By Quintus Perera
Cargills, the consumer marketing giant, has diversified into banking and this week officially opened the Cargills Bank head office in Colombo.
Lalith Weerartunga - Secretary to the President, Ajith Nivard Cabraal – Central Bank Governor and Ranjit Page – Deputy Chairman, Cargills Bank at the opening. Pic by M.A. Pushpa Kumara
After the ceremonial opening of this bank, Harris Premaratne, MD/CEO, Cargills Bank responding to a query from the Business Times said the bank fitted (well) into the consolidation process of the country’s financial institutions.
The bank is also looking to acquire another finance or leasing company under the consolidation process.
The capital of the bank is Rs. 5 billion with the base and the major contributors to this investment are Cargills (Ceylon) PLC and Ceylon Theatres Holdings PLC along with International Finance Corporation (IFC), German Investment Bank and some big corporates in the country.
Three more branches within the Colombo metropolis are to be opened by the end of this year. Mr. Premaratne said that they would be engaged in normal banking practices such as dealing with big corporates but they would stand out in helping the small entrepreneurs with micro financing – banking for the poor. This process would invariably be there when they establish their branch network alongside Cargills retail marketing outlets spread all over the country. When they cater to the banking needs of the rural poor, they would have to be different, making the banking simpler, he asserted.
With 45 years of solid banking experience having served at Commercial Bank and Sampath Bank, Mr. Premaratne said that becoming a part of the Cargills Bank is a unique opportunity as new banks are not opened often. The responsibility of opening a bank does not come to everybody and is a big challenge, he pointed out.
Louis Page, Chairman, Cargills Bank Ltd, speaking at the opening said that while certainly capitalising on all industry opportunities and avenues, what is most important to a bank is striving for a unique point of differentiation.
The Board of Directors of the Cargills Bank are Louis Page – Chairman; Ranjit Page – Deputy Chairman; Harris Premaratne – MD/CEO; Prabu Mathavan – Deputy MD/CFO; Deva Rodrigo, Mangala
Boyagoda and Ms Kamalini De Silva.