Stepping Down

Jan 01, 2013 (LBO) – Gamini Wickramasinghe, who is stepping down as chairman of Sri Lanka’s Bank of Ceylon said dealing with loan applicants who expected patronage was among the biggest challenges in managing a state entity. “A lot of people expect to get loans from a state bank and think it is easy if they have state patronage,” Wickramasinghe said, responding to reporters at a media briefing in Colombo.

“But we looked each application without involving politics. There was not patronage. If we did we would be in trouble. That is always a challenge. That is normal, we cannot blame them also.

“We were in that stand throughout. If we played politics we would be in difficulties.”

In the 1990s state banks had been bailed out twice at the expense of citizens.

Wickramasinghe said the bank is expected to post a profit of 20 billion rupees this year of which a third would be retained and the rest would be paid as taxes and dividends to the Treasury.

Bank of Ceylon is Sri Lanka’s largest commercial bank and key financier of the state.

He said he had given his resignation to President Mahinda Rajapaksa in August but had stayed on until a replacement had been found. His only request was not to appoint a p