Moving beyond traditional banking, Bank of Ceylon has introduced a range of innovative products and services to strengthen the national economy while offering the public a new banking experience, the Bank said.
With over 83 years in operation, the Bank of Ceylon has made a significant contribution towards the country’s socio-economic development progress. Meanwhile, it led the banking sector with innovative products and service offerings by keeping pace with evolving customer requirements and technological advancement.
‘BOC SME Circle’ for micro and SME entrepreneurs
To provide some relief from current difficulties faced by Sri Lankan entrepreneurs in taking their businesses to the next stage, the Bank of Ceylon established the first of its kind SME Circle at the first floor of the Bank’s Head Office. This offers a gamut of services with tailor-made financial solutions including special loan schemes to close funding gaps entrepreneurs come across, apart from providing traditional banking products by realistically understanding their needs. Further, the service is extended to provide required business knowledge and improves the business network required to build or expand the business, the Bank said.
Under this strategic initiative, entrepreneurs can avail themselves for an array of services ranging from advisory services to special training programmes and workshops to assistance in finding market opportunities, the Bank said.
Even under the prevailing conditions, the Bank is pleased that it could assist a considerable number of entrepreneurs through this initiative over the past few months to overcome acute financial difficulties and stabilise business operations. In addition, a number of professional institutions have also come forward to join with this initiative offering required resources to conduct special training programmes and workshops for entrepreneurs.
With the success the Bank is experiencing with this initiative, it plans to move ahead to set up similar service centres across the country to widen the service ‘SME Circle’ offers to deserving entrepreneurs.
Comprehensive Green Loan package
The comprehensive green loan package is considered to be a timely and critical initiative which has the potential to extend relief to individuals and businesses while benefiting the environment and society at large, the Bank further said.
Aiming to encourage renewable energy and sustainable development, this initiative will also assist to reduce foreign exchange outflows from the country spent on fossil based fuels with the anticipated shift towards locally generated renewable energy. Accordingly, the Green Loan scheme facilitates purchasing of new electric bicycles, electric motorcycles, installing solar power generation and storage systems as well as installing bio-gas systems.
This facility is expected to provide the public with alternatives to resolve a number of current problems. Such as minimising the adverse impacts of the prevailing power cuts on their day-to-day activities and livelihood and providing alternatives for short-distance commute, avoiding high transport expenses.
Moreover, the bio-gas loan facility could potentially encourage the public to take initiatives to reduce waste materials in households through generating bio-gas and organic fertiliser for household use that could also lead to some relief to reduce the cost of living.
The Green Loan package also covers a special loan scheme for the Grid-connected solar power suppliers to purchase required inventor to store the generated solar power.
Given the national importance of such a comprehensive and timely Green Loan package that stands to offer relief to the public at this juncture, the Bank of Ceylon offers attractive interest rates below the market rates along with flexible terms for the benefit of the public, the Bank said.
Initiative to uplift underprivileged rural villages under ‘BOC Gammana’ concept
The Bank of Ceylon has taken up a challenging task to develop remote villages in selected number of underprivileged, rural outskirts in the country. Under the initiative, the Bank of Ceylon plans to enhance financial literacy and livelihood in these localities.
Under the ‘BOC Gammana’ concept, the Bank of Ceylon aims to elevate the living standards of the people in these rural areas by encouraging the residents to take up self-employment or other income generating activities, and the Bank will provide loan facilities to fund these activities. The project will be strategically executed through the Bank’s branch network that is spread across the country. It is through the strength and the resourcefulness of the branch network of the Bank that it has formulated the project successfully, as it has been closely building strong relationships with these rural communities uplifting their well-being over a significant period of time.
The Bank looks forward to form BOC Mithuru groups and conduct special awareness programmes to build required knowledge in managing their finances and small scale businesses. With basic knowledge the Bank will facilitate a mutually guaranteed lending package for these groups. Moving along, these groups can avail themselves to other types of development loans to upscale their business, the Bank said.
Simultaneously, the Bank of Ceylon also plans to initiate result-oriented community level development projects to address common issues of the residents. In addition the Bank also expects to organise and support social-welfare programmes in these villages.
BOC’s Consumer and Development Banking division is shouldering the responsibility to initiate these special projects by enabling the entrepreneurship and empowering the rural sector for better living standards. In line with the Bank’s 83rd Anniversary celebrations the Bank reiterates its commitment and dedication towards sustainable economic development of the country through these timely initiatives, the Bank said.