Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sri Lankan banks expand in former Terrorists controlled area

Mar 05, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka's two biggest banks, state-owned Bank of Ceylon (BOC) and the private listed Commercial Bank, plan to expand in areas of the island's north and east which have been cleared of Tamil Tiger rebels.

Gamini Wickramasinghe, chairman of BOC, said the bank will be establishing eight more branches in the north and east in the next two months.
"Three new branches will be opened in the Northern Province and five more branches will be opened in the Eastern Province, before the end of April."

Currently the bank has 17 branches operating in the north and 17 in the eastern province.

Wickramasinghe said the bank's outlets in the former northern rebel strongholds of Killinochchi, Manukulam and Mullaitivu had been functioning almost non-stop for the last 25 years.

"Most of the branches that existed in the troubled zones have run at a loss. It’s the service we want to provide, we are not there just for the money."

The army has driven the Tigers out of all the main towns of the north and east and cornered them in a small patch of land on the island's north-east coast, where the reels face imminent defeat.

The government has said it was to revive the economy of the north and east quickly to provide employment for displaced people and help them resume normal life, as well as re-integrate the regional economy with the rest of the country.