Quiet Walk

June 21, 2006 (LBO) – State Bank of India plans to expand its reach in Sri Lanka, making use of an upsurge in business climate since the February 2002 ceasefire, a top official said Wednesday. The Indian giant has been present in Sri Lanka since 1864, but has been sort of a late comer to expand operations.

“About three-years ago, our chairman decided to focus more on South Asian countries. The business case was also stronger with the ceasefire coming into effect,” the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Vinay Jain told LBO.

Besides a branch in Colombo and Kandy, the Indian giant has an exchange office in the city Wellawatte and Colpetty.

“The exchange offices will be upgraded to branch status this year, work is already on the way. Besides that we are looking at adding two or three more branches, perhaps outside Colombo,” Jain said.

The 200-year old Indian parent last year pumped in extra cash to beef up the Colombo unit’s capital to 2.8 billion rupees, boosting business volumes in the last year.

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank requires all banks to raise their capital to a minimum of 2.5 billion rupees by end 2006.

During the period under review, the bank lent 11.41 mil