Bank of Ceylon

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Bank of Ceylon
Type Government-owned corporation
Industry Finance
Founded 1939
Headquarters Colombo, Sri Lanka
Area served Sri Lanka
Maldives
India
United Kingdom
Seychelles
Key people Sir Ernest de Silva (Founder-Chairman)
Air Chf Mshl Harsha Abeywickrama (Chairman)
D. M. Gunasekara (General Manager)
Products Banking, financial and related services
Employees 8000–9000
Website web.boc.lk

Bank of Ceylon (also popularly abbreviated as: BOC (read as bee-oo-see)) is a government-owned, major commercial bank in Sri Lanka. Its head office is located in an iconic cylindrical building in Colombo, the political and commercial capital of the island.

The bank has a network of 618 branches, and 534 automated teller machines (ATMs). It also has an around-the-clock call center at 0094 11 2204444 and an around the clock branch at its Colombo office.

In addition to the local presence, the bank maintains an off-shore banking unit in the head office in Colombo, and four branches in London, Malé, Chennai, and Seychelles.

History[edit]

Bank of Ceylon (BoC) was founded in 1939, with Sir Ernest de Silva as its first Chairman. At the time, Ceylon was a British colony and the then governor Sir Andrew Caldecott ceremoniously opened the bank on 1 August. The English government introduced the banking arm for its government-oriented businesses. Two years later, in 1941, BoC started to expand beyond the city of Colombo. It opened its first branch in Kandy. Subsequently BoC added branches in major cities such as Galle, Jaffna, Kurunegala, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Badulla, and Panadura.

The BOC tower on the left, with the two WTC towers in the right
  • 1948: Ceylon obtained her independence from the British and then the monetary authorities were transferred to Sri Lanka. Thereby in 1949 The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has been founded and regulation of all banks are assigned to them, Which they carrying out to-date.
  • 1949: BoC opened its first overseas branch in London, United Kingdom. This helps the bank and the government to handle the business between two countries easily.
  • 1961: Up until this year, the bank was operated as an individual organization and the government of Sri Lanka stepped forward and declared the bank as a public organization. By then the government has nationalized BoC and became a semi government institute.
  • 1972: The then government declared the name of the country as Sri Lanka. However the bank did not rename itself accordingly. The government also passed the Agricultural Productivity Law, which forced the bank to open Agrarian Service Centre branches in almost all villages in the country. As a result of that, the branch network of the bank expanded tremendously to majority of Sri Lanka's rural areas by the end of this period.
  • 1979: As opposed to the controlled economy by the government, the then government relaxed the exchange control regulations by making it regulate by central bank up to some period and then by the market demand itself. This Liberalization of exchange control regulations led the bank to open its first Foreign Currency Unit for handle the boom of request for non local currency requirements.
  • 1981: BoC passed another big milestone by opening the second overseas branch, this one in Malé, Maldives.
  • 1982: BoC founded the first merchant bank in Sri Lanka, which it named the Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka.
  • 1987: The bank moved into its 32-storey headquarters. Sri Lankans have nicknamed the building (Pittu bambuwa"[පිට්ටු බම්බුව]") a Sinhalese term used for a cylindrical cooking implement. The new building enabled the bank to house all its administrative offices and central operations in one location.
  • 1989: The bank joined with the Visa International to introduce first credit cards business to Sri Lanka.
  • 1994: BOC Joined SWIFT at the SWIFT BIC BCEYLKLX along with 15 other financial institutions in Sri Lanka.
  • 1995: BoC expanded its foreign operations by opening its third foreign branch in Karachi, Pakistan and fourth in Chennai, India. This facilitated the bank's operations in the Asian Clearing Union.
  • 2003: BoC took a 15% stake in newly formed Dawood Bank in Pakistan, which was later renamed as Burj Bank. BoC then transferred all its operations in Pakistan to the new bank.
  • 2006: BOC finally was able to connect all its branches in the inland to one network.
  • 2008: Trade services (import and export services) reached the ISO9001-2008 the best and first ever Sri Lankan bank could reach.
  • 2010: BoC converted its branch in London to a subsidiary.
  • 2010: BOC achieves its highest ever profit before tax at LKR 10.1Bln (~0.8 BN USD).
  • 2011: As a result of expanding their services around the world that BOC reported the highest profit in Sri Lankan Commercial Banks as it Sri Lanka Rupees 15.5 Billion (~1.2 Bln USD).
  • 2012: BOC reaches one Trillion asset base showing its strength and stability becoming the first ever financial institute in Sri Lanka reached such position.
  • 2012: BOC reached its record profit of 19.7 billion LKR (~0.16 billion USD) and classified for AA+ (LKA) Fitch rating with over subscribing of its 500 million USD debenture issue.
  • 2014: BOC started its commercial operations in Seychelles.
  • 2014: BOC celebrated its 75th Anniversary in grand scale 01st of August 2014.

See also[edit]

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