Banking Services

June 25, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state run Bank of Ceylon has expanded its services inside camps housing nearly 280,000 refugees in the north of the island, adding mobile computerized branches housed in shipping containers. Last week the bank added four retail units to its existing branch in the Manik Farm refugee camp complex in the northern Vavuniya district.

“These are fully fledged semi-permanent banking units that even have automated teller machines (ATM) facilities,” says chairman Gamini Wickramasinghe.

He said most public servants inside the camps despite receiving wages and pensions have no means of withdrawing cash.

Till May, Bank of Ceylon had done 500 million rupees of business in the camps, Wickramsinghe said.

The new units built inside a 40 foot container, includes counters, a modern pawning unit (gold collateralized loans), computers and air-conditioning, powered by a generator.

Wickramsinghe said automated tellers would operate 24 hours a day.

The teller machine is connected online via wireless link installed by celco, Mobitel Lanka, a unit of fixed line operator, Sri Lankan Telecom.

The refugees lost their homes in the last stages of the fighting between the military an