Eastern Grameen Bank on verge of closure

Sekhar Regmi

Biratnagar, May 7:

The first Grameen Bank of Nepal — Eastern Grameen Bank (EGB) — which had recorded a net profit some years earlier is likely to post loss this year, thanks to heightened Maoists atrocities in the eastern development zone of the country. The Eastern Grameen Bank has informed that the regular bank loots in the area has not only resulted in billions loss but has also hindered the day-to-day bank-work and decreased the loan collection.

The bank, established in 2050 BS, had registered a net profit of Rs 3.2 million in the fiscal year 2059-60. But it has been incurring losses since then. Deepak Sharma, officiating director of the bank, said that the bank would register loss of more than Rs 50 million this fiscal year, all due to Maoists insurgency.

The Maoists had been targetting the EGB since last year. In the repeated loots, the Maoists have looted around Rs 1.7 million from the Bank. "If the looting spree continues, the bank would close down any time in near future, the bank states. According to the Grameen Bank, it has to collect loans worth Rs 50 million from Daangihaat and Karaaun of Morang and Baniyani of Jhapa. But the Maoists torched the branch offices in these areas recently, which means the loan collection has now stalled for the time.

"Important papers were also burned inside the buildings making it more difficult for the bank to track the records of loan which needs to be collected, director Sharma informed. Maoists have also burned branch offices in Banigama of Morang from where loan worth Rs 16 million is yet to be recovered.

Moreover, the bank has also merged four of its branch offices due to increasing Maoists pressure. Jhurkeya branch has been merged with Rangeli while Bhardaha branch has been merged with Kanchanpur. Similarly, Dhangadhi branch has been merged with Gol Bazaar branch and Lauki branch has been merged with Babiya branch. The bank has shifted a dozen branch offices near the security posts after repeated Maoists threats in different places.