The Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka (IBSL), one of the country's premier educational institutions engaged in the dissemination of information to the banking and financing sectors has recorded a significant progress.
The IBSL is the only institution authorized to offer banking qualifications in Sri Lanka and plays an important role in the training of personnel involved in the country's banking and finance industry. The Education Times spoke to Mr. S.H.A.M. Abeyratne, Director General of IBSL to find out more about their services towards the progress of the banking industry.
With the banking and financing sector expanding rapidly in Sri Lanka and the North and East markets too opening up for business, what stance is the IBSL taking in this regard?
Currently the IBSL accounts for over 40 years of service in the banking industry providing exceptional training and banking services. During this period we have produced a significant number of Fellows and Associate members, diploma and certificate holders a majority of whom are currently providing their services to the country's banking and financial industry. In that context the IBSL is playing a major role with regard to keeping the industry in a stable position.
As I see Sri Lanka was one of the least affected countries during the global financial and credit crisis. However many countries in the West and East have been affected mainly due to lack of good governance or maybe due to lack of professionalism. It was very encouraging however to note that none of our local banks went into failure during this time, which in itself shows that the country's banking industry is in a stable position. The parties that should take credit for this are our regulator which is the Central Bank of Sri Lanka as well as the professionals in the banking industry which the IBSL is proud to have produced.
In addition to our core areas of study which include the Certificate of Banking and Finance and the Diploma in Banking and Finance the IBSL also conducts topically relevant and important subjects in the form of seminars and workshops. Therefore the IBSL effectively identifies market needs and caters accordingly. Over the last few years the IBSL has contributed towards developing its services and capacities to the fullest and as a result the banking sector of Sri Lanka has experienced rapid growth and development.
How do you justify the fact that our banking industry is in a good state?
When one takes the economic contribution of the banking sector, an estimated 10% of the country's GDP is provided by the banking and insurance industry. Also with regard to banking efficiencies, when compared to countries such as India and Bangladesh we are in a much higher level.
Also our financial sector is highly liberalized and therefore the policy making and other forms of implementations are taken by the financial regulators or relevant authorities in line with market conditions. Our governing board which include the Central Bank as well as other state, private and commercial banks have a clear understanding on the need for capacity development of the financial sector. By engaging in those activities over the past few decades the IBSL could observe the stability of the system.
The IBSL offers 10 postgraduate diplomas which are aimed at the banking regulations, credit and risk management, treasury management, microfinance etc. These qualifications are targeted towards those holding senior posts in the banking sector and obtaining these qualifications further increases their knowledge and professionalism enabling them to positively contribute towards the progress of the banking industry. In addition to this the banking sector has been able to win the trust of the general public, and the IBSL is proud to take the credit for being responsible in bringing out professional banking to the industry.
What are the tools that you have used to bring out a positive growth in the banking sector?
The Certificate of Banking and Finance and the Diploma of Banking and Finance of the IBSL are international qualifications. Our Diploma is equivalent to that of a University degree and therefore those who have completed our diploma can directly enrol for an MBA programme in either local or foreign universities. The IBSL mainly focuses on attracting the best talents for study purposes, therefore we aim at sourcing out the best talents from the market and further developing them to meet the requirements of the industry.
Our IBSL lecturer panel comprises of professionals from the banking industry who have specialized in various areas of banking. The IBSL qualification is in par with all other reputed international qualifications. From the year 2000 the IBSL has become affiliated to the Charted Institute of Bankers London, which is involved in modifying our syllabuses, question papers and marking schemes etc. Due to this the Northumbira University of UK provides exemptions to follow their Honours Degree in Management for students that have partly qualified in our Diploma of Banking and Finance. This further justifies the fact that our qualifications have been recognized internationally and will definitely contribute towards bringing forth highly employable individuals who will positively contribute towards the development of the banking industry.
How do you cater to the expanding banking sector?
Within the next few years the banking and financial sectors of this country will experience a boom. Currently the government is forging ahead to double up the country's per capita income of the general public from US$ 2,000 to US$ 4,000. Such a rise in the per capita income will pave the way for more depositing avenues, better payment systems and money transfers, money remittances etc.
Therefore in order to meet this upcoming demand the IBSL has opened its doors to the universities to offer exemptions for students to follow the IBSL courses. This will enable university students to obtain the IBSL qualification in addition to their degree qualification, arming them with both an academic plus professional qualification. This therefore will be an effective method of meeting the market demand of the country.
- Gayani Perera