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    Bank of Ceylon Celebrates 75 years of service to the Nation

    August 01, 2014

    Today (August 01), Bank of Ceylon celebrates 75 year of service in shaping the financial and banking landscape of Sri Lanka. Envisioned to lead the Sri Lankan banking sector for another hundred years and more this undisputed leader has touched millions of lives from all walks of life through its inherent commitment to the nation’s economic development. The seeds of its birth were sown when a state council member . George E De Silva spearheaded a demand for the establishment of a state aided bank. The inauguration took place at No. 41 Bristol Street, Colombo Fort on 1st August 1939 with the patronage of the British Governor Sir Andrew Caldecott.

    In 1941 Bank of Ceylon opened its first outstation branch in the hill capital of Kandy. Orchestrating an expansion of its branch network it was able to reach all the main cities throughout the country. And currently it has 619 branches across the country. Apart from its main branches Bank also maintains 15 SME units to encourage entrepreneurial growth at the grass root level. Bank’s overseas network expansion began in 1949 with the opening of Bank of Ceylon London Branch, since then it has expanded over to Male in 1981, Chennai in 1995 and moved to Seychelles in 2014. Emphasizing on future directions of the Bank’s international expansion Chairman Air chief Marshal Harsha Abeywickrama states that “Leveraging on the strength of our strong balance sheet and the significant exposure we have gained in the international banking arena we focus our strategy towards building a strong Sri Lankan brand internationally and to uplift the country’s profile we have plans to expand overseas branch network up African continent, India and few other emerging markets in the near future”.


    Going along with the trends that setting in the year 1977 with the open economic policies in the country, the bank directly and indirectly diversified into many activities. “Currently Bank has touched every spectrum in the country’s economy providing banking and financial services to port, aviation, infrastructure development, hydro power development, agricultural and commercial sector. As always we will add the latest technology to our systems to provide further superior customer service at the same time further sharpening the Bank’s Human Resource to meet challenges in the future banking industry ” adds General Manager Mr. D.M. Gunasekara  In year 1985 Bank commenced moving into its symbolic 32 story Head Quarters branch at Echelon Square. With the emergence of the electronic era in 1988 and 1989 the Bank of Ceylon strategically moved into electronic banking with automated teller machines, cheque guarantee cards and launching Ceybank Credit Card in collaboration with Visa International. Gradually Bank of Ceylon became the pioneering commercial bank in the country playing an imperative role in developing all socio- economic strata in the country.


    Being a key financier in spearheading economic development in the North and East, Bank of Ceylon went beyond the role of the traditional Banker to provide an extraordinary service to war affected people in the North and East who are in need of security to their hard earned wealth. Extending its extraordinary contribution in resettling restoring normalcy within the region and easing the burden of the public, The Bank sponsored the rebuilding of the Jaffna railway station as a strategic CSR project.


    Transforming Sri Lanka’s banking and financial industry BOC concluded a successful USD500 Million 5 year tenure bond issue becoming the first Sri Lankan Bank to issue an international bond. This drew more than seven times the amount sought. Yet again in 2013 BOC issued its second very successful USD500 Million tenure bond.


    In recent years Bank passed significant milestones achieving global recognition as one of the top 1000 banks in the world, listed by The Banker Magazine (UK) respectively in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The Bank claimed its award as the only Sri Lankan brand recognized as one of the Asia’s Best Brands in 2013 by the Chief Marketing Officer’s Council (CMO Council) based in Mumbai, India. Brand Finance Lanka ranked Bank of Ceylon as the No.1 Brand in Sri Lanka for the last six consecutive years with the brand value of Rs.30.836 Billion. The Bank of Ceylon recorded yet another hat-trick in 2013 at the National Business Excellence awards ceremony organized by the National Chamber of Commerce. The Bank has achieved exceptional milestones in recent years by achieving rapid growth in recent years and currently holds over Rs. One Trillion assets.  Focusing on the Banks achievement, Fitch Rating Lanka ranked the Bank of Ceylon at AA+ (lka) which is the highest rating awarded to a local commercial bank.(SI/KH)

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