The Commercial Bank of Ceylon’s continuing effort to stimulate remittances from Sri Lankans living and working overseas recently focussed on Singapore, which has a significant Sri Lankan migrant population.
The Bank engaged with Sri Lankan expatriates living in the city state at a two-day programme conducted in collaboration with the Sri Lankan High Commission in Singapore.
Attendees were made aware of the formal remittance channels available to them and the personal and national benefits of transacting through these, and also received special remittance rates and gifts.
The Bank said it conducted this programme to support Sri Lankans residing in Singapore by presenting special remittance offers and information on banking products and services, including ComBank Digital. The Bank also promoted remittance services such as Ria Money Transfer, one of the Bank’s main remittance partners, and Lucy, the exclusive mobile banking app for women in Singapore.
Over the two days of the programme the Bank signed up over 100 Sri Lankans for new accounts and offered its digital banking services with a waiver on the joining fee and first-year annual fee.
Speaking at the event, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Singapore Her Excellency Shashikala Premawardena said this initiative is just a beginning and that more could be done for Sri Lankans in Singapore whose hard earned earnings contribute to Sri Lanka’s economy. She thanked Commercial Bank for its quick and enthusiastic response to the invitation to conduct an event in Singapore and stressed that “It is our duty to help our citizens who are working hard in Singapore.”
With encouragement from the Bank, some of the participants initiated remittances via the Lucy application and visited the Ria Money Transfer outlet in the locality to transfer US dollars to their personal foreign currency accounts. Officials from both service providers were present at the venue and remitters were able to instantly view their updated account balances via ComBank Digital. To sweeten the customer experience, Ria offered special foreign exchange rates to the participants of the programme, while the Lucy app provided S$ 5 cashback rewards and gifts to everyone that downloaded the app on the spot.
Furthermore, visitors were provided the opportunity and information necessary to select the most suitable investment plans and bank accounts, including Rupee and Foreign Currency Accounts, Fixed Deposit Accounts, and Special Deposit Accounts. Additionally, new Foreign Currency Account holders were furnished with free Debit Cards, the Bank said.
“As one of the most trusted banks in Sri Lanka, Commercial Bank has to play a lead role in encouraging Sri Lankans to step up their remittances to Sri Lanka,” the Bank’s Head of Retail Products and Digital Channels & Remittances Mr Pradeep Banduwansa commented. “Events such as these will boost the stream of foreign remittances into the country, in a manner that is beneficial to the customers as well as the country.”
During their visit, representatives of the Bank also negotiated beneficial partnerships with remittance and fintech companies in Singapore to facilitate easy and quick money transfer facilities for Sri Lankans in Singapore.
To attract investments from foreign sources, the Bank recently launched ‘Forex Plus,’ a special Foreign Currency Fixed Deposit scheme that offers interest rates of up to 9.5% per annum for tenures of up to five years on term deposits in four international currency denominations.
Commercial Bank is one of the most active players in Sri Lanka in the field of remittances. One of the Bank’s key strengths is its island-wide network of 268 branches and its network of 940 machines, which is the largest automated cash dispensing system owned by a single private bank in Sri Lanka. Recipients of remittances sent to the Bank enjoy many benefits such Holiday Banking Centres and supermarket counters, a dedicated customer support call centre for remittances and SMS alerts facilities once the remittance is received and is ready to be paid out.
Sri Lanka’s first 100% carbon neutral bank, the first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World, and the only Sri Lankan bank to be so listed for 12 years consecutively, Commercial Bank is the largest lender to Sri Lanka’s SME sector and is a leader in digital innovation in the country’s banking sector. The Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where it operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I bank with a majority stake.
Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Singapore H.E. Shashikala Premawardena (above, centre) with senior management teams of the Commercial Bank and the High Commission at the inauguration of the programme and (below) some of the interactions between Sri Lankan expatriates and bank representatives.