Lower Costs

Mar 10, 2010 (LBO) – Seylan Bank group has slashed its wage bill 30.7 percent to 2.5 billion rupees and is pushing to recover some its 29 percent bad loans as it is re-structured, senior officials in its state-backed management said. “We cut some unnecessary costs, stopped overtime, cut fuel allowances and increased staff retirement age from 55 to 58,” Raaj de Silva, chief financial officer at Seylan Bank said.

“That’s how we were able to bring down costs.”

The bank was put under state-run Bank of Ceylon by the regulator and is being managed by a new board after it suffered a run following the collapse of an unregulated firm in Sri Lanka’s Ceylinco group – its then controlling shareholder – in 2008.

In 2009, Seylan made a profit of 448.7 million rupees up from a loss of 799.8 million rupees in 2008. The banks stand alone profits were up 250 percent, to 543.3 million rupees.

The groups other overhead costs fell 21.2 percent to 2.8 billion rupees. Total operating costs had come down 23.2 percent to 9.1 billion rupees from a year earlier.

“The picture I have to pain to you today is completely different from the canvass one year ago,” Eastman Narangoda, chairman of Seylan Bank said.

“We struggled un