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Mercantile Bank plans new unit for Mobile Financial Services

Mercantile Bank will set up a subsidiary company to run its mobile financial services (MFS) in an effort to become a top player in the field.

“Our services will be driven by an independent company that will be owned by the bank,” said Adil Raihan, deputy managing director of Mercantile Bank, which now runs MFS under the brand name MYCash.

The decision was taken at the bank's board meeting on Thursday.

MFS is different from core banking and so, it is better to run the service by a dedicated company, where professionals and experienced people will operate it, Raihan said.

On the paid-up capital and launch of the new company, he said these are subject to regulatory approval by Bangladesh Bank.

Mercantile Bank first introduced the MFS under the brand name MPay in 2012, which was re-launched as MYCash in 2014. About Tk 30 crore to Tk 40 crore is transacted through this service every month.

Through MYCash, the bank provides customers with different services, including cash-in, cash-out, mobile top-up, deposit, fund collection, salary disbursement and merchant payment.

Mercantile now has around 4.5 lakh mobile banking clients and about 60,000 outlets across the country, said Raihan, who looks after this service.

Currently, 17 organisations offer mobile financial services in Bangladesh, where bKash is the market leader.

As of January, the country had more than 4.19 crore mobile banking subscribers, up 2.08 percent from the previous month, according to Bangladesh Bank data. Total transactions also rose 8.58 percent to Tk 252.06 crore in January, from Tk 232.13 crore a month ago.

Mercantile Bank was listed on the stockmarket in 2004. Its net profit stood at Tk 140.01 crore at the end of 2015, rising from Tk 116.91 crore in the previous year.

Each share of the bank was traded at between Tk 17 and Tk 18 before closing at Tk 17.1 on the Dhaka Stock Exchange yesterday.

Sponsors hold a 39.54 percent stake in the bank, while institutional investors own 7.32 percent and retail investors 53.14 percent, according to DSE data.