Commercial Bank branches go green

Commercial Bank

Solar panels installed at Commercial Bank's Narahenpita branch

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has announced that its environment-related initiatives have made steady progress in 2015 with the installation of solar power systems at four branches, the award of tenders for five more branch conversions, and the acquisition of 20 more paperless deposit machines.

Sri Lanka’s largest private bank said it is already generating 40kW of solar power for its branches at Balangoda, Borella, Narahenpita and Maharagama, and will increase this figure to 240kW when the installation of solar power systems at the Kollupitiya, City Office, Main Street, Gampaha and Nugegoda branches is complete.

“The harnessing of clean, renewable energy to reduce consumption of power from the national grid is one of several Green initiatives launched by the Bank as part of its obligations to the planet,” Commercial Bank Assistant General Manager Services Mr Chinthaka Dharmasena said. “The investments we are making to reduce the Bank’s environmental footprint will benefit present and future generations, and generate savings over the long run.”

The Bank invested Rs 10 million on the solar power installations at the first four branches converted, at an average of Rs 2.5 million per branch. Branches already identified for conversion require higher capacities ranging from 30kW to 60kW, the Bank said. Solar power is used mainly for lighting and charging uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units.

At least five more branches operating in buildings owned by the Bank are to receive solar power systems in 2016, under this programme.

Under its “Green Banking” programme, Commercial Bank has also invested a further Rs 36 million on 20 more units of a new generation automated cash deposit terminal that completely eliminates the use of paper. Dispensing with deposit slips and envelopes, the new machine has a stacker than can accept and count up to 200 notes at a go, enabling customers to make deposits of up to Rs 200,000 per deposit at a time into savings or current accounts, 24 hours of the day.The same machine may also be used to pay dues on Commercial Bank credit cards.

A significant reduction in the use of paper has also been achieved by the Bank’s efforts to actively promote the migration of customers from traditional banking channels to digital platforms such as mobile and online banking.

These Green initiatives are supplemented by programmes to reduce the Bank’s carbon footprint through energy saving, energy optimisation and responsible fleet and vehicle management, responsible disposal and recycling of materials, responsible water consumption, the discontinuation of the use of products that emit ozone-depleting substances and protecting the bio diversity in areas where its branches are present.

The Commercial Bank also supports the efforts of the Bank’s customers to make their businesses more eco-friendly through Green Development Loans at concessionary interest for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs that wish to invest in energy saving, energy efficiency or off-grid renewable energy projects, including investments in solar power.Commercial Bank Green Development Loans are available to organisations that need to comply with national environmental standards by improving their waste management systems or by installing waste water treatment plants, air pollution control systems, solid waste recycling/treatment plants or sound pollution control systems.

Extending its commitment to the environment to its corporate social responsibility agenda, Commercial Bank funded a ground-breaking initiative to replant damaged corals in the seas off Hikkaduwa, and landscaped one and a half acres of land of the National Hospital premises to minimise environment pollution and improve the mental wellbeing of the patients.

These and other environment-related initiatives of the Bank were recently acknowledged internationally with the award for ‘Best Sustainability – Green Initiative’ at the 2015 Asian Customer Engagement Forum (ACEF) Awards in Mumbai.

The only Sri Lankan bank to be ranked among the Top 1000 banks of the world for five consecutive years, Commercial Bank operates a network of 246 branches and 618 ATMs in Sri Lanka. The Bank was ranked the most valuable private sector brand in Sri Lanka in 2014 and has also won multiple awards as Sri Lanka’s best bank from a number of international publications over several years. The Bank was adjudged one of Sri Lanka’s 10 best corporate citizens by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in 2013 and 2014.

Commercial Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 18 branches and Myanmar, where it has a Representative Office in Yangon. In September 2015, the Bank received regulatory approval for the establishment of a fully-fledged Tier I Bank in the Republic of Maldives. The Bank also received license to operate a fully owned Money Transfer Operation in Italy recently. (Media Release)