Bandara assumes duties as GM BOC | Sunday Observer

Bandara assumes duties as GM BOC

BOC General Manager Senarath Bandara. Pic: Chinthaka Kumarasinghe
BOC General Manager Senarath Bandara. Pic: Chinthaka Kumarasinghe

Assuming duties as the 20th General Manager of the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) last week Senarath Bandara said he would steer the bank to maintain its No 1 status in the banking industry and of the country.

With a career spanning over two decades in the bank Bandara succeeded D.M. Gunasekera who retired this year following a 34-year stint with the Bank. The Chairmanship of the bank is currently President’s Counsel Ronald C. Perera.

“BOC must remain the number one bank while being a tower of strength to the country,” Bandara said.

However, the State owned entity is not without problems and would face a new set of challenges as the clock keeps ticking for upgrading and improving service standards.

As stated by the chairman in his welcoming remarks the responsibility now lies on the new general manager to take the bank forward amidst many challenges. The bank launched its three-year corporate plan from 2018-20 last year aiming at expanding the digitization process, SME lending and enhancing its overseas foot print. The bank launched the first flagship ‘BOC Digi’ branch in Kandy this year in keeping with its digitization program across the country.

“Banking is not only about lending and branching. It has to go with digitization,” Bandara said.

The bank will be focusing more on lending to the SME sector according to the new chief. “ We will increase lending for the SME sector and help them to increase their income earning capacity. Our aim is to help every citizen to make a better living,” Bandara said.

BOC was ranked the No 1 bank in Sri Lanka among the top 1000 banks in the world by The Banker Magazine UK in 2016 and notched the third trillion in assets in 2016.The bank closed the year 2016 with a profit before tax of Rs. 31.2 billion.

“We managed change successfully all these years. If not for that, the bank would not have survived such a along time,” the new General Manager said.

The saga of the State entity began on August 1, 1939 with Sir Ernest de Silva as its first chairman. The bank then expanded its foot print beyond Colombo within a short span branching out first to Kandy in 1941 and subsequently to Galle, Jaffna, Kurunegala, Batticaloa and Panadura. The bank turns 78 this year.

The new navigator of the bank said he had received the fullest support of all the staff right throughout his career in the bank and would mobilize his staff to achieve its vision, mission and values.

“I will create a more friendly working environment enabling employees to be customer centric,” Bandara said.

The new GM said there was never a ‘no’ to any job entrusted to him and that it was always an opportunity to serve the institution.

He will now according to the Chairman, have to tell his wife that he would hereafter come home ‘only at mid night’. “BOC must continue to be the No 1 bank in the country and its now up to the new general manager to direct the bank to achieve its goals,” the Chairman said while inviting the staff to extend their support to achieve the goals of the bank.

The bank comprises a network of over 627 branches connected online, over 730 ATMs and 13 subsidiaries and five associate companies. The BOC diversified its operations in the United Kingdom by upgrading its first branch in London. It also operates in three other overseas locations - Maldives, Chennai and Seychelles.