Foreign Remittance

May 21, 2010 (LBO) – Inward remittances handled by Sri Lanka’s Bank of Ceylon (BOC) rose 22.7 percent in April 2010 despite other private commercial banks eating into its market share, a senior official said. “We see that our inward remittances are growing because people are sending hard currencies for savings and investments,” Gamini Wickramasinghe, chairman of BOC told LBO.

“The blue collar workers are remitting more to increase their savings and investments.”

Inward remittances through the bank have been rising every month since the beginning of this year.

In March they were up 24.4 percent to 16.3 billion rupees and in April rose 22.7 percent to 16.2 billion rupees from the previous year, Wickramasinghe said.

State-owned BOC is Sri Lanka’s largest commercial bank.

In 2009 the bank received nearly 1.6 billion dollars in foreign remittances.

However, despite the good run BOC’s inward remittances market share has steadily eroded because of fierce competition from private banks, Wickramasinghe said.

In 2008 BOC’s market share was over 50 percent, but a year later had dipped under 50 percent, Wickramasinghe said.

“Everyone is fighting to increase market share,”