June 01, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s DFCC Vardhana Bank said it had launched a credit card targeting high-end customers and to improve access despite difficult market conditions owing to lower consumer spending and high taxes. “We’re now moving towards a cashless society and the bank has started by introducing credit cards,” DFCC group chairman Rajan Brito told a news conference. “We’ll be introducing debit cards soon.”
Despite news reports that banks were making huge profits, Brito said, banks were facing difficult times, with rising bad loans and too much competition.
“The news reports about huge profits are only headlines, they are not really true,” Brito said.
“Banks are having big problems in non-performing loans, they have to invest a lot in infrastructure and technology.
“Also, in Sri Lanka no consolidation is allowed in the banking sector, unlike elsewhere.”
Banks also had to cope with high taxation with two forms of tax even on credit cards.
“This is the only country in the world where you have double, or even triple, tax on the same source of income,” Brito said. “In other countries people are only taxed once.”
LG Perera, chief executive of DFCC Vardhana Bank, said the bank went a