Financial Times

ABC Credit Card Co. also facing a crisis

By Natasha Gunaratne

ABC Credit Card Company Ltd. customers are urging the Central Bank (CB) to look at the company's finances after suspecting it too is another Golden Key fiasco waiting to happen.

Customers fears have been further exacerbated by the fact that ABC Credit Card Company was formed by an ex-employee of Golden Key named Orville Perera who is the Managing Director. At least 10 ABC Credit Card customers told The Sunday Times FT on Friday they have been trying to withdraw their money and collect their interest payments over the past two to three months with no success. Some merchants have also refused to accept ABC credit cards. Customers also said the CB is not taking action. ABC officials were not available for comment.

Senior management at ABC Credit Card Company scheduled a meeting with customers at the Kandy branch on Friday to address their concerns, in a very similar fashion to Lalith Kotalawala's meeting with Golden Key customers the previous week in which he assured them he was taking the necessary steps to recover their money.

CB Director of Non Bank Supervision W. Ranaweera said he recently received complaints from ABC Credit Card customers and has called for the company to submit their accounts for review. However, Mr. Ranaweera said the CB is constrained by the fact that ABC is a credit card company and cannot be regulated under regulations which were drafted for finance companies. ABC officials were not available for comment.

ABC Credit Card Company, a member of the ABC Group of Companies, launched operations in November 2006 under the slogan 'A Truly Sri Lankan Credit Card.' Its website lists the Chairman as T.M.D. William, Deputy Chairman as John Shiran Dissanayake and the Director of Finance as Nihal Fonseka.

The ABC Group was founded in 1984 by Mr. Dissanayake and is today operating within 12 other Limited Liability Companies with Mr. Dissanayake at the helm of all these ventures, the website says. It further states he initiated the idea of introducing a credit card for the benefit of all Sri Lankans.
'His concept was a truly Sri Lankan credit card to be afforded to all citizens of Sri Lanka, after a lapse of 25 years, when a local conglomerate last launched the card in Sri Lanka. His innovation was exemplary as this card is novel and will be unique to the people of this country.'

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