Financial Times

New company to cater to Micro-Finance

By Natasha Gunaratne

A new financial institution, Global Trust Financial Services Limited, will be set up shortly in part to cater to a huge demand for micro-finance, estimated to be around Rs.125 billion. Managing Director Susantha Fernando told the Sunday Times FT this week that the company is seeking approval from the Central Bank (CB) to operate as a finance company. Mr. Fernando said there is still a lack of public confidence in depositing money with finance companies but he said the larger ones have been performing well but are all privately held.

He said local and overseas investors have been lined up to raise a capital of Rs.1 billion over the next two years and the company will also go for a public issue within this period.

Mr. Fernando also said well known public and private sector figures have already accepted to become directors and shareholders of this venture which should give more confidence to the public. “We are hoping to bring in more publicly acceptable figures as shareholders from the private and public sector.”
He added that he has recruited key professionals including the General Manager and CEO Ajith Alahakoon, an ex banker and formally the General Manager of Abans Finance.

Mr. Fernando said there is also a huge vacuum in the industry and more players are required for the industry to strengthen itself.

He identified branches in Jaffna, Batticaloa, Matara, Kalutara, Hambantota and Negombo in the initial process. In the aftermath of the liberation of the North and East and the unification of the country after three decades of terrorism, he said he is anticipating unprecedented business development opportunities in the years ahead throughout the country.

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