Banks have spent around Tk648 crore as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives last year, which was 28 percent less than that of the previous year.
The figure was Tk905 crore in 2018, and Tk744 crore the year before.
CSR expenses increased during the second half of 2019. In the first half, banks spent Tk239 crore and the figure was Tk409 crore during the second half.
In 2014, the Bangladesh Bank instructed all banks to spend on CSR activities.
Every bank was asked to mandatorily spend a minimum 30 percent of its CSR fund in the education sector, minimum 20 percent in the health sector and minimum 10 percent in the climate risk fund.
The central bank said the directive should be implemented by the profit-earning banks only.
Bankers said decline in profits had affected CSR activities last year.
In 2019, banks spent Tk243 crore on disaster management, which was 37.48 percent of the CSR expenses.
In the education sector, banks spent Tk177 crore, which was 27.26 percent of the CSR expenditures.
The health sector's CSR expense was Tk73 crore while the figure was Tk33 crore in the environment sector, Tk28 crore in the cultural sector, Tk1.37 crore in infrastructure, and Tk93 crore in other sectors.
A Bangladesh Bank official told The Business Standard that the banks had spent the amount either through their own channels or through donations to the Prime Minister's Relief and Welfare Fund.
Banks get tax rebates on spending on CSR programmes.
Last year, Islami Bank spent Tk103 crore, Dutch-Bangla Bank Tk88 crore, Exim Bank Tk79 crore, Social Islami Bank Tk29 crore, National Bank Tk25 crore, United Commercial Bank Tk20 crore, First Security Islami Bank Tk18 crore, Trust bank Tk18 crore, Prime Bank Tk18 crore, Mercantile Bank Tk17 crore and NCC Bank Tk16 crore on CSR programmes.
The City Bank, Bank Asia and Eastern Bank each spent Tk14 crore.