With the confidence and trust that has been build over the years in the Sri Lankan banking and financial services sector, the country’s No.1 brand steps into its successful 78th year of service as “Banker’s to the nation” on August 1st.
“Having to celebrate 78 years of being the No.1 bank in the Sri Lankan banking industry is an extraordinary tale to tell. Since the bank’s inception in 1939 to assist the Sri Lankans to come out of the difficult situation that prevailed at that time depriving locals from obtaining financial assistance reasonably, the bank has been committed to socio-economic development through financial inclusion, providing genuinely value-added services to those who seek reliable and convenient financial solutions and the overall upliftment of the country’s banking and financial landscape to align it with international banking standards.”
The Bank of Ceylon’s Chairman, Ronald C. Perera said, “I take this opportunity to thank all our beloved customers to whom we owe our success and our main stakeholder the Government of Sri Lanka for the direction, finally to all stakeholders and all Sri Lankans in general.” he further added.
A state council member George E De Silva spearheaded a demand which led to the calling for the establishment of a state aided bank. The inauguration took place at No. 41 Bristol Street, Colombo Fort on 1st August 1939 with the patronage of the British Governor Sir Andrew Caldecott. Just as it addressed the need of that time for a commercial bank for people of this country, the Bank still proudly upholds same core values that were transmitted by its founders to be a leader of positive economic change and a passionate banking service provider.
With the mission to enable growth and progress for all its customers the BOC has been evolving with the needs and lifestyles of the Sri Lankan community in providing the financial assistance they require. As such the brand ‘BOC’ was recognized as the No.1 Bank and No.1 Brand in the country among all other brands in the country valued for the 9th consecutive year by the Brand Finance Lanka (lk) the affiliated Sri Lankan body of the Brand Finance UK. The first and the only Sri Lankan single business entity to earn Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs.25.3 Billion for 2015 and PBT 31.6 Billion for 2016, BOC has frequently challenged its own record continuing its quest to strive for exceptional performance in all areas of banking.
“We know that every step we take to re-modify and transform our banking processes has the effect of providing greater value to Sri Lankans at large. Addressing this concern at all times the Bank continuously maintains and enhances its services to suit the changing lifestyle of Sri Lankans. This is the best moment to reiterate our promise to all Sri Lankans that we will continue to provide excellence in banking and contribute to the country’s social and economic development as the undisputed banking financial leader in Sri Lanka,” said General Manager D.M. Gunasekera.
In more recent times, innovative steps and out-of-the-box thinking has enabled BOC to grow stronger and strengthen the country’s economic resources. The digital inclusive transformation that the Bank brought forward to re-furbish the brand image went on board in 2015 ensuring long-term sustainability of the Bank. It responded to the current market needs and translated them into banking products and services that capture a wider spectrum of customers including youth and provides them with confidence and the convenience of banking thus altogether changing the customer interface of the bank completely. The transformation focused on product bundling, relationship management, data sharing and building a 360 degree customer view, sophisticated customer segmentation, real-time transaction and cross selling, multi-channel seamless transaction modes and automated customer care.
Being a brand with a stake in the country and its people, it ensured the roll-out of the process island-wide to benefit customers. Among the new technologies that were widely introduced to enhance the customer interface with the bank during this transformation are, the cash deposit machines that came together with the ‘SmartZone’ concept which is a 24-hour operative customer touch point, Branch-on-wheels (the mobile branch), introduction of social media- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, tri-language website with online loan application facility and Youtube as novel communication tools for the Bank to interact with customers.
The multi-faceted services are the greatest strength of BOC. From the children’s savings account to corporate credit, for state sector and private organisations, BOC is active at every level.
The BOC has the strength and the diversity of resources to offer its customers a range of financial solutions; such as corporate banking, personal banking, SME banking, investment banking, off-shore banking, development banking, international and treasury and trade financing services, through its widely spread branch network consisting of 628 branches and over 850 ATM/CDM network covering all parts of the country.
The bank has scheduled several events to take place in celebration of its 78th anniversary. Among them are the BOC Ran Kekulu ‘Little Picasso’ art competition, special Ran Kekulu promotion for babies born in the month of August, several CSR campaigns including a blood donation campaign, a religious procession followed by an overnight ‘pirith’ chanting on 4th August and an almsgiving on the following day.