With an unfathomable bond that was built with the Sri Lankan community for over 81 years, Bank of Ceylon, the No.1 Bank in the country celebrated that deeply rooted relationship with pride at its 81st anniversary of establishment on August 1 .
With a heritage that explicitly showcases the commitment it has towards the nation in terms of co-creating social and economic wellbeing together with the government of Sri Lanka, Bank of Ceylon has reached Sri Lankan businesses and individuals of all-walks-of-life to enrich their socio-economic standards. Indigenously originated in response to the needs of Ceylonese businesses to move forward to expand their businesses and wellbeing, the Bank of Ceylon Ordinance was enacted in 1938 and the Bank was declared open on August 1st, 1939 at 41, Bristol Street in Colombo Fort, by the Governor, Sir Andrew Caldecott.
Beginning its first extended branch in Kandy, Bank of Ceylon has moved forward to open 645 branches across the country, four overseas branches and a banking subsidiary in London up to now. BOC has expanded so much both in size and influence that the bank can still be considered as the prime financier for Sri Lankans despite all competition.
“BOC has been the highest profit earning single business entity in the country for a number of years continuously. The Bank’s anniversary would be the best day to remind the nation that all learning of the bank goes back again as an investment to assist the government’s socio-economic agenda to develop the country’s infrastructure facilities and other, on behalf of all Sri Lankans. BOC takes great pride and responsibility in responding to the needs of all its stakeholders” stated the chairman Kanchana Ratwatte.
BOC is currently standing strongly with a balance sheet that encompasses Assets valued over Rs.2.6 Trillion, Deposits over Rs. 2.1 Trillion, Advances and Lending over Rs. 1.8 Trillion, BOC boasts of being the wealthiest single business entity in Sri Lanka. This leading Sri Lankan banking giant has spread its wings across the island with a sophisticated inter-connected digital network currently inclusive of 645 branches, 10 mobile branches, 15 SME centres and also 1270 ATMs/ CDMs and CRMs that are 24 x7 operative as physical customer touch points building up a total of 1915, enabling customers to transact at their convenience. In its 81 year long journey, BOC has empowered generation after generation of individuals and businesses that many of the indigenous corporate scale businesses that are here today were start-ups financed by the bank back in the early days. At present BOC has taken its responsibility even further by being the bank that elevates the Sri Lankan banking industry by harnessing world class banking technologies and spreading the synergy across the country benefitting every household.
Leveraging on the strength gathered over eight decades, Bank of Ceylon has continued to dominate the Sri Lankan banking landscape at many different levels. “Looking at a broader perspective, anyone can observe that Bank of Ceylon is substantially rooted with every industry in the country in a significant way. In order to manage the requirements that are coming from this diverse customer base, BOC manages a product and a service portfolio that could financially enable anyone’s aspiration for social or economic growth. Considering the current social circumstances, the Bank has identified that the country is in need to promote the entrepreneurial spirit and more prominence should be given for financial inclusion and employment generation” stated the Acting General Manager Mr. D.P.K. Gunasekera.
BOC’s structure is sustainable in the longer-run as it is deeply connected to a profound vision, mission and a set of corporate values to begin with. It demonstrates it agility by adapting itself to be more responsive to customer needs. The assurance the Bank has earned throughout these years is validated by all stakeholders especially all Sri Lankans. The Bank aims to confront future challenges by developing market leadership, confronting market volatility, channeling and aligning resources to ensure business growth and transforming the banking landscape digitally.
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Unlimited music streaming platform in Sri Lanka
SLT-Mobitel, the nation’s ICT and Telecommunications Service Provider recently partnered with Spotify, to mark their launch in Sri Lanka. Spotify is a paid premium music streaming app which allows subscribers to listen to music to their hearts content. Both, SLT-Mobitel Post-Paid and Pre-Paid customers will now be able to enjoy Spotify by activating a monthly recurring subscription or one-time subscription plan and access unlimited music streaming and downloading facilities.
The subscription charges will get added to the user’s customary billing, where payment will be deducted in real time. Starting from the payment date, the user will be able to access Spotify and download their favourite songs, for the next 30 days. Users who sign up for their first monthly subscription will receive an additional one month, courtesy of Spotify. The one-month subscription plan is not applicable with one-time subscription plans. SLT-Mobitel data rates, depending on the user’s respective broadband charges, will apply.
Spotify also has some exciting features that will provide SLT-Mobitel customers with the opportunity to listen to ad-free music, access millions of uninterrupted music under one platform, play any song they like, anywhere they go, and also be able to enjoy their music offline.
SLT-Mobitel customers can select their preferred premium package under four categories; Individual, Duo, Family, Student. Each category has recurring and non-recurring plans. After one month of free streaming, the package will activate once the offer period terminates. While both, the Individual and Student premiums are limited to one account user, the Duo package offers two accounts and the Family premium is accessible through six accounts. To view Spotify plans, users can log on to https://spoti.fi/3aLWvce
Sri Lanka using ‘sovereign power’ over economy: CB Governor
by Sanath Nanayakkare
Anyone conversant with the elements of a political economy would know that Sri Lanka is using its ‘sovereign power’ to manage the different dynamics of the economy in a sustainable manner, Professor W. D Lakshman Governor of the Central Bank said on Wednesday.
“Some critics are saying that we adopt a so-called modern monetary theory. That’s not the case. In fact, Sri Lanka is using its sovereign power in a number of economic aspects to honour its external debt repayment commitments as well as to reduce its debt burden in the medium term as well as achieve resilient growth in the medium to long term, he said.
“We make policy decisions to boost our gross foreign reserves, meet our external debt servicing, to facilitate monetary expansion, to boost our GDP growth, to strengthen our current account balance and manage our domestic and external economic variables in a sustainable manner. This is not a modern monetary theory. This is an age-old tool used by central banks around the world when the circumstances demand it, he said.
“Certain trade-offs will be necessary when dealing with an economy which has a big fiscal gap to bridge. There are efforts to push Sri Lanka towards the IMF again which would in turn have influence on our policymaking. We have taken policy measures to stabilize the economy and we have adequate reserve levels to meet our debt repayments. Meanwhile, we are in negotiations with overseas central banks and multilateral agencies to further boost our reserve level and it would materialise within a matter of weeks,” he noted.
“One of the tools the Central Bank has introduced is in respect of repatriation of export proceeds into Sri Lanka and conversion of such proceeds into Sri Lankan rupees in order to strengthen the foreign exchange situation of the country,” he said.
The Governor made these remarks while delivering the keynote speech at a webinar organised by the Veemansa Initiative led by its Managing Director Luxman Siriwardene – the former Executive Director of Pathfinder Foundation.
The webinar revolved round the topic ‘External debt situation in Sri Lanka: Are we heading for a resolution or crisis?’
Professor Sirimal Abeyratne, Prof. Sumanasiri Liyanage, Dr. Nishan de Mel and Dr. Ravi Liyanage were the other speakers on the panel.
CSE on the rebound; indices close positive
By Hiran H.Senewiratne
CSE produced signs of a rebound yesterday with both indices closing positive, though turnover remained low. Central Bank Governor W.D Lakshman’s recent statement on managing foreign reserves gave some boost to the market yesterday, stock market analysts said.
The index experienced a zigzag movement within the early hours of trading; thereafter, it recorded a slight up-trend as it reached its intraday high of 7,439. Later, the market witnessed a down-trend at mid-day, followed by a sideways movement and closed at 7,372, gaining 43 points during the month of February, market sources said.
It is said the banking sector dominated turnover with a contribution of considerable parcel trades in Sampath Bank, Commercial Bank and HNB.
Further, the Commercial Bank’s impressive quarterly results during the recent turbulent period also built investor confidence. Commercial Bank was able to register a18 percent net interest income when other banks were reporting a decline. Its share price increased by Rs. 3 or 3.5 percent. On the previous day, its shares started trading at Rs. 85 and at the end of the day they moved up to Rs. 88. Due to the positive growth results, the bank announced a Rs. 4.40 dividend per share, plus a Rs. 2 script divergent for every share.
Further, Sampath Bank shares also appreciated in both crossing and retail. In crossings its shares appreciated by Rs. 1.At the end of the day they moved up to Rs. 154.50. In the retail market, its shares moved up by Rs. 2 or 1.3 percent. Previously, its shares fetched Rs. 154 and at the end of yesterday they moved up to Rs. 156.
Amid those developments, both indices moved upwards. The All Share Price Index went up by 104.48 points and S and P SL20 rose by 67.78 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 3 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Sampath Bank, where 3.9 million shares crossed for Rs. 602.2 million, its share price being Rs. 154.50, HNB 375,000 shares crossed for Rs. 39.4 million, its shares traded at Rs. 105, Pan Asia Power 9.5 million shares crossed for Rs. 33.2 million, its shares traded at Rs. 3.50 and Access Engineering 1.2 million shares crossed for Rs. 28.2 million; its shares traded at Rs. 24.
In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Expolanka Rs. 450 million (10 million shares traded), JKH Rs. 205 million (1.3 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs. 199 million (34.9 million shares traded), Sampath Bank Rs. 191 million (1.2 million shares traded) and Dipped Products Rs. 137.7 million (2.8 million shares traded). During the day 101 million share volumes changed hands in 18046 transactions.
During the day, Expolanka, the biggest contributor to the turnover, saw its share price appreciating by Rs. 6.20 or 15 percent. Its share price quoted on the previous day was Rs. 41 and at the end of trading yesterday it moved up to Rs. 47.
Sri Lanka’s rupee quoted wider at 193.50/195.50 levels to the US dollar in the spot next market on Thursday while bond yields remained unchanged, dealers said. The rupee last closed in the spot market at 194.50/195.00 to the dollar on Wednesday.