Sri Lanka’s Bank of Ceylon overtakes last year’s profits in first half of 2021
Sri Lanka’s state-owned Bank of Ceylon (BOC) has surpassed 2020’s full year profit of Rs. 27 billion in the first six months of 2021, according to BOC Chairman Kanchana Ratwatte.
According to local media reports, the disclosure was made during his speech at the BOC’s 82nd anniversary, held at Temple Trees, with Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister and former Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Chief Guest.
Ratwatte has said that the achievement was made possible by the sharp increase in BOC’s loan book. Last year, lending by BOC rose by 28%.
“Our customers are happy with the assistance we extend,” the BOC Chief has noted.
He has further revealed that for the first six months, BOC had achieved US$ 1.9 billion in inward remittances, the highest-ever figure in a six-month period in the bank’s history, while last year inward remittances for the bank grew by 10%, but the growth was likely to double in 2021.
Ratwatte has also said that the BOC continued to honour all urgent requests for foreign exchange, be it for procurement of COVID vaccines, oil or essential medicines etc.
“Our reserves and financial position are very strong,” he has noted.
“These impressive achievements will certainly reinforce confidence the public, customers and business community have in Bank of Ceylon and reiterates the bank’s resilience as demonstrated for 82 years.
“We will be resilient for the next 28 years when BOC will turn 100 years old and remain a young and vibrant bank to help customers and the economy,” the Chairman has said, adding the average age of the bank’s staff was 32 years.
“When the new Government under the leadership of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa took office in November 2019, interest and VAT rates were double digit. However, the Government, even before the COVID pandemic, had reduced the VAT to 8% from 15%, as well as bringing back interest rates back to low single digit levels.”
The profit recorded by Sri Lanka’s state owned Bank of Ceylon is indicative of the strength and growth of the country’s banking sector. Sri Lanka’s economy has shown great resilience to external and internal challenges through the years and is once again on the path to recovery after facing the impact of the global Covid 19 pandemic. With Sri Lanka fast becoming a business hub in the South Asian region given it’s geographical positioning in the Indian ocean and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country supported by a strong banking sector, foreign businesses/investors could confidently explore business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.
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