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BoC concludes 2021 with unprecedented value creation for all stakeholders



The, year 2021 was another tumultuous year for the entire world due to wider and much longer impacts turned out by the Covid-19 pandemic. Fight back demanded quick response strategies with new thinking. However, ably supported by BoC by facilitating the priority imports of vaccines, the Nation was able to bring out much optimism during the mid and latter parts of the year.

Financial Performance

Speaking on the Bank’s performance for the year 2021, the General Manager/CEO of the Bank of Ceylon, K E D Sumanasiri stated, the Bank was able to reiterate its position as the undisputed market leader in Sri Lanka’s banking sector, demonstrating its unparalleled ability to truly support its customers and the overall economy in trying times. Demonstrating its strength, agility and strategic approach in succeeding in the midst of challenges, the Bank was able to show a notable increase in both its fund-based and fee-based income during the year and recorded Rs. 43.2 billion Profit Before Tax, regardless of headwinds created by market interest rates fluctuations and stressed portfolio quality emanating from Covid-19 related economic impacts. This is a remarkable achievement for the Bank as it denotes the Bank’s strength of converting challenges into opportunities. “Further, the Bank’s asset book surpassed Rs. 3.0 trillion during the year surpassing another milestone in our journey” he mentioned.

Fund Based Income

Mostly, owing to loan growth and continuous credit monitoring efforts put in place during 2021, the Bank reported Rs. 260.5 billion interest income which is a 15% increase over the year 2020. The benefits of the remarkable loan growth achieved in the previous year materialized during this year, generating an interest income of Rs. 193.1 billion through loans and advances which is 74% of the total interest income. The main contributive portfolios were overdraft, term loans and personal loans. The Debt instruments which mainly comprises of Government Treasury Bills, Bonds and other Foreign Currency Sovereign Bonds brought the major portion of interest income earned from the investment portfolio which stood at Rs. 65.7 billion.

In the meantime, interest expenses declined by 2% to Rs. 149.3 billion in line with the improvement in the CASA ratio to 36% from 35% (2020) and repricing the deposits at lower rates. The inverse movement in interest income and interest expense positively contributed to Net Interest Income (NII) of the Bank and NII increased by 49% to Rs. 111.3 billion YoY.

Non- Fund Based Income

Non-fund-based income of the Bank grew by 42% YoY basis and the main contributors were fee and commission income and exchange income. Fee and Commission income has shown a sizable growth owing to a flourishing trend reported towards digital banking channels. Suitably, transactional banking related fee and commission income has formed a major portion of fee and commission income reporting 69% of the fee and commission income. During the period under review, an exchange gain of Rs. 9.2 billion was also reported.

Impairment Charges for Loans and Advances and Other Financial Instruments

Impairment charges for loans and advances for the period amounted to Rs. 35.4 billion bringing the loan to impairment provision reserve ratio to 6%. NPA ratio stood at 4.5% against 4.8% reported by end 2020. Nevertheless, in calculating the impairment charge, the Bank always follows a prudential approach; given the high degree of uncertainty and extraordinary circumstances in the short-term economic conditions mainly caused by the continuous disruptions to businesses. The Bank made an additional expected loss provision using management overlays on identified risk elevated industries.

Individually Significant Customers were thoroughly assessed for their repayment capacity irrespective of the moratorium or concessions they enjoyed due to the Covid-19 situation and necessary provisions were made along with the independent review. Consequently, the provision made for stage III customers escalated by Rs.19.7 billion (19%) and provision for Stage II customers increased by Rs.3.7 billion (32%).

The Bank has considerable exposure to investments in foreign currency denominated sovereign instruments by way of Sri Lanka Development Bonds and International Sovereign Bonds. As per the regulatory and Accounting Standards requirements a significant amount of provision amounting to Rs. 8.3 billion was made for investments in aforesaid instruments accounting the impact of sovereign downgrade.

Operating Expenses

The operating expenses of Rs. 41.7 billion consists of personnel costs, assets maintenance, deposit insurance and other overhead expenses. The increment of 26% by Rs. 8.6 billion reported in operating expenses in line with the increase in personnel expenses due to the revision of salary scales according to the collective agreement, absorption of Trainee Staff Assistants to the permanent cadre and provision made for post-retirement benefit plans. Other expenses settled at Rs. 12.6 billion for the year with a 18% upward, backed by an increase in deposit insurance premium due to growth in deposit base, upturn in office administration and establishment expenses which includes special transport arrangements for staff and expenses made in relation to Covid-19 related special safety measures at the Bank’s premises. However, the Bank’s cost to income ratio of 32% shows prudent and effective cost management mechanisms adopted by the management to maintain the cost escalation in line with revenue growth.

Tax Expenses

VAT on financial services which is charged based on the value addition made by the financial services has a direct relationship to the growth in PBT. That’s being the case, the growth of 80% reported in operating profits, the VAT on financial services also increased to Rs.9.0 billion with the 65% YoY growth.

Although the income tax expenses reported in the Income statement is Rs. 5.6 billion after the adjustments made for deferred tax, the total income tax payment which will be paid for the year of assessment accounts to Rs. 10.3 billion.


Manudam Mehewara Initiative by Dialog, MAS, Hemas & CBL reach 10,000 families, invites all corporates to Join its countrywide emergency relief mission



Emergency relief is currently being distributed across all 25 districts

In a mission to provide emergency relief to the most vulnerable communities across the country amidst the ongoing economic crisis, the ‘Manudam Mehewara’ initiative reached its first milestone of aiding over 10,000 families in-need.

 Joining hands with like-minded partners including its execution partner Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement and independent auditor PwC Sri Lanka, Manudam Mehewara was initiated by Dialog Axiata PLC, MAS Holdings, Hemas Holdings PLC, and CBL Group with the end goal of providing emergency support to over 200,000 vulnerable families and communities across the country that do not have access to essential supplies and basic necessities. ITN, Siyatha, Swarnawahini, TV Derana and Vasantham are also supporting the initiative as media partners.

Emergency relief is currently being distributed across all 25 districts, and the Manudam Mehewara programme will conduct its relief efforts until a sustainable benefit transfer system is established through an effective recovery plan. Manudam Mehewara invites all corporates to join our shared mission to support over 200,000 vulnerable families across Sri Lanka.

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Ninewells Hospital raises awareness on thyroid disease in newborns to commemorate World Thyroid Day 2022



Ninewells Hospital, Sri Lanka’s leading woman and childcare hospital in the private sector, commemorates World Thyroid Day on 25th May by emphasising the significance of early detection and treatment of Congenital Hypothyroidism among newborns in Sri Lanka.

Congenital hypothyroidism (CHT) is a condition affecting infants from birth, and refers to an absent thyroid gland or a thyroid gland that is present but is unable to produce adequate thyroid hormones. On average, 1 in 4,000 babies are born with a severe form of CHT in Sri Lanka, while milder forms can be seen more commonly. If left untreated, the condition can affect brain development as well as normal growth in children and adolescents. Conversely, if detected and treated early, the damaging effects of CHT can be reversed and prevented completely.

“As Sri Lanka’s leading private sector childcare health service provider, we want to draw attention to the serious implications of Congenital Hypothyroidism on World Thyroid Day this year. Congenital Hypothyroidism is a condition which has a detrimental impact on postnatal development. For this reason, early detection and treatment is vital and should ideally begin within the first two weeks after birth,” said Dr. Vibash Wijeratne, Chief Operations Officer and Director, Ninewells Hospital.

In 2021 Ninewells Hospital unveiled a Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) testing facility to support Sri Lanka’s national program for screening newborns for CHT and the country’s vision for a healthier population. Since then, the hospital has carried out over 8,000 tests in 2021 and over 2,000 tests between January and May of 2022.

With the unveiling, Ninewells Hospital became the first in the private sector to introduce a TSH screening machine and became one of the only two hospitals in the country to offer this screening service.

“The screening for CHT is a simple process that is performed using a heel prick test. At Ninewells, the test report following the screening is issued within a short span of three days which is unprecedented in the country. This allows healthcare providers to begin immediate treatment to avoid development impediments in newborns and infants,” Dr. Wijeratne also said.

Ninewells Hospital is Sri Lanka’s premier women’s and children’s hospital in the private sector, providing a variety of specialty services such as Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Paediatrics, and Fertility. The hospital, which is backed by the Access Group of Companies’ visionary leadership, continues to push boundaries and raise the bar for women’s and children’s healthcare in Sri Lanka.

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SL plunges into worst economic contraction in the wake of dramatic currency collapse – CBSL Governor



By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Sri Lanka will witness the worst economic contraction in its history, as it reels from a currency collapse of the rupee from 200 to 370 to the US dollar and interest rates contracted above 20 per cent, Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe said.

“Sri Lanka is going through severe fuel shortages and power cuts after the credibility of a soft-peg was broken by mis-targeted interest rates in the course of targeting an output gap (printing money to boost growth) under the Keynesian ideology, Weerasinghe said while addressing the Press Club of the Sri Lanka Press Institute. The event was held at the Colombo Hilton on Monday.

Weerasinghe added: “At this juncture we cannot make normal imports for the next three to six months. Industries are saying there is no raw material. Only essential imports can be made on a priority basis in order to maintain day- to- day activities.

‘Sri Lanka’s economy contracted 3.6 per cent in 2020 amid the Coronavirus crisis and it also contracted 1.5 per cent in 2001, after a soft-peg crisis amid a civil war.

‘The latest failure of the unstable peg with the US dollar came after the Central Bank printed over two trillion rupees over two years to mis-target interest rates, leading to a steep collapse of the currency and a correction of the interest rates back to around 20 to 25 per cent.

‘The economic crisis has also spilled over into a political crisis and social unrest.

‘The rupee’s 2022 fall to 380 to the US dollar from 200 to the dollar is the worst currency crisis created by the soft-pegged Central Bank in its 72- year- old history.

‘The money printing Central Bank created its first economic crisis and output shock in 1953, bringing down growth to 0.7 per cent after triggering a now famous “hartal”.

‘An Exchange Control Act was also enacted in 1952 as the printed money from the newly set up Central Bank scrambled to go out, in a phenomenon that was repeated multiple times over the next 70 years and dragged the country into 16 IMF programs.

‘The unstable Central Bank was set up by a US money doctor in 1950 in the style of Argentina’s BCRA, abolishing a Currency Board that had kept the country stable through two World Wars and the Great Depression, where money printing above the external anchor was outlawed.

‘The worst recorded crises in the country include the 1948 uprising against the then colonial administration which took place after the British railway bubble burst, commodity prices fell and the then colonial government upped taxes. However, there is no information on the economic contraction that year.

‘Sri Lanka’s citizens burnt the houses and property of the elected ruling class on May 9, after the unstable peg collapsed in a botched float where interest rates were not allowed to go up before the float and a surrender rule pushed the rupee down.

‘Interest rates were allowed to go up after my appointment as CBSL Governor and the economy is now slowing and the headlong crash of the rupee peg has slowed.’

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