Drop in banking business
in the North
Banking institutions are carrying on with their
operations in the North and the East, despite the ongoing tensions
but have no plans to continue expanding in the region because of
the acute drop in business.
“The lending has reduced in the northern
peninsula significantly since the troubles began,” Richard
Rodrigo, Head of Marketing, Commercial Bank told The Sunday Times
Market analysts said that the industry in the
peninsula was booming after the ceasefire agreement, but banks are
holding onto their planned investments.
Hatton National Bank (HNB) sources said that there
is a big drop in business in the peninsula and all banks function
only till 1.30 pm. “When the staff doesn’t turn up,
the workflow stops and with the heightened tensions the operations
are very haphazard,” a HNB source said. The HNB expanded rapidly
to Chunnakam, Manipai and Nelliady together with a second branch
in Jaffna. Meanwhile the Commercial Bank recently opened a branch
in Chavakachcheri and introduced ‘Holiday Banking’ service
to its Ampara branch.
“The Bank's branch at Ampara will be open
everyday including all holidays from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm,”
Rodrigo said, adding that the business however is slow. “We
operated branches in Jaffna, Trincomalee and Vavuniya even during
the height of war and opened a second branch in Jaffna to cater
to the demand after the peace negotiations started. We went on to
open branches in Chunnakam, Nelliady and Batticaloa,” Rodrigo
said. However he said that the bank does not have immediate plans
to open new branches in the region and that none of the branches
will close despite the tensions.