Reaching Out

Mar 05, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s two biggest banks, state-owned Bank of Ceylon (BOC) and the private listed Commercial Bank, plan to expand in areas of the island’s north and east which have been cleared of Tamil Tiger rebels. Bank of Ceylon’s expansion program is part of the government’s economic revival programs for the north and east, said Wickramasinghe.

“The ground level requirements have to be met for the people.”

BOC has one of the largest networks in the island consisting of 305 branches, 132 extension offices and eight pawning centres. Over 300 of its branches provide online banking facilities.

BOC has overseas branches in the United Kingdom, India and the Maldives Islands.

Sri Lanka’s largest private bank, Commercial Bank is also eyeing the eastern province as part of its branch expansion rollout.

“We are seriously considering opening a new branch in Kalmunai this year and two other locations in the future,” said Richard Rodrigo, head of marketing at Commercial Bank.

“Commercial Bank is seeking regulatory (central bank) approval to setup new branches in those areas.”

He said that finding suitable locations and infrastructure to start operations in the former war zone would be