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Sat, 29 November 2014 06:32:58
Sri Lanka NSB in savings drive
25 Sep, 2008 09:39:11
Sept 25, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka's state-run National Savings Bank (NSB) is starting a three-month savings drive from October 01, to coincide with World Thrift Day, officials said.

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The bank was also offering gifts ranging from bicycles and gift vouchers for new Hapan branded children's accounts and was launching a new Sthree branded accounts targeted at female savers through the postal service.

General manager Sunil Perera said the savings drive had no specific deposit targets but it is intended to broaden awareness and deepen the savings habit of people in Sri Lanka.

Chairman Upali Gunaratne said there were complaints that the bank's interest rates were too low but a recent collapse of a high interest rate deposit scheme showed the dangers of going after "bogus" very high interest rates.

Gunaratne said rural savers wanted a safe route to deposit their money and NSB had a high 'AAA(lka)' rating at a time when global banks were under pressure.

The bank's recently launched 'Happy' branded savings account which gave higher interest rates had done well attracting 800 million rupees in deposits in a short time, he said.

"These are new deposits, only about 10 percent was perhaps older deposits," Gunaratne said.

The 'Happy' scheme gave 5.0 percent interest for deposits up to 40,000 rupees, 10.50 percent for deposits up to 99,000 rupees, and 12.50 percent for deposits up to 400,000 rupees. Larger savings deposits were given 14.50 percent.

The bank was also on an intensive drive to promote remittances from abroad linking up with the global postal-giro system, a money transfer service.

In several European countries including Italy the system was now being tested. The system will be extended to Germany, France and Israel, as well as Japan and Korea.

Gunaratne said the Eurogiro link will give an accessible and cost-effective channel for Sri Lankans working abroad to remit money.

He said post offices were found in every nook and corner of Europe though banks were spaced far apart, especially in remote parts of Italy where many Sri Lankans were working.

The postal-giro system was also being operated in Korea, Japan, Israel and Germany.

Gunaratne said that in Korea it used to cost 40 US dollars to send 1,000 US dollars to Sri Lanka but the postal giro system had cut it down to 8 US dollars.

In Italy standard ways of transmitting money cost 8 to 10 Euros, but the cost of a Euro gyro remittance was only 5 Euros.

By the end of 2007, NSB's deposits had grown 10.9 percent to 235.3 billion rupees.

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