BOC marks 80th anniversary | Sunday Observer

BOC marks 80th anniversary

The Bank of Ceylon’s (BOC) longevity is a great victory for the nation, President Maithripala Sirisena said. He said that he had himself obtained loans from the bank to build his home. He felt that the Bank was instrumental in providing support to state institutions such as Sri Lankan Airlines, Ceypetco, and the CEB which in his opinion have been mismanaged for over 40 years.

The President was speaking at the 80th anniversary celebrations of the Bank of Ceylon at the BMICH last week.

He noted that Sirimavo Bandaranaike was instrumental in the current structure of the banking sector.

On August 1, 1939 at the opening of BOC at Bristol Street P C N Corea, former Minister of labor, industry, and trade said: “We needed to initiate an institution that would provide economic assistance to the life of every citizen in their quest for trade transactions of every aspect.”

“It is indeed strange that not a single share of a financial institution is owned by Ceylonese,” George E De Silva, Kandy State Council member, presenting findings to the commission of the state council, said, at the time. “These banks operate using locally sourced capital. They pay minute sums as interest for the money deposited by the citizens. They work with Shroffs and Chettiars who charge exorbitant rates of interest.” The findings of the Commission were approved unanimously by the State council.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that throughout history the BOC stood tall even while European and American banks failed. He noted that at certain stages even foreigners had to obtain capital from the bank.

He said the bank was good at mobilizing deposits islandwide and that a large part of the success of the bank is due to the trust the general public place in the institution. He cited the large rise in deposits during the tenure of his government as proof that their existed funds in the country for development.

He said that with BASEL regulation worldwide he expected more foreign capital to be deposited with the bank. Wickremesinghe expected the Japanese Samurai bond to be issued shortly. Wickremesinghe outlined the history of banking and development banking in the nation.

Chairman BOC, Ronald Perera, said that BOC was the biggest bank in Sri Lanka and ranked highest amongst the domestic banks in the top 1000 banks of the world. He cited the BOC’s strong brand image as being instrumental to its success and longevity. He said that the bank aggressively planned to go digital in the near future.

The Bank has been involved in the enterprise Sri Lanka initiative. Perera called on stakeholders to look at its large contribution to the State through taxation, investment, and transfer of profits.