Cutting Duds

February 15 (LBO) – Sri Lanka financial authorities are clamping down on cheque returns with the help of a newly commissioned digital clearing system, officials said. “We have already cut down the proportion of cheques to less than half of what it was,” says Anura de Silva who heads, LankaClear, Sri Lanka’s central cheque clearing house.

LankaClear last year installed a cheque imaging and truncation system that clears all cheques in one day, slashing the time it took for out-of-Colombo cheques to clear.

At the time about ten percent of the cheques were returned without paying each day.

Now it has been cut to about four percent of cheques processed.

“Standardized cheque return codes were introduced along where it had been designed to prevent irregular use of unauthorized remarks,” says de Silva.

“It has to become a culture of making a payment, not returning it.”

After image clearing was introduced cheque use has almost doubled to about 250,000 a day and peaking to 300,000 on some days.

Still, returns have come down to about 10,000 from about 12,000 in pre-truncation days.

Officials say Sri Lanka’s central bank