Sunday, June 24, 2018

Bank accounts of street kids suddenly closed

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Banking services for street urchins have suddenly come to a halt. Reportedly the bank accounts of 290 street urchins have closed down during last six months. 163 bank accounts of street urchins have closed down within three months, according to a report from Bangladesh Bank's Financial Inclusion Department up to March this year.

Bangladesh Bank's information shows that the amount of money saved by street urchins has also decreased besides the closure of their bank accounts. 4, 671 bank accounts were opened for street children till 30th September 2017. At that time 46 lakh 89 thousand taka was saved in their bank accounts but the figure has now gone down to 26 lakh 92 thousand taka.

The central bank's report shows that 4,381 street children had accounts in 19 commercial banks till 31st March 2017. This number was 4,544 in December 2017 which refers to a decrease by 163. Fifteen nongovernment organizations (NGOs) of the country have been looking after the bank accounts of these street children.

As most of these street children do not have guardians, the NGO officials are conducting these bank accounts as the guardians of these kids. Chief executives of some banks have told media that the number of bank accounts belonging to street urchins is declining due to lack of eagerness on part of bank officials.

It may be added that Bangladesh Bank's former Governor Dr. Atiur Rahman issued directives to the commercial banks on 9 March 2014 to enable street children to open bank accounts with only 10 taka each. This initiative by Dr. Atiur Rahman generated a lot of enthusiasm among the bankers to provide financial services to the street children but at present that spirit has subsided, banking sources have informed.

Dr. Atiur Rahman told media in this connection that the aim of launching bank accounts for street children was to include these kids in the financial service network as these children have equal rights like all other people who have bank accounts. He urged all banks to keep up this service for the street children from a humanitarian point of view.

Bangladesh Bank's report states that Rupali Bank has opened 974 bank accounts for street children till 31st March this year in which the urchins have saved 9 lakh 73 thousand taka. Street children have opened 2 lakh 37 thousand taka in Social Islami Bank. Till March 20 working children have opened bank accounts in Dutch Bangla Bank.

Initially 10 banks opened bank accounts for street children in 2014. Later on another nine banks participated in this noble purpose. These banks are Sonali Bank, Agrani Bank, Janata Bank, Rupali Bank, Bangladesh Development Bank, Bangladesh Krishi Bank, Bank Asia, Mercantile Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, National Bank, NCC Bank, One Bank, Pubali Bank, The City Bank, Al Arafah Islami Bank, Trust Bank, Social Islami Bank, Dutch Bangla Bank, Prime Bank and Uttara Bank.

15 NGOs have been taking care of the bank accounts of the street children. These NGOs are Masas, Saf, Uddipan, Oporajeyo Bangladesh, BRAC, Nari Maitri, CPD, Prodeepon, Sajida Foundation, ASD, Shakti Biddalay, EBCR Project, Manab Sheba Samajik Unnayan Sangstha, Society for Unprivileged Families and Paribartan.

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