The Bank of Ceylon becomes the only Sri Lankan bank to top the country rank continuously. This year BOC has made a significant leap in the Top 1000 list from 909 previous year to 847 this year.
Throughout the past nine years BOC continued to hold the number one country rank position above all other Sri Lankan banks which have appeared in the list. Being the only bank to continuously top the list among Sri Lankan banks, BOC without any doubt can boast of its financial and operational strength which is considered to have accounted for this achievement.
With the pledge to commit itself as ‘Bankers to the Nation’ since its inception the BOC brand has been evolving with the needs and lifestyle of the Sri Lankan community to provide the financial assistance they require.
The Bank of Ceylon has recorded an Income growth of 8% to Rs. 239.1 billion in 2019, supported by a healthy increase in both Net Interest Income (NII) and Fee and Commission income. The bank’s Interest Income increased by 13% during the year driven by loan growth of 9% achieving the set Net Interest Margin (NIM) of 3.2% for the year.
Fee and commission income increased by 13% to Rs. 12.1 billion, driven by a growth of 19% in credit and debit card related income and 21% in retail banking services among others. The growth in total operating income moderated to 3% in 2019 despite of reduced exchange income compared with previous year.
The bank’s proactive measures on impairment provision for Expected Credit Loss (ECL) together with key issues in the industries and liquidity pressures resulted in an increase in impairment provision by 27% to Rs. 18.3 billion on YoY basis.
The bank has been able to manage cost-to-income ratio at 37% which is significantly lower than peers. This demonstrates the effectiveness of the bank’s strategic focus on driving process efficiencies through automation and increased productivity.
Despite of the challenging business conditions during the year the bank has recorded pre-tax profit of Rs. 29.7 billion. This is 11% decrease in YoY. Profit-after-tax however recorded an increase of 10% to Rs. 23.1 billion due to the reduction in income tax charge for the year. The bank reported Return on Average Assets (RoAA) of 1.3% and Return on Average Equity (ROAE) of 16.8%.
Commenting on the achievement the bank’s Chairman Kanchana Ratwatte said: “The strength of BOC has always been rooted with it being together with our community. Emerging with the country rank number one and a leap of 62 places in the Top 1000 bank list, BOC has been able to build itself through sheer commitment and trust shown towards all stakeholders through its responsible business practices.”
“As a bank with an inherent responsibility towards socio-economic enhancement of the country, we have always been there with our fellow citizens in both good and bad times the country has gone through. I am thankful for the continued trust and loyalty that has been placed on the bank by its valued customers, loyal staff members and all stakeholders which allows the bank to drive successfully across the country throughout these years,” Ratwatte added.
Acting General Manager Sugath Gunasekara said: “Continuing our quest to strive for exceptional performance in all areas of banking, we keep continuing to reach special milestones in the journey, with a steadfast growth.
“The bank moved towards modern state-of-the-art digital banking, exhibiting exceptional financial performance along its way. Keeping our momentum of growth in every possible way we have moved up the list and yet again received confirmation as the country’s number one within the Top 1000 Bank ranking.”
“I wish to thank my committed staff for all their hard work that was put in to get achievements such as this,” he added.
The Banker magazine UK is one of the premier banking and finance magazines in the world and has been so since its inception in 1926. The Benchmark top 1000 bank list has been compiled by The Banker since 1970. The Banker database holds comprehensive financial data, news feeds and executive contact data on the leading banks in every country and its ranking sets in the industry standard for measuring bank performance and strength.
It has been observed in the global arena that the Chinese banks which have been dominating the rankings for the past 10 years have further strengthened their position. All top four places have been reserved by Chinese banks lead by ICBC.