Anis A Khan, Managing Director and CEO, Mutual Trust Bank Ltd
A partial view of the beautiful Mutual Trust Bank lounge at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport
Dhaka : Bangladesh is a very unique country in many respects, compared to rest of the world. One of the areas is banking.
There are too many banks in Bangladesh. Now we have 58 banks. I understand one more bank is in the offing, which will make it 59 banks. There is intense competition among the 40 private banks.
"If you ask what is the unique about these banks, it is more or less the same."
"Why, if you ask me? There is same group of people who rotate around these banks, who are running the same 40 banks," said Anis A Khan, Managing Director and CEO, Mutual Trust Bank Ltd. said while talking to The Bangladesh Monitor. Therefore with the same bankers, most banks have similar products, routine banking activity and same services. "Private banks has more or less same products to offer," the MTB MD said.
MTB is 19 plus years in business. With the competition, banking is becoming very intense. We thought of providing services to MTB clients at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA), which add value to MTB's products.
The facilities are only for MTB card holders and Privilege Customers only.
The MTB Air Lounge at Dhaka Airport, which runs 24/7 and provides free WiFi, mobile phone/laptop charge stations, complimentary buffet meal/snacks, tea/coffee, drinking water and most importantly a comfy washroom with shower facility.
The food is served by five-star The Westin Dhaka and the lunch and dinner menu keeps changing every time.
'My own collection'
"For the first time, the MTB lounge has a library with a variety of books and magazines, which started from my own collection," smiled MTB chief.
To make the product more attractive, we decided to have a lounge to encourage more business and we are satisfied with the enthusiasm of our customers.
The lounge is tastefully decorated. Passengers can sit back and relax in the tranquil environment before their departure from Dhaka.
This has proved to be very successful. Every month the number of lounge users are increasing and the number of cards are also increasing.
The lounge is 2,000 square feet in size and MTB has applied to double the premise, but the application is pending with Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) and they said we would to wait until the airport has another Terminal.
The HSIA is not large enough for providing lounges to other international airlines with daily two flights, except for Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge and of course Biman Bangladesh Airlines Muslin Lounge.
Five other private banks are providing services to their card holders, like Eastern Bank SkyLounge, UCB Imperial Lounge, Standard Chartered Signature Lounge. City Bank American Express Lounge has one and recently opened a second lounge at the airport.
And, of course, there is Balaka Lounge, which began its journey several decades back.
In the private sector, American Express is the pioneer in setting up an airport lounge in Dhaka for its card holders. They were followed by the United Commercial Bank, then came Eastern Bank and others followed.
All the lounges were evolved around the credit cards business and privilege cards for high end customers.
Meanwhile, more international airlines have added Bangladesh as new destination. The airport serves three more private airlines -US-Bangla Airlines, Regent Airways, NOVOAIR -began flights and they have Business Class passengers connecting international destinations.
The international airport is mingling with migrant-workers, NRB, tourists and foreign expatriates.
There is no place to relax except for waiting at noisy departure concourse, specially for those Business Class passengers whose flights are delayed.
US-Bangla Business Class passengers are recently using MTB lounge with airlines paying a certain fee. Regent Airways will soon begin to use our lounge.
Eastern Bank has agreements with several airlines to provide lounge services to business class passengers.
"As our lounge is not big enough, we can hardly accommodate more than 30 persons comfortably. Singapore Airlines was interested to use the lounge. We had to regret, keeping in mind our Privilege Card holders using the premise. We cannot afford to see a bazaar," quipped Anis Khan.
The bank officers at the lounge extend customer service to activate international credit card, which was deactivated when they return home to avoid being victim of fraud, endorse passports for foreign currency and even bring cash dollars for the Privilege customers. MTB's foreign exchange booths are at both Arrivals and Departures.
The MTB chief informed that they will soon have a 2,000 square feet lounge at Hazrat Shah Amanat International Airport, Chittagong. This facility will open in November.
"We are not thinking of a lounge in Osmani International Airport anytime soon, as there is not enough traffic from Sylhet," the CEO added.