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BOC eyes USD 4 Bn foreign remittance by end 2023

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New General Manager/CEO of Bank of Ceylon Russel Fonseka assuming duties at the Bank’s Head Office yesterday. Piture by Sulochana Gamage
New General Manager/CEO of Bank of Ceylon Russel Fonseka assuming duties at the Bank’s Head Office yesterday. Piture by Sulochana Gamage

The Bank of Ceylon will amass USD 4 billion foreign remittances from 2023 end or 2024 onwards, said Veteran Banker Russel Fonseka who assumed duties as the General Manager/CEO of Bank of Ceylon at the Bank’s Head Office yesterday.

Speaking to ‘Daily News Business’ he said today the gap between official and unofficial bank rate offered for foreign currency is narrowing and due to this there is a sharp decline in Hawala schemes where foreign remittances are channeled through unauthorized means.

“In addition the Bank of Ceylon has launched a series of initiatives to woo Sri Lanka expatriates to send their remittances through us and this is now working. Due to this and the truest people have towards our bank we expect BOC to attract a minimum of USD 4 billion annually foreign remittance from 2023 onwards,” he said.

He recalled that the bank recorded their best remittances record of USD 4 billion in 2019, and at the rate things are improving currently, we believe that we should be able to reach the same level of inward remittances by the end of 2023 or within 2024.”

Fonseka also said that the bank will be concentrating on green banking, data driven digitalization and several key areas to drive more profits to the bank. “We will also not hike up rates but will try to achieve more profits by providing a superior service.”

He also said that when it comes to NPLs the bank would also not resort to confiscating property nor take legal action against their customers but would support them to restart their businesses.

“For this we have set up a special Business Revival Unit which has already converted over 50 corporate and over 60 SME businesses that were on the brink of closure with heavy debt.” “We will keep on following this procedure.”

He said that all their overseas branches in London, Male and Seychelles were performing above expectations. “We also have plans to open more overseas branches but they are currently on hold due to the global economic downturn.”

Whilst steering the country’s largest bank as it navigates through the turbulent conditions in increasing profitability, my task will be to help Bank of Ceylon elevate itself to the next level and utilize its capacities and capabilities to the fullest in assisting in the nation’s economic revival and development.’ “We will also keep on continuing our present CSR initiatives and will engage more in the future.”

Fonseka succeeded K.E.D. Sumanasiri, who retired on January 13, 2023.  

Fonseka having joined the BOC in 1990, he has notched up 33 years of service with the banking giant and was serving as the Additional General Manager and the CFO before assuming duties as the 23rdGeneral Manager of the Bank. Fonseka is a career banker, who over the years has successfully steered and given leadership to the various divisions that came under his purview.

He has held the positions of Chief Financial Officer, Head of Finance and Planning, Head of International, Treasury and Investments, Head of Retail Banking and Head of Corporate and Offshore Banking. The exposure too many areas of banking would be a distinct advantage as he faces the task of steering the premier bank in Sri Lanka during what looks to be the most turbulent period the country and the globe has faced in recent times.

He holds a B.Sc (Special) degree in Business Administration from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and a MBA from the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. He has completed the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School, USA as a part of grooming of selected individuals under Bank of Ceylon’s succession planning.

He is a senior fellow member of the Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka and a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka. He serves as a member of the Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Standards Monitoring Board and is the immediate past president of the AAT Sri Lanka.


Wednesday, January 18, 2023 – 01:00

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