The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) has been active in Dhaka since 1955, when Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah directed investments towards what became a thriving jute mill industry in Bangladesh. The success of those early investments led to the establishment of a venture capital and development organisation in 1966. It later became one of the largest employers and biggest exporters in the country. In all endeavours, the investments were designed to foster strong, cooperative partnerships with local institutions - with governmental bodies, private industry and the organizations of civil society.
HBL, which is now one of the financial institutions of AKFED’s financial services arm, commenced operations in Bangladesh in 1976. The network now includes seven branches in Bangladesh – five in Dhaka and one each in Chittagong and Sylhet. It is important to note that the AKFED project companies, which are the only development institutions in the AKDN that operate on a commercial model, function as businesses but reinvest all profits in further development initiatives, including contributions to social and cultural projects.