Banking Abroad

March 27, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank has said it plans to expand its business in Bangladesh and is still considering setting up branches in other Asian countries despite obstacles. “Although it was the bank’s intention to establish a presence in the Far East, we have put these plans on hold in view of the global uncertainties,” managing director Amitha Gooneratne said.

“We will continue, however, to grow our operations in Bangladesh.”

In 2009 Commercial Bank intends to increase the number of branches in Bangladesh to nine from six as well as introduce credit cards within the first quarter.

The bank will also increase the number of automated teller machines in its existing network as well as increase small and medium enterprise (SME) centres, Gooneratne has told shareholders in the bank’s annual report.

Commercial Bank opened two new SME centres in Bangladesh in 2008. That year the bank’s Bangladesh unit earned 1,019 million rupees in pre-tax profits and 539 million rupees after tax.

Gooneratne also said some of the markets in which the bank explored the possibility of establishing branches are India, Nepal, Cambodia, Seychelles, Qatar, and Vietnam.