People’s Bank offers host of benefits for Lankans living abroad

With 47 years of banking experience, and the security and stability of a state bank behind it, the People’s Bank announced new initiative measures to Sri Lankans earning foreign currency, offering the best short term and long term investment opportunities through the Sri Lankan Rupee Treasury Bill and Bonds.

Under this scheme introduced by the Government of Sri Lanka and People’s Bank , this initiative offers a safe and highly liquid investment opportunity to the Sri Lanka diaspora and migrant workers, while providing an attractive return on their investments.

A Treasury Bill is a short term debt instrument issued by the Government of Sri Lanka under the local Treasury Bill Ordinance with maturities of 91 days, 182 days and 364 days. A Treasury Bond is a medium to long term debt instrument issued by the Government of Sri Lanka under the Registered Stock and Securities Ordinance with maturities of 2 - 10 years. As an agent of the Government of Sri Lanka, the Public Debt Department of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) issues Treasury Bills/ Bonds and pays interests and maturity proceeds on due dates.

Customers of the People’s Bank who live abroad, now have the opportunity to channel their investments through the Treasury Bill / Bond Investment External Rupee Account – Deshabhimani (TIERA-D,) which can be opened by the investor for that purpose. All transactions relevant to these investments will be routed through this TIERA-D. The benefits of this offered by People’s Bank include, remittances into and out of the TIERA-D accounts would be free from exchange controls. The investor can also enter into a Forward Exchange Contract with the Bank if they wish to mitigate the exchange risk involved with their transactions. In addition to this, investors can look forward to risk free, gilt edged debt instrument, maturity proceeds at face value paid on maturity, half yearly coupon payments for treasury bonds, yield rates determined by the market, tradable instrument in the secondary market amongst a host of others.

Vasantha Kumar, Senior Deputy General Manager – Treasury and International Business, People’s Bank speaking on the significance of this to the development of the country said, “This is a great investment opportunity for Sri Lankans living abroad to earn high return in concurrence with further empowering the government to go ahead with needed development projects in the country. Also, we are proud to note that People’s Bank has been appointed as one of the joint lead managers to facilitate this endeavor.”

In addition, under the Central Bank’s new initiative measures, to promote inward remittances and to build the foreign exchange reserves to a high level, the Government of Sri Lanka has made necessary arrangements to pay a bonus interest in Sri Lanka rupees on the interest paid on Resident Foreign Currency and Non Resident Foreign Currency accounts with effect from February 1, 2009.

The bonus paid will be the rupee equivalent of 20% of the foreign currency interest that accrues on deposits. This will be credited to a rupee account opened in the name of the account holder or to any other account nominated by the account holder. Further, the interest bonus will be exempt from any income tax deductions. The aim of this initiative is to promote inflows of foreign remittances in to Sri Lanka through banking channels as well to promote the general public to deposit any foreign currencies held.

The People’s Bank offers ‘Ethera Isura’ NRFC account, which is a wise investment for Foreign Exchange earners that offers special benefits and ‘Doo Daru Ethera Isura’ NRFC accounts to children that will help education overseas and RFC accounts for residing Sri Lankans who receive foreign exchange that will benefit from this new bonus interest offer.

Being the best service brand in Sri Lanka, the People’s Bank is renowned for its security and stability as a financial entity. It has a long history of spearheading initiatives that will benefit the customer providing short term and long term investment opportunities, and contribute to the economic development of the country. It is also a Licensed Commercial Bank under the Banking Act No. 30 of 1988 incorporated as a Commercial Bank by People’s Bank Act No. 29 of 1961.


Sampath leads the way in promoting T-Bills, Bonds to Lankan diaspora

Sampath Bank’s head of remittance, Harsha de Alwis said that the Sampath Bank has been selected as a lead bank to promote CBSL’s T-Bills and T-Bonds to the local diaspora, designated as TIERA- D (Treasury Investment External Rupee Account – Deshabimani). This product will be available for the Sri Lankan diaspora and for the Sri Lankan migrant workers during the coming weeks.

Prospective investors could open their accounts with the Sampath Bank through their virtual banking system, “Sampath Vishwa, www.sampathvishwa.com,” once the product is launched. Sampath Bank’s customers would have many advantages in investing with Sampath bank since the customers could do their transactions through the bank’s website and receive an immediate response from the bank.

The Government decided to open the Rupee denominated T-bill and T-bond market for the Sri Lankan Diaspora and to Migrant Workforce after it was announced in CBSL’s “Road Map: Monetary and Financial Sector Policies for 2009 and beyond”.
Sampath Bank Plc is also hoping to launch several services catering to the Sri Lankan diaspora and the migrant workers during the year.

“Our customers have an advantage over other banks, since, they can always rely on Sampath Bank Plc, and we also provide speedy and high quality services to our valued customers,” he said.


Harsha added Sampath Bank is also carrying out remittance services with leading companies such as Money gram International, Coins Star, Xpress Money , EzRemit , RIA Finance, Instant Cash. It has also promoted its own Web Based System branded as Sampath E Remittances Service. Beneficiaries of a Sampath Bank remittance could collect their remittance proceeds through any Sampath Bank branch.

Sampath Bank customers could enjoy the facility of instant credit to their accounts round the clock with Sampath E Remittance System and withdrawing their cash from 165 Sampath ATMs and any Bank of Ceylon ATM Machine.

This system also facilitates payments to any other Commercial Bank in Sri Lanka as well as accounts with NSB.
He went on to add that the Bank has tied up with more than 30 exchange companies around the world, to allow its customers to access bank from every corners of the world, We have tied up with exchange companies in New Zealand , Australia, Middle East, Europe and the USA.

He further stated that Sampath E Remittance System won the National Science and Technology Awards 2008 under the category of “Locally developed new technologies which have resulted in a successfully Marketed Product / Services” and also the National Best Quality Software Awards 2008 and the Merit Award was won by “Electronic Money Transfer Systems (EMTS)” application, both under the in-house category.

Sampath Remittance system is available at all its 113 branches located island wide. And for the benefit of the remittance recipients selected branches are open during the weekends and they extend their remittance service during the festive seasons.
Customers could contact E-Remittances 24 hour Hot Line 0773933833 and solve their queries with regard to remittances.
Non-Residential Foreign

Currency Account (NRFC)

According to Harsha, the Government of Sri Lanka has taken measures to attract Sri Lankan migrant workers to invest their hard earned foreign currencies in the country. The Bank is also planning to introduce new value additions to their NRFC Account holders.

“We have representative offices in UAE and Doha Qatar to educate and assist the Sri Lankan migrant workers to carry out their banking needs in a friendly atmosphere. Further, the Bank is planning to increase its business promotions officers in other parts of the world, where Sri Lankan migrant workers have their presence”.

Once a customer opens an account through the Business Promotions Officer, he could obtain an internationally valid ATM (SET) Card instantly giving access to the account. This unique product is branded as NRS Sri Lankan.
All Sampath Bank NRFC Account holders are exempted from bank charges when they remit their fund through web based channels.

Sampath Bank Plc also allows its customers to open a NRFC account through the internet, and it also allows its customers to contact its offices through its hotlines to solve their queries.

As Sampath Bank is willing to provide the best
of its service to its the valued customers, the Bank is planning to place more business promotion offices in different countries in improving its business.