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Sri Lanka's best bank for CSR 2020: Commercial Bank of Ceylon

Commercial Bank of Ceylon

In Sri Lanka, corporate social responsibility has played an important role for years, as the country has struggled with poverty, decades of civil war and, more recently, a home-grown terror attack. But Commercial Bank of Ceylon’s CSR initiatives make it stand out from the crowd.

The bank – as is clear from the fact that it won Asiamoney’s award for best bank for SMEs – has focused on improving social mobility through its financial market products, dedicating itself to its small and medium-sized enterprise and micro-finance clients.

The bank also has a CSR trust that is dedicated to the empowerment of Sri Lanka’s citizens.

The trust, established in 2004, is an independent body that ensures the bank upholds its pledge to transfer up to 1% of its post-tax profit each year to effective and meaningful projects. The bank has a CSR unit, run by a chief manager and four employees, to review opportunities for the bank to support.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon’s projects include education, healthcare and environmental initiatives, with a special focus on education and children. For instance, the bank’s trust has donated IT labs to schools across the country, providing computers, printers, tables and chairs.

It has also worked with secondary schools to update classrooms into smart learning environments, as well as set up math labs and e-learning workshops for teachers.

The bank invested SLRs37 million ($203,000) for education-related activities and SLR7.6 million for community-based activities in 2019.

Just as importantly, the bank’s activities extend beyond its trust activities to its own internal projects. Commercial Bank of Ceylon has introduced green and sustainable practices internally and for clients. For instance, in addition to reducing paper usage and energy consumption, the bank has installed solar panels at some of its branches.

It also offers a savings account specifically for women, bearing a higher interest rate than regular accounts.

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