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A colourful celebration enlivened by Sri Lankan performers set the stage for a commemorative event organised by the Commercial Bank of Ceylon recently to mark 20 years of remittance operations in the State of Kuwait.
The milestone event was hosted by the Bank at the Millennium Hotel and Convention Centre for the management of Exchange Houses, the Bank’s premier customers in Kuwait, and other stakeholders in the region.
The highlights of the evening were performances by the renowned Sri Lankan music composer, violinist and music producer Dinesh Subasinghe and the popular Lankan compeer, singer, entertainer and TV presenter Clifford Richards.
His Excellency Kandeepan Balasubramaniam, the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Kuwait, was the Chief Guest at the event, and Commercial Bank Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Mr Sanath Manatunge delivered the keynote address. To celebrate this significant milestone in the Kuwait remittance market, Mr Manatunge announced two exclusive promotional offers for the Kuwait market. He declared that for 20 days in February, the Bank will waive off the partner fee for business partners in Kuwait and offer a higher interest rate for Special Deposit Accounts (SDA) and Personal Foreign Currency Deposits. He also extended his gratitude to the partners in Kuwait for their significant contribution to the success story in this 20-year remittance journey.
Among the attendees at the event were the Bank’s remittance partners in Kuwait, select Sri Lankan customers and the Bank’s staff, including Deputy General Manager - Retail Banking and Marketing, Mr Hasrath Munasinghe, Head of Retail Products and Digital Channels, Mr Pradeep Banduwansa, Senior Manager - Global Remittances Ms Rangika Chandrasena, Senior Manager Marketing Ms Irosha Weththasingha, representative from the Treasury Department and the Bank’s Business Promotions Officers in Kuwait.
The Commercial Bank of Ceylon began its remittance operations in Kuwait in March 2003. Kuwait is a key market for worker remittances with around 100,000 Sri Lankans employed in the state. Commercial Bank works with over 13 business partners to serve this customer segment, and holds a substantial market share for Sri Lankan remittances from Kuwait. The Bank has had more than 10 Business Promotions Officers employed in Kuwait over the 20 years to assist Sri Lankans living and working there with their banking needs.
Commercial Bank entered the Kuwait market, which was also the Bank’s first overseas remittance operation, with its very own product ‘e-Exchange’ which was a real-time, web-based money transfer solution that was rebranded as ComBank RemitPlus in 2021. The Bank also collaborated with MoneyGram, Ria, and Western Union to provide better services to its customers both locally and overseas, and introduced Sri Lanka’s first Remittance Card in 2016.
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 269 branches, many of which remain open on public, bank and mercantile holidays, and its network of 943 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 the Bank 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.
The event in progress.
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