A fully fledged world banking system will be devised through the setting up of more Exchange Houses and placing Representatives in Canada, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, Cyprus, Singapore and Europe with the availability of funds. Another branch will be opened in Chennai, in addition to the existing branch and Exchange Centres in the Middle East, South Korea, Israel, Italy and France will be strengthened and their overseas staff strength expanded to mobilize enhancement of inward remittances and the ATM network extended said P.A. Lionel, BOC Deputy General Manager (International, Treasury and Investment) in an interview with Sunday Times. BoC is exploring the possibilities of positioning its UK subsidiary in the Euro Zone countries, where a large number of Sri Lankan diaspora live, to mobilize deposits and inward remittances.
"Last year there was US$ 5.1 billion of inward remittances coming to the country and out of this, 43% amounting to around US$2.1 billion was remitted through BOC, while intending to increase Foreign Currency deposit base by 20%" said Lionel. "We need to encourage people to save more and this will not only benefit them, but the country as a whole where it is on a development path. Sri Lanka has a need for more remittances and the Bank of Ceylon is a vehicle to facilitate this process," he added.
"With regard to inward remittances, the issue that banks face today is that whatever foreign currency that is sent to Sri Lanka is changed into rupees by the recipients and only 5% to 10% of that money remains in the NRFC accounts" he said. "Therefore, it is essential to encourage people to keep foreign currency in their NRFC accounts" he added.
He further elaborated that BOC wants to globalize banking activities to be an international bank and during the last 10 years they have been raising funds through syndicated loans internationally for short term tenure. Further last April BoC took another step forward by issuing US Dollar Bonds to the amount of USD 500 Million with overwhelming success.
He added that as BoC wants to provide Commercial Banking facilities and Investment Banking facilities under one umbrella, last year BoC started an Investment Banking arm enhancing their investment banking activities. This Investment Banking arm will cater to the segment by providing Portfolio Management Services, Advisory Services, Structuring Debt Instruments, providing Trustee and Custodial Services. This Unit was able to structure the largest Debenture issue of Rs. 10 Billion in Sri Lanka for the Urban Development Authority,