A comprehensive combined study visit for selected officials of BBTA/Bangladesh Bank & BIBM to Ireland was successfully completed from 18th to 27th August 2014. During this study visit, the participants had the opportunity to visit quite a number of institutions, including Central Bank of Ireland, The Institute of Banking in Ireland, Bank of Ireland, National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), Enterprise Ireland and Credit Review Office, Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Ulster Bank, The Irish Small Firms Association (SFA), the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), and Peak Fifteen Consultancy where the participants attended a whole day workshop/seminar on “SME Banking Relationship Management” and “SME Green Banking”.
The visit was really useful in obtaining knowledge and an understanding about the Irish economy, banking activities and initiatives for SMEs. Particularly the presentations of the Central Bank of Ireland helped the team to get a clear picture about the banking sector of Ireland, regulatory framework for banks, banking supervision practices, financial policy research initiatives, state of SME financing, and the problems faced by the banks. Though there are similarities in certainareas, some remarkable differences in connection with regulation, supervision, and the nature of competition were observed by the team members. Interactive sessions with the Bank of Ireland
and Ulster Bank were useful in terms of gaining insights about the various facets of banking such as the nature of involvement of banks in SME financing, SME financing strategy, SME risk management and overall organisational structure of banks engaged in SME financing.
Visit to NAMA was really interesting and the team learned many aspects about asset management practices in NAMA, Ireland. Particularly, the study team really learned about different modus operandi of asset management functions and the regulatory framework as practiced in NAMA. The team thus got the opportunity to have ideas about the troubled asset management practices of Ireland.
The tour was equally extremely useful in building network with the “Institute of Banking” in Ireland that has been contributing in the financial education and training. During the visit, the team learned m
any innovative ways of offering continuous education to the bankers. E-learning courses are especially mentionable. Moreover, there are education programmes for the board members of the banks which has the potential to be introduced in Bangladesh. The team also learned many important aspects of customer service in banks and global initiatives regarding green banking from the presentations of Peak Fifteen Consultancy. Particularly the presentations related to customer service were really interesting.
A number of important lessons learned that can be of quite an interest for further development of Bangladeshi SME banking sector, as well as Bangladeshi SME sector, in general. Such lessons relate to the research/surveys being carried out on both supply and demand side of SME lending by the Central Bank of Ireland; the training and educational activities of the Institute of Banking; the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme under the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; the work performed by the Credit Review Office as mechanism for appeal on loan rejections; the work carried out by Enterprise Ireland on the development of SME sector in Ireland; the women entrepreneur support scheme set up by Enterprise Ireland and Dublin Chamber of Commerce; etc.