Purpose – This paper aims to examine the tendencies of sustainability reporting by major commercial banks in Bangladesh in comparison with global sustainability reporting indicators outlined in the GRI framework together with banks' predilection toward reporting 16 GRI financial service sector (FSS) specific performance indicators. Design/methodology/approach – Based on the GRI G3 guidelines, the paper investigated banks' reporting in five broad areas of sustainability, such as environment, labour practices and decent works, product responsibility, human rights and society. The 2008/2009 annual reports of 12 major commercial banks listed on Dhaka stock exchange were analysed and coded using a content-based technique. Findings – The results show that information on society is addressed most extensively with regard to extent of reporting. This is followed by the disclosures prepared on decent works and labour practices and environmental issues. Furthermore, the disclosures of product responsibility information and the information for human rights are rather scarce in banks' reporting; on the subject of FSS-specific disclosures, only seven items out of 16 are disclosed by all sample banks. Research limitations/implications – The findings of the study indicate that Bangladeshi commercial banks' social disclosures could develop in this style to become more holistic and over time (in association with the country's central bank involvement) to resemble a type of structured reporting to the point where they are properly labelled per se. Originality/value – The study contributes to the social disclosure literature, in particular in a developing countries banking sector context, seeing as it disseminates evidence of the standing on social disclosures practices at the level of GRI with developing countries' banks data.