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“Sub-debt trap”: a real effect of an ill-design adoption of basel accord in the Bangladeshi banking industry

A.K.M. Kamrul Hasan (University of Science and Technology Chittagong, Chittagong, Bangladesh)
Yasushi Suzuki (College of International Management, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Oita, Japan)

Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research

ISSN: 1759-0817

Article publication date: 3 October 2021

Issue publication date: 4 November 2021




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of basel accord on the Bangladeshi bank performance including Islamic banks and the role of subordinated debt (sub-debt) as basel regulatory capital (BRC).


The authors conducted the empirical investigation by adopting a quantitative approach and using the secondary data available in the annual reports of the sample banks between 2009 and 2018. This paper develops an econometric model to compare and analyze the regression result under two states of capital-to-risk adjusted assets ratio (CRAR) with sub-debt and CRAR without sub-debt. This paper analyzes the impact of sub-debt in the largest Islamic bank for the year 2007 as a case study for endorsing the findings.


This paper finds that CRAR has positive alignments with return on equity (ROE) and cash dividend when sub-debt is considered as Tier 2 capital. This paper observes that the huge bad loan write-off supports to downsize the asset size thus temporarily enhance the return on assets (ROA). In a nutshell, sub-debt gives banks an ill incentive to disburse steady cash dividends instead of injecting genuine equity capital, encouraging them to take more credit risk. In fact, more private commercial banks (PCBs) issued huge sub-debts between 2009 and 2018 under a unique arrangement, which the authors termed as the “sub-debt trap.”

Research limitations/implications

This paper draws policy implications for the banking regulator to identify and rectify a systemic problem of the “sub-debt trap” which hinders the regulatory purpose from the implementation of basel accord II and III. A limitation of this study is the authors shed analytical light on Bangladeshi banks, i.e. it a single country analysis which may not be generalized to other developing countries except matching with a similar context.


The paper contributes to accumulating empirical studies on the effectiveness of basel accord implementation in developing countries. In most of the developing countries, where institutional loopholes are a major concern, the research provides evidence that how weak institutional settings are largely responsible for harvesting the potential benefit from micro-prudential regulation such as the basel accord. To shed analytical light on developing country context, the study document that sub-debt has been instrumentalized to maintain minimum capital ratio and banks managers tends more focus on improving ROE instead of ROA. The findings of the study are supportive to other developing countries where sub-debt considered as BRC and issued through private placement. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, it is the first attempt to cast doubt on the impact of sub-debt as a BRC, given the uniqueness of the Bangladeshi banking industry, on the PCBs including Islamic banks.



Hasan, A.K.M.K. and Suzuki, Y. (2021), "“Sub-debt trap”: a real effect of an ill-design adoption of basel accord in the Bangladeshi banking industry", Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research, Vol. 12 No. 8, pp. 1124-1145.



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