May 31, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s banks have started to issue new credit cards ending a steady contraction seen during 2009, amid an overall growth in commercial bank loans to private businesses this year, official data show. In March 2010, bank credit to businesses rose 23 billion rupees, the strongest monthly growth since credit started to expand.
Central Bank data showed that active credit cards had grown to 843,506 in February 2010 up 7,350 from a month earlier.
Cards issued by commercial banks fell from 917,418 in December 2008 to 836,156 in January 2010 as banks tightened credit standards and defaults went up.
Total credit given through cards also fell from 34.2 billion rupees to 31.3 billion rupees during the period as banks focussed on recovering credit.
Commercial bank credit to private sector businesses also fell until September 2009.