of observance of ‘International Human Rights Day’, NEERA organized the webinar on December 10, 2020 where iconic women leaders and mental health experts discussed at length about ways to create awareness about women rights, share good practices and solutions to bring an end to violence against women and drive the importance of mental wellness.

Shaila Abedin, Head of Segments, Consumer Banking Division, Prime Bank, moderated the session while Tawhida Shiropa, Founder and CEO, Moner Bondhu; Jannatul Ferdoush Peya, Lawyer and Model; Kazi Rumana Haque, Psychosocial Counselor, Moner Bondhu; and Ivy Bhuiyan, Cultural Activist, Satyen Sen Shilpi Gosthi, took part as the panelists. They shared their firsthand experience and valiant stories in fight against violence towards women.

In the face of increasing violence against women, mental health comes up as a major challenge, as the importance of mental health wellness is often downplayed in the society. Against this backdrop, NEERA hosted the discussion to spark discussion, engage people and act towards mass awareness by depicting the accurate extent and depth of this vital aspect of life.

The panelists underscored the need for social awareness and legal reforms to eradicate gender discrimination and violence against women. They pointed out that the incident of gender violence escalated during the pandemic and stressed for concerted efforts to eliminate the social stigma from the society.

Since its launch, NEERA has been emphasizing on financial inclusion, financial literacy, wellness, mental wellbeing of women. Neera facilitates expert counseling for its valued customers in partnership with Moner Bondhu and Women Support Initiative Forum (WSIF). NEERA’s partnership with the platforms has made mental health care easily accessible and affordable to women. In a society where the incident of violence against women is on the rise, NEERA intends to come in as the lighthouse facilitating much needed counseling for mental health wellness. The NEERA customers enjoys special discount in consultation with the experienced psychologists, therapists, clinical social workers and professional counselors in issues ranging from depression, anxiety, personality disorders, parenting and family counseling, couple counseling, to corporate training, group therapy session etc. The event was live streamed from Facebook Page of Prime Bank and Neera.
Prime Bank becomes the first Bangladeshi Bank to execute interbank blockchain LC transaction
Partners with HSBC Bangladesh and Contour for the digital LC

Prime Bank has become the first Bangladeshi Bank to executean interbank blockchain Letter of Credit (LC) transaction improving speed, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the transaction. The transaction was conducted with HSBC, which the first bank in Bangladesh to conclude cross border trade transaction through the network.

The pilot transaction was completedthrough Contour, the global trade finance blockchain network, whereby an inland LC was opened by Prime Bank on behalf of AnantaGroup for import of raw materials for the ready-made garments industry from Tamishna Group, a customer of HSBC Bangladesh.

The end-to-end process of pre-negotiation and drafting of LCs by Importer and Beneficiary, approval, issuance of LCs and presentation of documents were all concluded digitally through Contour’snetwork.The transaction required no paperwork or need tophysicallyvisit banks. Instead, all parties involved in the process -- buyers, banks and beneficiaries –logged into Contour’s network to carry out any activity.

“Despite advancement in technology, trade has still remained heavily dependent on paper-based process in many parts of the world. As Bangladesh is fast becoming a leading trading country, Prime Bank as a leading trade finance bank in Bangladesh, is exploring ways to get most benefits of digitization in trade frontiers. We are elated to offer our client blockchain LC transaction with support from HSBC and Contour that is real-time, hassle-free, paperless and at the same time low-cost. Today’s success will inspire us and banks in Bangladesh to adopt automation in trade finance to provide seamless services to their valued clients,” said Faisal Rahman, Managing Director and CEO (CC) of Prime Bank.

“Transaction banking is evolving fast by embracing digital technology. The blockchain / DLT based L/C process will disrupt the existing process of paper based L/C. Prime Bank has always been in the forefront of digitization and it is our pleasure today to announce successful completion of first blockchain L/C by a Bangladeshi bank through Contour network. We expect the model would add value to the business of participants through wide adoption by the banks, corporates, and overall trade ecosystem,” Shams A. Muhaimin, Head of Transaction Banking and Structured Finance of Prime Bank.

Kevin Green, Country Head of Wholesale Banking, HSBC Bangladesh, said, “After completing the first successful execution of a cross-border Blockchain Letter-of-Credit (LC) transaction recently, this partnership with Prime Bank solidifies our strong commitment to take Blockchain forward in Bangladesh. This is the first inter-bank Blockchain LC transaction for Bangladesh and we believe this will be a major movement towards paperless trade within country.”

“It was an unique effort and we are very excited to be part of this digital LC transaction with Prime Bank. We welcome adoption of blockchain technology in trade to simplify the process connecting all stakeholders in a single secured platform of Contour. Compared to paper-based LC system, it took very short time to complete the entire process of LC initiation to document submission to acceptance, ensuring all the standard formalities of trade,” said Sharif Zahir, Managing Director of Ananta Group.

“We have seen that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented push towards digitalization in all sectors. It is high time that international trade also breaks away from paper based trade and move towards trade digitalization. Etafil Accessories Limited (Tamishna Group) is proud to have collaborated with HSBC and Contour on this historic blockchain LC transaction and we look forward to reaping the benefits of the deployment of distributed ledger technology in day to day trade,” said Naweed ¬¬Alam Chowdhury, Director of Tamishna Group.

“Our work throughout 2020 has been to improve the processes and overcome the pain points that many companies face. As this transaction has shown, Contour’s network is flexible, able to work for a regional bank or corporate as well as a global trade finance bank or a multinational corporation.Providing a solution that works for everyone is at the heart of what we do and our work with Prime Bank hopes to further this goal.”said Carl Wegner, CEO of Contour.

Contour’s network built onR3's Corda, launched its beta network in January 2020 and entered full production in October. The network has established itself as an effective solution to the barriers in international trade and reduces the processing time of LC presentation by up to 90% - from 10 days to 24 hours. Importer, exporter, issuing bank and beneficiary’s bank receive real-time tracking of the transaction, enabling a transparent management of the trade.
Prime Bank wins "Excellence in Debit Business 2019-20" Award from Mastercard
Dhaka, Sunday, November 29, 2020: Prime Bank has won "Excellence in Debit Business 2019-20" Award from Mastercard.

Mastercard organized a virtual event, “Mastercard Excellence Award 2020” - celebration of achievements in digital payments on November 26, 2020, marking the 29th anniversary of its presence in Bangladesh and 7 years of its Bangladesh Office. At the award event, Prime Bank won the esteemed accolade of “Excellence in Mastercard Debit Business 2019-20” for generating the highest business this year offering cardholders an excellent experience in making financial transactions digitally.

Salman F Rahman, Private Sector Industry and Investment Adviser to the Prime Minister, attended the programme as chief guest. Among others, Porush Singh, Division President, South Asia, Mastercard; Vikas Varma, Chief Operating Officer, South Asia, Mastercard; Syed Mohammad Kamal, Country Manager, Bangladesh, Mastercard; MDs, CEOs , senior representatives from leading financial institutions, chamber leaders, business community leaders and merchants from across the country attended the ceremony.

Prime Bank has long been a partner of Mastercard enabling innovative solutions, electronic transactions and delightful payment experience to its valued customers.
Prime Bank donates blankets to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund
As part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Prime Bank has donated 100,000 blankets to the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund to help the underprivileged people in the upcoming winter season.

Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina virtually joined the function through a videoconference from her official residence Ganabhaban on October 28, 2020.

M Farhad Hussain FCA, Independent Director, Prime Bank, handed over the token blanket to Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus, Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary, at a program at Prime Minister’s Office in Dhaka.
Singapore confers presidential awards to 2 clients of Prime Exchange for standing beside migrant workers during the pandemic
The government of Republic of Singapore has awarded two valued clients of Prime Exchange Co. Pte Ltd for standing beside migrant workers during the pandemic. Mr. Omar Faruque Shipon, Safety Coordinator at a shipyard, won People of Good, who helped the Bangladeshi migrant workers with important information on COVID-19. Kabir Hossain, a Bangladeshi origin Singaporean, won People of Good - Special Commendations Award for developing a app to mobilize fund to help migrant workers with food and essentials.

President of Republic of Singapore Halimah Yacob handed over the President’s Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards to the COVID – 19 heroes in recognition of their extraordinary efforts in helping the migrant workers during the pandemic. They have long been remittance customers of Prime Exchange.

The President’s Volunteerism and Philanthropy Awards (PVPA) is the pinnacle award and platform to recognise individuals, organisations and leaders that have achieved excellence in giving. These annual awards represent the highest honour for giving to the community and are conferred by the President of the Republic of Singapore.

President’s Volunteerism and Philanthropy Awards 2020 Special Edition seeks to recognise individuals, organisations and leaders who are exceptional relational and multiplier givers amid COVID-19 and have voluntarily devoted their time, talent, treasure and/or voice to create a positive impact in the community in the first half of 2020.

“Through the President’s Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards 2020 Special Edition awards, we hope to honour the efforts by these astounding individuals, organisations and leaders for their contribution during these unprecedented times, and to inspire the wider public to be more other-centred in giving their best for others to build a City of Good,” the award citation reads.

Prime Exchange Co. Pte Ltd is the first fully owned overseas exchange company of Prime Bank Limited which is also the first ever fully owned Exchange Company in Singapore established by any private commercial bank of Bangladesh. Since 2006, the exchange has emerged as the most trusted remittance house of expatriate Bangladeshis and Indians in Singapore.
Prime Bank Wins Two Prestigious Awards from Asian Development Bank (ADB)
Earns the ‘Gender Champion’ and ‘Best Green Deal’ Awards

Dhaka, Wednesday, October 28, 2020: Asian Development Bank (ADB) has recognized Prime Bank as the ‘Gender Champion’ in 2020. Adding another jewel to the crown, ADB has also conferred ‘Best Green Deal’ Award to Prime Bank.

ADB’s Trade and Supply Chain Finance Program (TSCFP) Awards is the most prestigious accolade in the banking and financial industry in Asia, given to the institutions that work passionately to foster economic growth through gender equality and sustainability measures. This is a unique feat for Prime Bank as it has won twin awards outshining the Asian counterparts in 67 member countries where ADB operates.

The ADB TSCFP Awards were announced through a virtual award ceremony on October 28, 2020 held in Singapore. Rahel Ahmed, Managing Director and CEO and senior officials of the bank joined the ceremony.

The “Gender Champion” award is the most coveted award, recognizing extraordinary efforts made in Asia to encourage women’s participation in banking industry. ADB has cited the key determining factors in conferring the Gender Champion Award to Prime Bank that includes: a balanced representation of women at entry and senior level, maintaining a percentage of women employees well above the industry average, an effective Management Trainee Recruitment Program to attract talented resources, promoting women centric initiatives through social media, policies for a safe and secured work culture, facilitating the voice of the female officials through active Women Forum and unique women initiative – NEERA to drive inclusiveness of women of all statures.

Only recently Prime Bank launched the country’s most unique women-focused initiative -- ‘NEERA’ which made the bank a strong contender in winning the ADB Gender Champion Award this year. The primary objective of ‘NEERA’ is to integrate all women irrespective of age, profession, income, social status, of urban or rural areas into the financial system, especially for those who are yet to be a part of the banking sector.

Prime Bank has been persistently striving to empower women through skill development and reduce the societal gender norms that restrict female employment in Bangladesh. Not only in reducing the gender gap at work, Prime Bank is also invested in enhancing the total wellness of a women’s life. Special facility provided to their female employees during this pandemic- flexible work schedules for expecting working mothers, market-competitive benefits schemes for all the employees and the women initiative “NEERA”, demonstrate the bank’s efforts in creating a diversified workplace and environment for females to be top leaders of tomorrow.

The “Best Green Deal Award” was given in recognition of the bank’s efforts in reducing environmental externalities and risk perceptions with investing in Green Finance- particularly for financing Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) at factories of its corporate clients. The bank’s one particular investment result in an elimination of a wastage of 265,000 M3 by cleaning dyeing waste water as per Department of Environment (DOE) standard and then released back into canals and lakes.

On winning the awards, Prime Bank MD and CEO Rahel Ahmed said, “Gender diversity is embedded in the culture of the bank. Our motto to stimulate inclusiveness for all, ensures gender diversity at the workplace; a large number of female employees is the reflection of our journey towards diversity. Our women friendly policies render a safe working environment and provide capacity building trainings. These measures have resulted in skill enhancements, boosting their confidence to climb the career ladder and to continue excelling without giving in to societal barriers, stereotypes and prejudices. Winning both of these prestigious ADB Awards will further inspire us to make new strides in gender equality and environmental sustainability.”
Prime Bank signs Working Capital Solutions agreement with IFC
Prime Bank Limited has recently signed Covid-19 Working Capital Solutions (WCS) facility loan agreement with International Finance Corporation ("IFC").

It will support working capital, trade finance and FX liquidity needs of the sub-borrowers through Prime Bank’s Off-Shore Banking Unit. This support is targeted in the context of responding and helping with the resilience measures around COVID-19 crisis.

Under this agreement IFC will provide US Dollar liquidity to Prime Bank for on-lending as trade or working capital loans to companies whose cash flows have been disrupted by the global outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. This is the third consecutive time Prime Bank is availing WCS facility from IFC.

Prime Bank’s Managing Director and CEO Rahel Ahmed and IFC’s Regional Industry Director, FIG – Asia & Pacific Ms. Rosy Khanna signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations in a virtual signing ceremony on 22 October 2020. IFC Country Manager for Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan Ms. Wendy Werner, Principal Investment Officer Ehsanul Azim and Prime Bank’s DMD and CBO Faisal Rahman, Head of Structured Finance and Transaction Banking Shams Abdullah Muhaimin were present along with other senior executives from both parties in the occasion.
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