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Commercial Bank opens branches in Wattegama and Katugastota

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has opened two more branches in the Kandy District, enhancing its presence the Central Province and taking its island wide network to 243 branches.

The Bank’s Wattegama branch situated at 73B, Kandy Road, Wattegama, was declared open by the Bank’s Deputy General Manager - Personal Banking Mr Chandana Gunasekera. It is equipped with an ATM and offers the full range of banking services available at Commercial Bank branches around the country.

The second branch opened by the Bank is a ‘Minicom’ outlet that will operate within the Serendib Finance premises at 187, Katugastota Road, Kandy. It was ceremonially inaugurated by Commercial Bank Assistant General Manager - Plan Implementation Mr Richard Rodrigo. This outlet offers the range of facilities available at other Minicom outlets of the Bank, such as cash transactions, clearing of cheques, opening of savings accounts, fixed deposits and foreign currency accounts and handling of foreign drafts, travellers’ cheques and foreign currency.

In the picture (above) Commercial Bank’s Deputy General Manager - Personal Banking Mr Chandana Gunasekera accepts the first deposit at Wattegama branch and (below) the Bank’s Assistant General Manager - Plan Implementation Mr Richard Rodrigo lights the traditional oil lamp at the opening of the Katugastota Minicom.

Current and past employees of the Commercial Bank of Ceylon came together to celebrate Poson in a fitting manner with an evening of devotional songs. Veteran Sri Lankan vocalist Victor Ratnayake was the Chief Guest at the Bank’s ‘Pahan Gee’ programme at the Navarangahala, Colombo 7. This was the 15th such celebration organised by Commercial Bank to commemorate Poson. Pictured here are two choirs made up of employees of the Bank at the ‘Pahan Gee’ programme.

Commercial Bank reaffirms its support for nature

The CSR Trust of the Commercial Bank has sponsored the publication of a book on the biodiversity and environment of Sri Lanka to encourage initiatives that increase awareness of these subjects and the importance of environment protection. Authored by naturalists/ journalists Messrs Sudath Abeysinghe and Jayantha Jayewardene of the Biodiversity and Elephant Conservation Trust (BECT), the recently-launched book contains valuable information on numerous aspects including the environment, geographical formations of Sri Lanka, its biodiversity and inheritances and the issues confronting the environment. In the picture, Messrs Sudath Abeysinghe and Jayantha Jayewardene (first and second left respectively) present the book to Commercial Bank Managing Director/CEO Mr Jegan Durairatnam.


Says its presence will help boost bilateral trade and investment between the two countries

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon opened its representative office in Yangon on Monday, 8th June, formally launching its operations in Myanmar, initially to offer Advisory Services to Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi businesses wishing to enter that country, and to arrange Banking and Advisory facilities, funds transfer and encashment services.

Commercial Bank is the first Sri Lankan bank to be granted a licence by the Central Bank of Myanmar to operate a Representative Office in the country.

The Bank’s Representative Office, located at No 42 A, Pantra Street, Dagon Township, Yangon, Myanmar was formally declared open by the Bank’s Chairman Mr Dharma Dheerasinghe, Managing Director/CEO Mr Jegan Durairatnam, Acting Sri Lankan Ambassador to Myanmar Mr Hemantha Swarnathilake and other senior officials. Mr Sajeeve Piyaratne is the Manager of the Bank’s Yangon Representative Office in Myanmar.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Dheerasinghe said:“We believe that there is significant potential to increase bi-Iateral trade between Myanmar and Sri Lanka, and that there is interest among Sri Lanka's leading apparel exporters and other industries to set up operations in Myanmar.The presence of a Representative Office of Sri Lanka’s largest private bank would facilitate this process, and be mutually beneficial to the two countries.”

Commercial Bank Managing Director/CEO Mr Jegan Durairatnam said: “We have noted that the Banking Sector in Myanmar is expanding rapidly. By opening a Representative Office, it would also be possible for Commercial Bank to build closer relationships with Myanmar banks and offer them its experience in very successfully moving from manual and mechanical systems to high-tech banking.”

Myanmar is Commercial Bank of Ceylon’s second overseas operation after Bangladesh, which the Bank entered in July 2003, with the acquisition of the Bangladesh operations of Credit Agricole Indosuez (CAI), its first ever acquisition of a banking operation. Today, Commercial Bank’s operations in Bangladesh have grown to 18 outlets, and have won numerous awards including the Financial Mirror –Robintex - Partex Business Award for ‘The Best Foreign Bank’, the Financial News Services (FNS) Business Award for the 'Best Performing Foreign Bank' in Bangladesh and the ICMAB, National Best Corporate Award.

The only Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the top 1,000 banks of the world for the past four years, and ranked the Best Bank in Sri Lanka by FinanceAsia in 2015, Commercial Bank is the winner of multiple awards as Sri Lanka’s best bank over several years. The Bank was ranked the most valuable private sector brand in Sri Lanka in 2014 and operates a network of 242 branches and 610 ATMs in Sri Lanka. It was adjudged one of Sri Lanka’s 10 best corporate citizens by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in 2013 and 2014 and has been rated the Most Respected Bank in Sri Lanka by LMD, a leading business magazine, for the past 10 years. The Bank has also been the second Most Respected Corporate entity in the country overall for the past four years in the LMD rankings, and has been rated NO 1 in Sri Lanka for Honesty in 2013 and 2014 by the magazine.


Photo caption

Commercial Bank Chairman Mr Dharma Dheerasinghe (centre) and Managing Director Mr Jegan Durairatnam (left) light the traditional oil lamp at the opening of the Bank’s Yangon Representative office in the presence of Mr Sajeeve Piyaratne, Manager of the Representative Office and Acting Sri Lankan Ambassador to Myanmar Mr Hemantha Swarnathilake.

 

 

Nine months after it acquired Indra Finance Limited, the Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC has announced the re-naming of its fully-owned subsidiary as Serendib Finance Limited.

Acquired by Commercial Bank on 1st September 2014, the Company will henceforth operate under its new name and a new corporate logo, the announcement said.

While retaining its share in the motor vehicle leasing market as well as in hire purchase, mortgage loans and consumer finance, Serendib Finance -- which operates 11 branches in Sri Lanka -- will, with the backing of the country’s largest private bank, seek to consolidate and expand its reach, the Bank said.

The acquisition of Indra Finance and the re-launch of the Company under a new name would also benefit the Bank by enabling it to further extend its leasing operations and penetrate new customer segments to enhance its strengths in leasing through its ability to offer lower priced finance options to customers who finance vehicles through Serendib Finance, Commercial Bank’s Managing Director/CEO Mr Jegan Durairatnam said.

“Commercial Bank had identified leasing as an area for development as part of its strategic expansion to reach untapped market segments and business lines, and saw the potential of Indra Finance in this context,” Mr Durairatnam said. “The acquisition is therefore expected to be beneficial to both the customers and the stakeholders of the renamed Indra Finance.”

The adoption of the new name Serendib Finance is supported by a re-branding initiative which included redesigned signage at the Head Office and branches of the Company and the launch of a new logo.

With assets in excess of Rs 800 billion, Commercial Bank is the only Sri Lankan bank to be ranked among the Top 1000 banks of the world for four consecutive years and has the highest market capitalisation among Sri Lankan banks. The Bank operates a network of 242 branches and 610 ATMs in Sri Lanka and has won multiple awards as the country’s best bank over several years; been adjudged one of the country’s 10 best corporate citizens by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in 2013 and 2014 and been rated the Most Respected Bank in Sri Lanka by LMD for the past 10 years. Commercial Bank has been the second Most Respected Corporate entity in the country overall for the past four years, and been rated No 1 in Sri Lanka for Honesty in 2013 and 2014 by LMD.

Indra Finance Limited was incorporated in 1987. The Company was licensed as a Specialized Leasing Company in 2007 and then as a Licensed Finance Company in 2013. The Company's principal activities are granting lease facilities, hire purchase, mortgage loans and other credit facilities.

Wins ‘Best Bank’ Country Award for 5th time in 7 years

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has been adjudged the ‘Best Bank’ in Sri Lanka in 2015 by Hong Kong based ‘FinanceAsia,’ one of the most eminent financial publications in the region.

This will be the fifth ‘FinanceAsia Country Award for Achievement’ presented to Commercial Bank in the seven years since the Bank became the first entity in Sri Lanka to receive this prestigious accolade in 2009.

The full list of this year’s winners is to be published in the June issue of FinanceAsia.

“The FinanceAsia awards are decided principally on performance, and follow a stringent evaluation of key performance indicators,” Commercial Bank’s Managing Director/CEO Mr Jegan Durairatnam said. “In that context, this award is a tribute of the passion, commitment and hard work of the entire Commercial Bank team, and is an important endorsement of the Bank’s strength and stability for all its customers and stakeholders.”

The FinanceAsia award is based on the respective banks’ financial performance and considers capital adequacy, liquidity and cost income ratios, pre and post-tax profits, provisions for possible losses, return on equity and network of branches, agents and correspondents. The Bank’s Total Assets, Loans and Deposits portfolio, vision and long term strategy, as well as market position versus its nearest competitor are also evaluated by FinanceAsia for the award.

The Country Award for Sri Lanka ranks Commercial Bank alongside the banking giants in the region such as HSBC and DBS, which were adjudged the best in Hong Kong and Singapore respectively. Other winners of FinanceAsia’s Best Bank awardsin 2015 include HDFC Bank – India, MCB – Pakistan, CTBC – Taiwan, Shinhan Financial – South Korea, ICBC – China, Kasikornbank – Thailand, Vietcombank – Vietnam, Bank Mandiri – Indonesia and Public Bank – Malaysia.

First published in 1996, FinanceAsia is Asia’s leading financial publishing company and the world’s foremost information source on the Asian financial markets. Published 11 times a year in Hong Kong, FinanceAsia provides readers with the latest financial trends, interviews, features and investigative reports. The company is owned by Haymarket Media Limited, the largest privately-owned publishing group in the UK.

With assets in excess of Rs 800 billion, Commercial Bank is the only Sri Lankan bank to be ranked among the Top 1000 banks of the world for four consecutive years and has the highest market capitalisation among Sri Lankan banks. The Bank operates a network of 242 branches and 610 ATMs in Sri Lanka and has won multiple awards as the country’s best bank over several years; been adjudged one of the country’s 10 best corporate citizens by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in 2013 and 2014 and been rated the Most Respected Bank in Sri Lanka by LMD for the past 10 years. Commercial Bank has been the second Most Respected Corporate entity in the country overall for the past four years, and been rated No 1 in Sri Lanka for Honesty in 2013 and 2014 by LMD.

A special Savings Account designed to support micro entrepreneurs and promote financial inclusivity to this segment has been launched by the Commercial Bank of Ceylon, Sri Lanka’s largest private bank.

Linked to this new savings account branded ‘Divisaru’ (Prosperous Life), amicro loan will extend up to 25 times an agreed value of monthly savings, up to a maximum of Rs 125,000, the Bank said.

Intended to support micro enterprises in all sectors including fishing, livestock agricultureand similar pursuits, the Divisaru account can be opened with an initial deposit of just Rs 100, and requires a minimum monthly saving of Rs 1,000 to qualify for a loan.

Account holders will receive a specially designed Passbook and ATM Card to help identify the client segment and provide service, be eligible to open joint accounts, proprietorship orpartnership accounts and will receive an interest rate that is higher than that applicable to normal savings accounts, the Bank said.

“It is our intention to organise and build a Micro Entrepreneur customer sector that will enable the Bank to focus its attention on the specific needs of this segment, and take a holistic approach in extending services such as savings, credit, leasing, micro insurance and fund transfer facilities,” said Mr S Renganathan, Commercial Bank’s Chief Operating Officer. “We want to support this segment as much as possible and play a role in its transition from micro to SME and then to the large business category.”

Holders of Divisaru savings accounts will also be eligible to participate in the many workshops and awareness programmes that Commercial Bank conducts periodically in all parts of the country on financial literacy, enterprise development and capacity development for micro entrepreneurs.

The Bank has conducted programmes of this nature for SMEs and micro entrepreneurs in areas such as Narammala, Galle, Monaragala, Wellawaya, Badulla, Passara, Bandarawela, Welimada, Weligama, Koggala, Karapitiya, Matara, Batticaloa, Ampara, Kurunegala,Mannar, Jaffna, Vavuniyaand Hingurakgoda in the recent past.

The Bank has established 13 Agriculture and Micro Finance Units(AMFU) to provide dedicated specialised services to the micro sector. These units identify and support people who need financial assistance for agriculture or micro businesses and provide guidance on how to improve those businesses and help resolve difficulties. The units located in Ratnapura, Narammala, Kandy, Anuradhapura, Kilinochchi, Bandarawela, Wellawaya, Hingurakgoda, Galewela, Atchuvely, Vavuniya, Tissamaharama and Kathankudydirectly assist nearly 50 Commercial Bank branches with their engagement with micro enterprises.

With assets in excess of Rs 800 billion, Commercial Bank is the only Sri Lankan bank to be ranked among the Top 1000 banks of the world for four consecutive years (2011-2014) and has the highest market capitalisation among Sri Lankan banks. The Bank operates a network of 242 branches and 610 ATMs in Sri Lanka and has won multiple awards as the country’s best bank over several years; been adjudged one of the country’s 10 best corporate citizens by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in 2013 and 2014 and been rated the Most Respected Bank in Sri Lanka by LMD for the past 10 years. Commercial Bank has been the second Most Respected Corporate entity in the country overall for the past four years, and been rated No 1 in Sri Lanka for Honesty in 2013 and 2014 by the magazine.

More than 750 Sri Lankans resident in Bahrain were treated to a multifaceted entertainment show sponsored by Commercial Bank recently as part of its efforts to promote its remittance services in that country. The event included a 'Rataviru Star' programme and ‘Dream Star’ M. G.Dhanushka's musical programme. The Bank also used the opportunity to meet representatives of exchange companies and prospective customers for the Bank’s Exchange House in Bahrain and to market its remittance services. Pictured here (above) is one of the entertainers at the show and (below) a section of the audience at the event.

The Commercial Bank’s on-going initiative to promote entrepreneurship development across the country by empowering micro, small and medium enterprises with the knowledge they need to grow, was recently extended to Hingurakgoda, the largest division in the Polonnaruwa District.

Organised by Commercial Bank’s Hingurakgoda branch with the assistance of the Bank’s Agriculture and Micro Finance Unit (AMFU) in Hingurakgoda, the programme benefitted 125 agri entrepreneurs of the District by providing them with valuable information on developing their ventures. It was conducted in collaboration with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), and CIC Agri Business.

Officials of the Central Bank conducted a financial literacy development programme covering fund management,the difference between formal and informal sector borrowings, how to identify legal tender notes, the Central Bank’sloan schemes and characteristics of Pyramid systems. Representatives of CIC Agri Business coveredkey aspects of effective paddy cultivation by explaining hidden secrets of modern paddy cultivation, how to reduce the cost of cultivation, how to enhance yield, new paddy varieties, effective water management and time management.

Officials of Commercial Bank used the opportunity to introduce the Bank’s new ‘Divisaru’ Micro savings account to the participants, and with assistance of the bank`s Development Credit Department, to make them aware of the salient features of the products and loan schemas available under Development lending.

Among the senior representatives of the organisations involved in conducting the programme were Messrs Saneth Jayasundara, Commercial Bank’s Regional Manager – North Central, Aruna Wijesiri, Assistant Director of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Chamila Senanayaka, Assistant General Manager, CIC Agri Business and Elmo Sooriyaarachchi Senior Manager, Commercial Bank Development Credit Department.

The Commercial Bank has conducted similar programmes for SMEs and micro entrepreneurs in areas such as Narammala, Galle, Monaragala, Wellawaya, Badulla, Passara, Bandarawela, Welimada, Weligama, Koggala, Karapitiya, Matara, Batticaloa, Ampara, Kurunegala, Jaffna and Vavuniya in the recent past.

The Bank’s Agriculture and Micro Finance Units are located in Ratnapura, Narammala, Kandy, Anuradhapura, Kilinochchi, Bandarawela, Wellawaya, Hingurakgoda, Galewela, Atchuvely, Vavuniya and Tissamaharama. They identify and support people who need financial assistance for Agri/Micro businesses and provide guidance on how to improve their businesses and help resolve difficulties.

Photo Caption:
The Bank’s Hingurakgoda programme in progress.


Assets cross Rs 800 billion; Deposits reach Rs 549.1 billion; loans & receivables grow to Rs 498.5 billion

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC has made a steady start to 2015, with profit after tax of Rs 2.509 billion for the three months ended 31st March, an improvement of 10.1% YoY.

A robust YoY growth in loans and receivables coupled with customary strong deposit growth and lower cost of funds contributed to this growth by generating net interest income of Rs 7.233 billion, an increase of 10.06%, Sri Lanka’s largest private bank said in a filing with the Colombo Stock Exchange.

Profit before VAT and NBT for the three months reviewed was up 7.88% to Rs 4.204 billion, while profit before tax at Rs 3.579 billion reflected an improvement of 8.77%, the Bank reported.

Total operating income, comprised of net interest income, commissions, foreign exchange income, recoveries and other income, increased by 8.84% to Rs 9.682 billion.

Total loans & receivables amounted to Rs 498.552 billion as at 31st March 2015, a growth of 19.13 per cent over 12 months. Total deposits grew by an average of more than Rs 6 billion a month since 31st December 2014 to reach Rs 549.111 billion at the end of the quarter reviewed. Deposit growth over the preceding 12 months was 16.28%.

Commenting on these results, Commercial Bank Chairman Mr Dharma Dheerasinghe said: “Commercial Bank’s performance in the first quarter is consistent with projections and reflects the inherent strengths of the Bank. There are several challenges that are common to most players in the banking sector, and in that context, the Bank’s figures are impressive.”

Commercial Bank Managing Director Mr Jegan Durairatnam said that the Bank was able to report a commendable growth in profits despite shrinking interest margins witnessed during the period under review.

Total assets of the Bank crossed the Rs 800 billion mark during the review period and stood at Rs 807.852 billion at the end of Q1.

Total expenses, including personnel costs, depreciation & amortisation and other expenses increased by 7.82% to Rs 4.148 billion.

In other key performance indicators, Commercial Bank improved its gross and net non-performing loans (NPL) ratios to 3.40% and 1.88% respectively from 4.40% and 2.54% a year previously. Interest margins continued to drop and stood at 3.66% as at 31st March 2015.The Bank’s Tier I capital adequacy ratio reduced from 12.93% to 12.14%, while total capital adequacy for the reviewed quarter reduced to 15.03% from 15.97%. These ratios however remain well above statutory requirements.

The Bank retained its position as the bank with the highest market capitalisation in Sri Lanka and the third largest listed entity overall in the period reviewed.

The only Sri Lankan bank to be ranked among the Top 1000 banks of the world for four consecutive years (2011-2014), Commercial Bank operates a network of 242 branches and 610 ATMs in Sri Lanka. The Bank has won multiple awards as Sri Lanka’s best bank over several years, and was adjudged one of the country’s 10 best corporate citizens by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in 2013 and 2014. The bank has been rated the Most Respected Bank in Sri Lanka by LMD for the past 10 years, has been the second Most Respected Corporate entity in the country overall for the past four years, and been rated No 1 in Sri Lanka for Honesty in 2013 and 2014 by the magazine.

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon recently concluded a successful engagement with the customers and potential customers of Batticaloa via a ten-day promotional programme conducted by Varnam TV. As one of the sponsors of the programme, the Bank actively participated in a series of joint promotional activities,visited about 1,500 homes to create awareness about its products and services, and supported a special workshop for women on the final day of the programme. Pictured here is one of the interactions between representatives of the Bank and residents of Batticaloa.

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has contributed towards an initiative of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce to raise funds for disaster relief work in Nepal by the Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management (APADM), a regional grouping of which the Chamber is a member. The APADM, which has also supported Sri Lanka during times of natural disaster, has already despatched a rescue team and established a Field Hospital in Kathmandu. Pictured here at the presentation of a cheque by Commercial Bank are (from left) Messrs JeevanPerera and Mahesh Rathnayake and Mrs PriyanthiPerera representing Commercial Bank’s CSR Trust, and MessrsMangalaP.B. Yapa – Secretary General/CEO of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, ChandrarathnaVithanage – Senior Assistant Secretary General, MrsAyoniWaniganayake – Senior Assistant Secretary General and MrsAlikiePerera – Deputy Secretary General of the Chamber.

Sri Lanka’s benchmark bank extends its commitments in education sphere with a ground breaking new web site

A new educational website that will bring the universe of knowledge closer to Sri Lankan children has been launched by the Commercial Bank of Ceylon as a community initiative that builds on the Bank’s on-going commitments on a national scale, in the spheres of IT literacy and online education.

A unique pilot project linking ‘Sipnena’ the new website, with 10 schools in diverse regions such as Jaffna in the north, Beliatta and Matara in the south, Minneriya, Kegalle and Kalawana in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa, and Nawalapitiya in the hill country, has been launched by the Bank as the first phase of this initiative.

Registered under the .lk and .com domains, and to be hosted free on the Microsoft Cloud by Microsoft Sri Lanka, the ‘Sipnena’ website will offer students free access to content carefully selected to support their educational needs, in line with local curricula, via the IT Labs donated by the Bank to these and 152 other schools around the country.

Commenting on this latest initiative by the Bank’s CSR Trust, Commercial Bank’s Managing Director/CEO Mr Jegan Durairatnam said: “Our objective is to create an environment that integrates technology as a natural part of the educational experience and provides all learners with the skills to access knowledge that will be a foundation for their future. As a bank that is ahead in technology and a pioneer in technological advancements, we are keen to give the same technological edge to our future generations.”

He said the launch of the ‘Sipnena’ Educational website is the logical progression of the Bank’s innovative online education programme, under which more than 60,000 children from 66 schools are currently accessing carefully selected mathematics and science lessons via a specially created web platform, to supplement their regular lessons in these subjects.

“We believe that the best resources should not be reserved for those who can afford them, but should be made available to everyone, everywhere, without cost. Using the power of the Internet, this goal is possible,” Mr Durairatnam added.

For the launch of ‘Sipnena’ the Commercial Bank has brought together the expertise of its own IT team headed by the Chief Information Officer; H-One, a leading IT Solutions company; Microsoft Sri Lanka, which has agreed to host the website on the Microsoft cloud free of rental; the Group Leaders of the Service Learning teams of the University of Colombo who will categorise the web-based lessons in accordance with the respective grades; and the Bank’s CSR Unit, which will coordinate the project.

Apart from providing cloud space for the ‘Sipnena’ website, Microsoft Sri Lanka will also join hands with the CSR Trust of Commercial Bank in the near future, to train school children by experienced trainers on industry based courses in Business Process Outsourcing, Agriculture and assisted services, Tourism/Hospitality, Apparel and Media and Journalism. Both Commercial Bank and Microsoft Sri Lanka are engaged in rural empowerment and Microsoft works closely with the Ministry of Education on a number of programmes to uplift IT Literacy, with a view to making Sri Lanka a future ICT hub in the region.

Speaking about the ‘Sipnena’ launch, the Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives of Microsoft Sri Lanka Mr Imran Vilcassim commented: “Sipnena Online Links offer immense potential for increasing exam success, decreasing the cost of education, and providing expanded options for learning. Still, overcoming the public's conventional views on technology could be difficult. For instance, despite lots of media and industry buzz about the personalised nature of online instruction, the majority of teachers and parents still view traditional, classroom-based education as better tailored to each individual.”

H One (PVT) Limited, A Hirdaramani Group venture, is Sri Lanka’s leading full service IT solutions vendor, recognised as the nation’s No 1 ranked Microsoft Tier 1 partner, Large Account Reseller, Microsoft Dynamics partner of the year and Premier Cloud Accelerate partner, voluntarily contributed to this initiative and handled the designing and content management of the ‘Sipnena’ website. H One serves the largest number of Enterprise Agreement Customers and is the trusted IT partner of top enterprises in Sri Lanka.

Expressing his views on the Sipnena Educational Website, Mr Samath Fernando, Chief Executive Officer of H One said: “The Internet is even able to capture a lot of the same activities students partake in while learning in traditional classroom settings. For example, video-conferencing in real time allows students and teachers to interact visually, and chat rooms and message boards help build relationships, make it convenient for students to help each other, and improve a teacher’s accessibility. And these tools and classroom resources developed through Sipnena are always at a student's fingertips, so that they can view past lectures, pour over message boards, and interact with other students when it's convenient for them. This ensures that students never miss out on a lesson or lecture or fall behind, as class information and resources are available at all times online.”

Additionally, Headstart (Pvt) Limited will facilitate the usage of ‘guru.lk,’ an educational website developed by the company, which offers access to a wide range of subjects belonging to the local curriculum. ‘Sipnena’ learners will also be able to access the web content of thathu.com, the Khan Academy and free British Council English lessons.

The 10 schools participating in the pilot project for ‘Sipnena’ are Meewanapalana Maha Vidyalaya – Horana, Sri Parakrama Maha Vidyalaya – Aruggoda, Denagama Maha Vidyalaya – Hakmana, Beliatta, Nagalakanda Navodya Maha Vidyalaya – Minneriya, St. Thomas’ College – Matara, Jaffna College – Jaffna, Rambuka Maha Vidyalaya – Kalawana, Agamathi Balika Vidyalaya – Panadura, Hiriwadunna Maha Vidyalaya – Kegalle and St. Andrew’s College – Nawalapitiya.

The next phase of the project will include the installation of equipment such as LED TV screens and web cameras to provide video conferencing facilities, enabling teachers to carry out interactive teaching and learning sessions for the school clusters, the Bank said.

Education is given pride of place in Commercial Bank’s extensive portfolio of CSR initiatives, which also encompasses healthcare, culture and heritage, environment, assistance to war heroes, disaster relief and other community needs.

The Bank’s flagship CSR initiative of donating fully-equipped IT laboratories to schools across the country has to date donated 162 IT labs, and benefited more than 160,000 students. The schools are also provided accessories such as computer tables, printers and chairs, and the Bank provides assistance to maintain and upgrade these computer labs when necessary to ensure that the facilities benefit many batches of students.

Other initiatives of Commercial Bank’s CSR Trust in the sphere of education include presenting scholarships and laptops to undergraduates annually, providing English education to rural school children, and a project in partnership with Cisco Networking Academy to offer a comprehensive ‘IT Essentials’ course for teachers and students free of charge, via the Bank’s online Education programme.

The only Sri Lankan bank to be ranked among the Top 1000 banks of the world for four consecutive years (2011-2014), Commercial Bank operates a network of 242 branches and 610 ATMs in Sri Lanka. The bank has won multiple awards as Sri Lanka’s best bank over several years, and was adjudged one of the country’s 10 best corporate citizens by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in 2013 and 2014. The bank has been rated the Most Respected Bank in Sri Lanka by LMD for the past 10 years, has been the second Most Respected Corporate entity in the country overall for the past four years, and been rated No 1 in Sri Lanka for Honesty in 2013 and 2014 by the magazine.

Photo caption
Commercial Bank Chairman Mr Dharma Dheerasinghe, the Bank’s Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer Mr Jegan Durairatnam and Messrs Imran Vilcassim – Microsoft Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives, Samath Fernando, Chief Executive Officer of H One and senior officials of the Bank at the launch of the 'Sipnena' educational website.

 

The Commercial Bank hosted a workshop on productivity improvement in medium and large scale coconut estatesin the Kurunegala District with the participation of more than 75 people in Kurunegala.

Organised by the Bank’s Kurunegala Branch and Development Credit Department with technical assistance of the Coconut Cultivation Board and Department of Animal Production & Health – Wayamba,the programme wasintended to enhance the knowledge of estate owners on coconut estate rehabilitation, the introduction of inter crops and promoting livestock (dairy farming) in coconut estates to increase productivity by maximum use of the space available between trees. The main objective of the programme was to create awareness of the available opportunitiesfor and underutilised resources in the area. It reasoned that increased profitability could provide a solution to coconut estate fragmentation which happens due to low productivity ofcoconut estates.

The bank has been conducting similar programmes in the past targeting main economic activities carried out by the people in different areas of the country. This programme targeted coconut cultivators who pay a vital role in Sri Lanka’s Agriculture sector by creating employment, supplying raw materials to coconut based industries andearning foreign exchange for the country.

Resource persons for the workshop included Mr. P C Obeysiryof the Department of Animal Production & Health – Wayamba and Messrs P S Senevirathne and H. M. M. J. Herath and Mrs. I. M. N. Ilankoon of the Coconut Cultivation Board.

An open forum held at the conclusion of the programme provided participants an opportunity to seek clarificationfrom the resource personnel.Representatives of the Bank provided participants with information on the ‘Kapruka Ayojana’ loan scheme, the Commercial Dairy Development Loan Scheme and other products and services offered by itsDevelopment Credit Department.

Pictured here are some of the participants in the seminar.

The Commercial Bank has completed the repairs to two sections of the steps to the summit of Sri Pada under a project undertaken by the Bank’s CSR Trust for the benefit of pilgrims.

The work began in 2014 and involved renovation of the steps between ‘Rathu Ambalama’ to ‘Golutenna’ on the stretch leading up to Seetha Gangula.

This was the second occasion that Commercial Bank undertook restoration of the pathway up Sri Pada as part of the Bank’s commitment to the nurturing of places of historic, cultural and religious significance in Sri Lanka. The Bank previously funded the reconstruction of the pathway between Seetha Gangula and Thenna in 2008.

Sri Pada is revered as a holy site by several religions and annually thousands of pilgrims climb the steps up this holy mountain to worship. It is of particular significance to Buddhists due to the belief that the foot print of Lord Buddha is imprinted on top of the mountain. The peak pilgrimage season is in April.

Preserving Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage is one of the focus areas of the CSR Trust of Commercial Bank. Two of the main projects it has completed in this sphere are the construction of a Museum at Kirivehera and the renovation of the lamp posts donated by the Bank to Dambulla Temple.

Pictured here are some pilgrims climbing to the peak of Sri Pada via the recently renovated steps.

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has lent nearly Rs 250 million to small businesses and farmers in Sri Lanka’s northern region in the past four months, as part of a multifaceted on-going engagement to play a catalytic role in the economic and social resurgence of the area.

Combining the extension of banking services, capacity and knowledge building, promotion of digital banking and supporting community needs, the Bank’s efforts concentrating on the Northern area has seen its officials in a hands-on direct engagement with large numbers of existing and potential entrepreneurs both in the peninsula and the northern mainland.

In the latest connected activity, the Bank participated in a Programme for SMEs Development organised by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. The main objective of the programme, held at the Divisional Secretariat of Mannar, was to create awareness among small scale entrepreneurs about the banking facilities available to them and to build a bridge between banks and entrepreneurs who are in need of financial assistance to expand their businesses.

Commercial Bank selected and interviewed 10 potential entrepreneurs from among the participants and invited the selected individuals to visit its Mannar branch to explore possible support for their business ideas. The majority of the participants were women engaged in the dry fish and garments businesses, the Bank said.

Loans granted over the past four months to entrepreneurs in the northern region included large agriculture loans totalling Rs 206 million, Rs 33.7 million as short term agriculture loans principally to paddy farmers, and micro loans amounting to Rs 3.6 million.

“Our activities in the north showcase the Commercial Bank’s commitment to partner and empower individuals and communities to improve their economic status and capacity,” said Mr Jegan Durairatnam, the Bank’s Managing Director. “They also exemplify the multiple roles the Bank can play in stimulating economic growth through direct engagements in several areas, including building financial literacy.”

Among the recent activities conducted by the Bank in the northern region were a seminar by the Bank’s Agriculture and Micro Finance Unit (AMFU) of Vavuniya and Mannar for 120 sea weed cultivators from the Silawathurai, Mutharipputhurai and Arippu areas; a week-long campaign to educate the public about the products and services offered by the Bank for remittances, and to raise awareness about the dangers of using illegal methods to receive money from overseas; an event in Jaffna to educate the public on the features and advantages of the Bank’s Mobile and Online banking products, and participation in the Jaffna International Trade Fair for the fourth consecutive year.

The Bank also opened its 241st branch in Sri Lanka at Chankanai in Jaffna during this period, further enhancing its presence in the Northern Province of the country.

In the sphere of community support, the CSR Trust of Commercial Bank donated equipment to the Sub Fertility Unit of Killinochchi Hospital and provided new computers to the IT Lab it had donated previously to the SOS Village Jaffna.

The only Sri Lankan bank to be ranked among the Top 1000 banks of the world for four consecutive years (2011-2014), Commercial Bank has won multiple awards as Sri Lanka’s best bank over several years, and was adjudged one of the country’s 10 best corporate citizens by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in 2013 and 2014. The bank has been rated the Most Respected Bank in Sri Lanka by LMD for the past 10 years, has been the second Most Respected Corporate entity in the country overall for the past four years, and been rated No 1 in Sri Lanka for Honesty in 2013 and 2014 by the magazine.

Photo caption:
(Above) Participants at the Central Bank organised event in Mannar for SME development and (Below) Commercial Bank staff promoting the Bank's remittance services in Jaffna.

 

Sri Lanka’s leading private sector bank launches unique short term ‘Millionaire’s Account’

 

A new, aspiration targeted investment plan that enables account holders to build up a minimum balance of Rs 1 million within a specific period without a high initial investment, has been launched by the Commercial Bank of Ceylon, the largest private sector bank in Sri Lanka.

The first savings product of its kind in the local banking sector, the ‘Commercial Bank Millionaire’s Account’ guarantees the depositor a balance of Rs 1 million or multiples of Rs 1 million up to Rs 10 million in three, four, five, or six years, depending on how much he or she is willing to deposit each month.

Designed principally to cater to a segment that needs to fast track savings for specific purposes such as the purchase of assets, children’s or own education orweddings, the new product is a flexible, easy to manage investment plan with a clear goal,that generates expected returns within a targeted period of time, the Bank said.

“To many salaried workers with day-to-day expenses, becoming a millionaire in three to six years may seem out of reach,” said Mr Chandana Gunasekera, Commercial Bank’s Deputy General Manager – Personal Banking. “With the Millionaire’s Account, we show how it can be done, with the support of Commercial Bank -- one of the country’s strongest and most stable financial institutions.”

“Some people save in an unplanned manner, with no target balance in mind, and deplete their savings when needs arise. Our new product encourages taking a structured approach that can be customised to suit the payment capacity of the depositor and the duration of his or her choice.”

Available to any Sri Lankan over 18 years of age, the Commercial Bank Millionaire’s Accountthat generates a balance of Rs 1 millionrequires a monthly deposit of Rs 25,000over three years, Rs 18,100 a month for a four year plan, Rs 13,950 per month for a five year plan and just Rs 11,225 a month for a plan maturing in six years.

Depositors who wish to raise more than Rs 1 million may increase their monthly deposit according to the number of millions they wish to raise, up to a maximum of Rs 10 million. Depositors can also nominate beneficiaries to receive the total amount invested in the event of their demise before maturity.

“We are very excited about the potential for this new product,” Mr Gunasekera added. “Most other investment options that offer above average rates of return require a high initial investment. With this new product, depositors can invest as they earn, and their monthly commitment will diminish in significance as their regular earnings increase over the duration of the plan.”

Commercial Bank ended FY 2014 with deposits of Rs 529.4 billion, following growth of Rs 78.3 billion or 17.34% over 12 months at an average of Rs 6.5 billion per month. The Bank’s assets stood at Rs 795.6 billion as at 31st December 2014.

The only Sri Lankan bank to be ranked among the Top 1000 banks of the world for four consecutive years (2011-2014), Commercial Bank has won multiple awards as Sri Lanka’s best bank over several years, and was adjudged one of the country’s 10 best corporate citizens by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in 2013 and 2014. The bank has been rated the Most Respected Bank in Sri Lanka by LMD for the past 10 years, has been the second Most Respected Corporate entity in the country overall for the past four years, and been rated No 1 in Sri Lanka for Honesty in 2013 and 2014 by the magazine.

Rs 2.5 billion dispensed on 10th April 2015 surpassing the previous highest per day amount of Rs. 2 billion

 

If withdrawals from the ATMs of Commercial Bank in the ‘Avurudu’ season are anything to go by, Sri Lankans celebrated their New Year on a grand scale in 2015, establishing new records for cash dispensed from the largest automated teller network owned by a single bank in the country.

The previous record of Rs 2.05 billionfor cash withdrawals in a single day set on 11th April 2014, was broken on Friday, 10th April 2015, when users of the Commercial Bank’s 610-terminal ATM network withdrew Rs 2.49billion, an increase of Rs 441 million.

In a record breaking 12-day run, the Bank’s ATM network dispensed Rs 17.2 billion between the 1st and 12th of April 2015, of which Rs 11.8 billion was dispensed over the seven days from 6th to 12th April, the Bank said. The number of transactions processed in the first 12 days of the month exceeded 2 million of which 1.3 million was during the peak week.

Commercial Bank’s two-day record for cash dispensed via its ATM network was also broken this year, with Rs 4.55 billion on the 10th and 11th of April 2015, beating last year’s two-day figure of Rs 4 billion. The average ticket size of a withdrawal on 10th April 2015was Rs 11,642, also higher than a year previously.

The Bank said that these statistics demonstrate the important role the Commercial Bank ATM network plays in the lives of millions of people in Sri Lanka, and reaffirms the value of the technology as well as the capacity, robustness and reliability of the Bank’s ATM network. These aspects are particularly important during peak shopping seasons such as the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and Christmas.

The Commercial Bank ATM network is the largest automated cash dispensing facility owned by a single bank in Sri Lanka.Holders of Commercial Bank’s standard ATM cum Shopping Debit Cards can withdraw up to Rs 40,000 from the Bank’s ATMs per withdrawal. The Bank also offers customers the option of setting their own ATM withdrawal limits up to a maximum of Rs 100,000 a day, and a point-of-sale limit of up to Rs 500,000.

The only Sri Lankan bank to be ranked among the Top 1000 banks of the world for four consecutive years (2011-2014), Commercial Bank operates a network of 242 branches in Sri Lanka. The bank has won multiple awards as Sri Lanka’s best bank over several years, and was adjudged one of the country’s 10 best corporate citizens by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in 2013 and 2014. The bank has been rated the Most Respected Bank in Sri Lanka by LMD for the past 10 years, has been the second Most Respected Corporate entity in the country overall for the past four years, and been rated No 1 in Sri Lanka for Honesty in 2013 and 2014 by the magazine.

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon supported the ‘Avurudu’ celebrations of ‘Ranaviru Sevana,’ the rehabilitation centre in Ragama for disabled war heroes, for the sixth consecutive year in 2015, enabling disabled soldiers to enjoy a day of fun activities by engaging in traditional games. In the picture (above) Commercial Bank’s Senior Regional Manager – Colombo Metro Mr Roshan Perera presents a gift to the winner of one of the events and (below) one of the events in progress.

Remittance customers of the Commercial Bank branch were hosted at a colourful‘Avurudu’ event that included partaking of the traditional meal, at the Bank’s Kiribathgoda branch recently. The event was part of the launch of the distribution of a special token of prosperity to the Bank’s remittance customers in the days preceding the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

All customers who receive money through Bank’s own e Exchange remittance service as well as through international remittance services such as MoneyGram, Ria and Express Money will receive this special token of prosperity, which is a novel concept to add more flavour and glamour to the traditional New Year food table, the Bank said.

Commercial Bank’s DGM Personal Banking Mr. Chandana Gunasekere, AGM Operations, Mr. Palitha Perera, Chief Manager e Banking Mr. Pradeep Banduwansa, and other officials participated in the event, which included speeches about traditional Avurudu customs by the veteranartiste Mr. Sathischandra Edirisinghe and theBank’s Senior Manager and popular artiste Mr. Bandula Nanayakkarawasam. Pictured here are some of the scenes from the event.