State banks should be development catalysts – President
Profit maximisation should not be the only objective of state banks.
They should strive to be catalysts in national development while
maintaining profitability, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. He was
speaking at a ceremony to hand over letters of appointment to nearly
1,800 trainee staff assistants, recruited to the Bank of Ceylon (BOC).
The event was held at Temple Trees on Tuesday. President Rajapaksa
told the new entrants and staff of the BOC to strive and foster a more
rewarding relationship with customers.
He told them to find, acquire and retain customers in an efficient
manner and ensure their satisfaction to the optimum. The President said
as a state bank, the BOC had an added responsibility towards its
customers, to protect and guide them on the correct path. Noting there
were many instances of people getting into difficulties after obtaining
small loans for businesses, agriculture and other livelihood purposes,
President Rajapaksa said banks should guide and have a closer rapport
with customers to overcome such difficulties.
He reminded the gathering that there was a time when efforts were
made to privatise state banks which had been prevented.
“Today, these banks render a yeoman service to the country’s progress
and its people,” he said. The President said even during crisis such as
the global economic recession, the government was able to protect and
nurture state banks. President Rajapaksa who also spoke in Tamil, told
the new recruits to continue acquiring knowledge and skills to further
expand their career. BOC chairman Razik Zarook PC said having completed
more than seven decades of existence, the bank now is firmly entrenched
as Sri Lanka’s premier financial services organisation offering a broad
range of services.
The chairman said the BOC has close to 10 million customers (nearly
half the population) and assets worth of over Rs 1 trillion.
He said since 2005, the BOC staff and branches have almost doubled
and added that this was due to rapid development of the country under
the President’s leadership.
He said BOC has 602 branches and 462 ATM machines islandwide.
Speaking on BOC’s contribution to develop the war ravaged North and
East, he said the bank invested Rs 40 billion and Rs 70.8 billion in the
two provinces since 2009.
International Monetary Cooperation Senior Minister and Finance and
Planning Deputy Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama also addressed the
gathering. BOC directors, senior staff and parents of the new appointees
attended the event.