Bank of Ceylon, the largest state bank in the country will embark on setting up a separate investment banking unit aim to diversify its portfolio.
BOC is changing ways of doing business and focus on investment and equity activities to channel lending.
The bank will be geared to support identified growth sectors such as tourism, fisheries, exports and SMEs, BoC Chairman Dr. Gamini Wickramasinghe said.
The continuous inflow of foreign remittances could be better attracted with certain revisions to the monetary law.
This could also facilitate the Government s development efforts, he said.
BoC is actively promoting the concept of a Duty Free City to be included in the upcoming budget.
The Bank considers that it is appropriate and timely to launch a mega duty free shopping complex in Sri Lanka.
The bank also proposes VAT retention in all banks for a five year period to facilitate lending to the SME sector.
These funds could be directed to develop SMEs as it is a vital component in the country s socio-economic development program.
The bank will continue to play a key role in the North and the East development initiatives.
It has already mobilized Rs three billion in each Province and there are funds exceeding Rs five billion for each Province in the pipeline.
Sri Lanka is on a development path with plans to increase per capita income up to US $ 4,000 and a target to reach 2.5 million tourists within the next few years.
The BoC would be a major driver of this growth momentum.
We are not only profit driven, but a service driven state bank.
The bank recorded the highest inward remittances of Rs 16 billion, three billion increase for the first three months of this year compared to the corresponding period last year, he said.
There is a growing demand for business and housing loans and the bank caters to the needs of these customers that benefit from its low interest rates lending.
The bank plans to expand its international bank network with more foreign banking units to become an international bank in the near future.