Bangladeshis Withdraw Record Sum from Swiss Banks

Bangladeshis Withdraw Record Sum from Swiss Banks

Bangladeshis Withdraw Record Sum from Swiss Banks

Deposits of Bangladeshi individuals and financial institutions in Swiss banks have experienced a significant decline over the past year. According to the annual report released by the Central Bank of Switzerland, deposits decreased by Tk 597 crore, marking a drop of approximately 65 percent from the beginning of 2023 to the end of December 2023.

Current Deposits and Historical Comparison

As of December 2023, Bangladeshis have deposits totaling 234 million taka (1 crore 77 lakh Swiss francs) in Swiss banks. This is a substantial decrease from the 729 crore taka (5 crore 52 lakh Swiss francs) recorded at the beginning of the same year. This trend of declining deposits is not isolated to 2023; a historical analysis reveals a consistent decrease over the past few years:

2021: Deposits stood at 87 million 11 million Swiss francs.
2022: Deposits decreased sharply to 5.5 million Swiss francs, with Tk 10,500 crore being withdrawn that year.
2020: Deposits were at 56 million 30 million Swiss francs.
2019: Deposits totaled 60 million 30 million Swiss francs.
2018: Deposits amounted to 620 million Swiss francs.
2017: Deposits were 66 million 19 million Swiss francs.

Factors Contributing to the Decline
Several factors have contributed to the significant decrease in deposits by Bangladeshis in Swiss banks- 

Dollar Crisis in Bangladesh: The ongoing dollar crisis has played a major role in the reduction of deposits.
Shift in Smuggling Patterns: There has been a shift in the destinations for smuggled money. Smugglers are now opting for banks in countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, and Malaysia instead of Swiss banks.
Decreasing Attractiveness of Swiss Banks: The allure of Swiss banks is diminishing due to the convenience offered by information technology, enabling the safe keeping of foreign currency in other countries.
Reduction in Privacy: The perceived decrease in privacy and strict secrecy policies in Switzerland has led individuals to seek alternative tax havens such as Luxembourg, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda.

Expert Opinions

Experts have weighed in on the reasons behind this shift. Moinul Islam, a retired professor from Chittagong University, suggests that the decreased attractiveness of Swiss banks is due to various factors, including improved information technology and the increased safety of foreign currencies in other banks worldwide. Additionally, the movement of illegal money to alternative destinations has also contributed to the decline.

Comparative Analysis with Neighboring Countries

The trend of declining deposits is not unique to Bangladesh. India's deposits in Swiss banks have also decreased by about 70 percent in 2023, reaching an all-time low over the past four years. Despite this decline, Indian deposits still stand at 1.04 billion Swiss francs (approximately 9,771 crore Indian rupees).

The significant reduction in deposits of Bangladeshi individuals and institutions in Swiss banks reflects broader economic and geopolitical shifts. The declining privacy in Swiss banking and the increased attractiveness of other tax havens have contributed to this trend. As global banking dynamics continue to evolve, it remains to be seen how deposit patterns will change in the coming years.

References

  1. Central Bank of Switzerland, Annual Report 2023
  2. Interview with Moinul Islam, Retired Professor, Chittagong University
  3. Jugantar, Report on Bangladeshi Deposits in Swiss Banks
  4. Swiss National Bank, Historical Deposit Data
  5. Swiss Central Bank Statistics on International Deposits
   


পাঠকের মন্তব্য