Sri Lanka's best domestic bank 2018: Commercial Bank of Ceylon
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Sri Lanka's best domestic bank 2018: Commercial Bank of Ceylon

Commercial Bank of Ceylon

Commercial Bank first opened its doors in 1920. In the course of a century, it has established itself as Sri Lanka’s best bank and its largest privately run lender, with 261 branches and 827 ATMs at the end of 2017. It is the first private lender to exceed SLRs1 trillion ($6.5 billion) in total assets.

None of its peers can compete with its scale or commercial clout.

Jegan Durairatnam, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Commercial Bank of Ceylon.jpg
Jegan Durairatnam, Commercial Bank of Ceylon

It reported pre-tax profit of SLRs28 billion in 2017, up 18% from the previous year, which managing director Jegan Durairatnam attributes to having “all of the right ingredients in place”. Net interest income jumped 18.9% year on year to SLRs39 billion, with interest income up 27.6% to SLRs103 billion, thanks to a sharp expansion in the bank’s loan book. CommBank’s tier-1 capital ratio stood at 12.1% at the end of 2017, well above the baseline 8.5% target set by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

What makes the lender really stand out is its ability to see the whole picture. Respected by its peers, it excels on the domestic stage in corporate, retail and digital banking, as well as in its growing portfolio of CSR activities.

Durairatnam tells Asiamoney that Commercial Bank is focused on becoming a “reasonably big regional player”. In 2017, it secured a microfinance licence in Myanmar and saw its operations in the Maldives break even.

“We are looking to expand into Cambodia, Nepal and Bhutan, and even rural India, if we get the right acquisition,” Durairatnam says.

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