“Bank of Ceylon is a giant in the financial sector and a strong competitive force on par with its peers. We are a truly unique institution as we deal with the largest corporations, industries, and projects, but also cater to every strata of society.”

“Our staff members the Bank’s greatest asset. We are privileged to have a staff strength of over eight thousand, and the support of employee trade unions who have the best interests of the Bank at heart. This dedicated team has been instrumental in retaining the Bank’s number one position despite challenges.”

Bank of Ceylon is well placed to play a key role in Sri Lanka’s economic recovery after closing 2022 on hard-won stable footing. Building on the strength of years of expertise, a future-focused strategy, and a commitment to continuous improvement; the Bank has staved off challenges and emerged resilient. We are privileged to take the helm of this highly professional, efficient, dynamic, and committed institution as it continues to evolve in order to meet the needs of customers, the Country, and a changing operating environment.

Building on Our Pedigree

Bank of Ceylon is a giant in the financial sector and a strong competitive force on par with its peers. We are a truly unique institution as we deal with the largest corporations, industries, and projects, but also caters to every strata of society.

We are governed by a professional and highly qualified Board appointed through a stringent vetting process. The Board’s multidisciplinary expertise ensures the Bank is well-placed to meet the future demands. We are also strengthened by the Bank’s stringent systems and processes, which follow the protocols required of a State Bank, while retaining the independence and agility to function in a dynamic business environment.

Treatise on Present Challenges

As we look towards a new year, the challenges that present themselves today are vastly different to those seen by the financial sector in years past. A third of the global economy is expected to experience recession in 2023 and Sri Lanka is not spared from these pressures; following sovereign default, a path to servicing of sovereign liabilities is being charted; the impact and extent of potential domestic debt restructuring is uncertain; and the full impact of the Country’s economic crisis on our customers and institutions is still unfolding.

In response to forthcoming challenges, steering the Bank strategically and judiciously in the next few years is of utmost importance. While charting a path for sustainable growth and sharing of created value with all stakeholders, the Bank has initiated processes to identify and mitigate risks, strengthen relationships with stakeholders, control and limit our exposure, and address long-standing challenges.

We are intent on retaining a professional approach to all loans, including those to State Owned Enterprises (SOEs). The Bank has instituted a specialised unit to manage and monitor the process of lending to SOEs. We are committed to empowering state entities in their yeoman service to the Nation, and will be focusing our attention on facilitating their individual requirements while providing necessary technical and structural support with closer monitoring.

In a hyper-inflationary environment with elevated interest rates, the Bank will be taking exceptional measures to manage our costs within the targets. The Bank will also be working closely with counterparties, funders, ratings agencies, and other business partners, to pursue necessary measures that would enable appropriate rating of the Bank, smooth and efficient cross-border transactions, and timely servicing of our commitments.

Responding to deteriorating asset quality year on year brought on by depressed economic conditions and multiple crises; we are committed to working with our customers towards the revival of their businesses. We have invested in strengthening BoC’s Business Revival and Rehabilitation Units (BRRUs) and will be extending support to our customers through a variety of means, including the funding of urgent requirements, managing cashflows, and providing concerted advisory and consultancy support.

Renewed Commitment to Our Country

We believe that the Bank can only grow if our stakeholders grow alongside us. BoC has always been committed to creating value for our stakeholders, and we will be pursuing this end in the years ahead.

The Bank’s commitment to the Country will be reinforced by our actions at every level: from micro-finance lending for smallholder groups and entrepreneurs; concessionary and development lending that benefits Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs); and concerted support and lending to export-oriented SMEs and companies; to the promotion of inward remittances; funding of key infrastructure development projects and industrial ventures; and support that contributes to the stability of the financial system and the economy. At a time when foreign exchange is a critical resource for our Country, the Bank will also continue its pioneering efforts to promote and incentivise inward remittances through formal channels, and to allocate invaluable foreign exchange for National priorities.

Our staff members are the Bank’s greatest asset. We are privileged to have a staff strength of over eight thousand, and the support of employee trade unions who have the best interests of the Bank at heart. This dedicated team has been instrumental in retaining the Bank’s number one position despite challenges. We recognise that our team is affected by the Country’s economic crisis, and we are committed to supporting and providing them with relief where appropriate. We will also continue investing in our employees through training, capacity development, and measures for career progression; and fair and competitive remuneration.

Customers are at the heart of what we do. We believe in supporting our customers through challenging conditions and remain committed to pursuing opportunities for business rehabilitation and revival, instead of recoveries. We also hold the firm belief that SMEs and entrepreneurial ventures are quintessential to our economy and our way of life as Sri Lankans. We will continue to support local SMEs with facilities, business advisory services support for export and market accessibility.

We are also cognisant of the role of our natural environment, green technologies, and opportunities arising for Sri Lanka from a green economy and green recovery. In this regard, the Bank’s takes its commitment to sustainability very seriously. The Board and the Bank’s senior management have committed to continually reduce our environmental footprint, and we aspire to be a carbon-neutral bank by the year 2028. In line with our efforts to mainstream Environmental and Social considerations in our lending and investment decisions, the Bank has policies and processes (Environmental and Social Management System – ESMS) in place to finance, promote, and give impetus to the adoption of renewable and clean energy.

Our Long Term Strategy and Pathway for Stable Growth

Bank of Ceylon is the largest local commercial bank in Sri Lanka, and our long-term strategy considers the Bank’s role in creating value for its stakeholders. We are gearing the Bank for moderate growth in the medium-term, with acceleration that aligns with the Country’s economy growing and recovering. We will remain watchful when considering growth of the balance sheet, and instead prioritise strengthening the Bank’s position in the short and medium-term. Five special monitoring committees have been formed for closer monitoring of Asset Quality, Net Interest Income (NII), Fee Income, Investment, and Cost Management, considering the criticality of these components in the performance of the Bank in the year to come. While focusing on creating and sharing value with our stakeholders year to year, our ultimate purpose is to reach a LKR 5 trillion asset-base by 2024.

The Bank’s transformational strategy provides an excellent blueprint for our growth trajectory, and we are redoubling efforts to drive performance against strategy. The Bank has appointed champions to drive each pillar in the strategic plan, and we have instituted consistent measures to monitor our progress along this path.

Excellence in customer service, a commitment to increased efficiency and productivity improvement through reengineering business processes, and continued transition to digitalisation and digital products, promise to be key in our future trajectory. We have made these a priority for our business units and have incorporated deliverables and strategic KPIs in our assessments to ensure the entire team at BoC are of one mind. In addition, we have set out to enhance the skillset of our workforce to deliver the diverse and sophisticated requirements of our customers amidst a dynamic operating environment.

Bank of Ceylon is on a pathway to stable growth with a growing market share and an increasing asset base made possible through scaling up of digitalisation, pursuit of operational efficiencies, and expert capacity of our cadre. Over the last fifteen years we have grown our balance sheet from LKR 475 billion in 2008 to over LKR 4 trillion in 2022.

The last three years have given us the impetus to invest in and scale up digital adoption at the Bank. Our future-focused digital-first business model will enable the Bank to better serve its customers by leverage synergies and existing capacity for exponential growth in volumes, and to share the benefits of technological advancement with our customers in the form of competitive prices. With a rich product range that can cater to the full volume of the market, we look forward to creating more value for more people in the years to come.

As we continue to invest in digital channels, and move away from a traditional brick and mortar business model, we look forward to delivering superior value and the best experience to our customers.

Group Functions

In 2023, we will also be taking forward plans for rationalisation of the Group, including exit from unrelated business; consolidation and merger of companies engaging in similar business to maximise synergistic benefits; exploration of new related business areas through subsidiaries and associates; increased monitoring and support to subsidiaries and associates for improved governance and performance; and pursuit of enhanced contribution to the group by restructuring and refocusing key subsidiaries.

As we continue on a stable trajectory, the Bank’s best-in-class corporate governance systems and processes will be key to ensuring we remain resilient in the face of challenges, to deliver lasting value to our stakeholders.

Closing Remarks

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing Chairman, Mr Kanchana Ratwatte, and the outgoing General Manager/Chief Executive Officer, Mr K E D Sumanasiri. Their untiring dedication and visionary leadership have been instrumental in enabling the Bank to navigate multiple crises during an exceptionally challenging year.

We thank the officials at the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of ri Lanka for their guidance and direction during a testing year, and look forward to their support as we work closely in the year to come.


Ronald C Perera PC


W P Russel Fonseka
General Manager/Chief Executive Officer

24 February 2023