Diaspora Business

Sept 02, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s HSBC will chase expatriate Sri Lankan customers through its overseas network banking on newly liberalized foreign deposit rules, a top official said. “We want to attract Sri Lanka diaspora in countries where we have branches and get deposits and remittances,” Nick Nicolaou, head of HSBC in Sri Lanka and Maldives said in Colombo.

He said Sri Lanka’s newly liberalized deposit rules, where the Central Bank has allowed domestic banking units to get rupee or other currency deposits from abroad, would help the exercise.

Sri Lanka has allowed foreign currency banking units of banks to have deposits in foreign currencies free of exchange controls, which have proved popular with expatriate Sri Lankan workers for decades.

But this year, rupee deposits were also allowed, with free convertibility. The rupee is a very high yielding currency, due to chronic budget deficits run by the Sri Lanka government.

“We have also been able to attract foreign investors into the Treasuries market after it was opened to foreign investors,” Nicolaou said.

He declined to put a number to the volume of money attracted this year.

Sri Lanka’s 12-month