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Commercial Bank of Ceylon reaffirmed as largest lender to SME Sector in 2022

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Official government figures released in the 2022 Annual Report of the Ministry of Finance confirm that the Commercial Bank of Ceylon remains the dominant lender to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Sri Lanka. Out of the total loans provided to SMEs by 18 lending institutions in 2022, one in every three loans came from Commercial Bank, accounting for an impressive 34.2%.

In monetary terms, Commercial Bank lent a substantial sum of Rs 195.852 billion out of the total Rs 619.891 billion in loans granted to SMEs in 2022. The bank approved a total of 43,427 loans, a significant portion of the 126,899 loans provided across the country. Notably, the Bank’s contribution was particularly significant in the industries category, where it accounted for more than half of all loans provided by banks.

Commercial Bank Managing Director/CEO Sanath Manatunge expressed his satisfaction with the bank’s impact on the SME sector. He said, “It is deeply satisfying to see that we are making a truly significant contribution to the SME sector, even in challenging times.” He attributed this success to the bank’s commitment to cater to the specific needs of SMEs and its decades of financial experience and prudent management.

The bank’s approach involves objectively assessing the financial requirements of SMEs and seeking lending opportunities in targeted segments such as exports, local manufacturing, and import substitution industries. To support under-performing businesses, Commercial Bank established a Business Revival and Rehabilitation Unit in 2020, which provided assistance to many SMEs during the review period.

However, SMEs in Sri Lanka faced multiple challenges, including shortages of foreign currency reserves, import restrictions, supply disruptions, and limitations in resource mobilization. In response, Commercial Bank adopted a systematic approach to managing these challenges and creating fair opportunities for all customers.

Commercial Bank’s contributions to the development of SMEs extended beyond financial support. The bank conducted capacity-building programs, established value chains, organized networking opportunities, and promoted digitalization to empower SMEs and strengthen the economy.

Recently, the bank launched “Commercial Bank LEAP GlobalLinker,” a comprehensive business ecosystem, to help SMEs transition to the global market by digitizing and networking with businesses worldwide. The platform enables SMEs to create online stores, promote their products and services, expand their network of customers, investors, and suppliers, and remain competitive in the global landscape.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon boasts several notable achievements, being the first 100% carbon-neutral bank in Sri Lanka and the only bank from the country listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World for 12 consecutive years. The bank operates an extensive network, including 271 branches, 957 automated machines, 14 Regional SME Managers, and 19 Agriculture and Microfinance Officers in rural areas of Sri Lanka, demonstrating its commitment to supporting SMEs across the nation.

Furthermore, the bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, Myanmar, and the Maldives, reflecting its regional presence and commitment to fostering economic growth and financial innovation.

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