Two members of NBL team return

Kathmandu, December 2:

Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has called two members of the coordination team it had sent to manage Nepal Bank Ltd (NBL) some 16 months ago under Dr Binod Atreya.

Acting governor of the central bank Krishna Bahadur Manandhar confirmed that the central bank has called two members — Laxmiprapanna Niraula and Numnath Poudel — of the three-member team back. “NRB will soon publish a notice asking for application for the management team including chief executive officer (CEO),” he said, adding that NBL will get a new professional management team.

More than one-and-a-half years ago, when the foreign management team — the Bank of Scotland (Ireland) Ltd, ICC Consulting — walked out, the central bank had sent a three-member team headed by Dr Binod Atreya to manage the ailing NBL, the oldest bank of the country.

Established in 1936, NBL has in seventy-two years of operations seen many highs and lows. After being declared a sick financial institution due to chronic bad loan and mismanagement, a fore-ign management has bee-n hired under financial sector reform project.

The unaudited report for the first quarter shows that Nepali management team is also capable in handling the bank. NBL has reduced its NPA to 8.33 per cent in the first quarter of this fiscal year from 13.44 per cent in the same period last fiscal year. “Despite limited freedom on financial transaction, the bank has posted more than Rs 520 million net profit by the end of the fiscal year 2007-08,” Dr Atreya said, adding that at least 44 of the NBL’s 99 branches are computerised.

In the recent days, the pioneer bank has to compete with new private banks that are competitive, aggressive and technologically advanced.

“NBL is ready to compete with private financial institutions. It has started providing all modern banking facilities like e-banking and SMS banking, and will soon install ATMs,” the co-ordinator added. “Due to some technical glitch, we are late but within two months NBL will also have its ATMs.”

NBL has 10 per cent share (Rs 42 billion) in the total deposit of 25 commercial banks that stands at Rs 426 billion. However, it has a meagre share of five per cent (Rs 17 billion) in the total lending of commercial banks.