Breaking the glass ceiling, career strategies and getting into entrepreneurship were among the focal points of a program run by the Commercial Bank of Ceylon recently for a group of female undergraduate students from the University of Colombo (UoC ) in commemoration of International Women’s Day.
The program was organized by Commercial Bank as part of the ‘Anagi’Women’s Banking initiative in conjunction with the Career Guidance Unit of the University’s Faculty of Arts. by several leading women entrepreneurs who are also clients of the Bank.
The Bank indicated that the program was designed after an assessment of the needs for non-financial services more than the traditional financial services offered by the Bank to this segment.
In the first panel, Deputy General Managers of Commercial Banks (AGM) Personal Banking – Ms. Mithila Shamini and MsDharshanie Perera, AGM Legal – Ms. Namal Gamage and AGM Corporate Banking – Ms. Tamara Bernard shared their experiences and insights on the start of a career and climbing the corporate ladder.
Panelists for the second session were Deshabandu Dr. ThushariKoralage (Ph.D.), Founder and Director of Asian Grammar School and Giggles International, Ms. Achala Samaradivakara, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Good Market Global, Ms. VindyaPerera, Managing Director of Brilliant Cuts (Pvt) Ltd., and Ms. Niro M. Peris, founder of Eli Products which manufactures natural local alternatives to imported foods and beverages.
Commenting on the programme, Commercial Bank Managing Director and Group Chief Executive, MS Renganathan said, “The Bank has been focused on supporting sustainable economic development in the country. It also means supporting women who make up almost 35% of the population. workforce in Sri Lanka. We are fully aware that sustainable economic development cannot be achieved without women in the equation, and programs like the recent one with university students are designed with this in mind.
Participating students were given the opportunity to ask questions after each panel. This event which was held at the NewArts Theater of the University of Colombo also saw the participation of members of the General Management of the Bank, including Mr. Delakshan Hettiarachchi – Deputy General Manager Personal Banking and MrS. Ganeshan – Deputy General Manager Personal Banking. The event was honored by UoC Vice Chancellor, Senior Professor Chandrika N. Wijeyaratne. The Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Head Teacher Lasantha Manawadu and members of the Career Guidance Unit were also present.
Commercial Bank recently launched a new loan product, “Anagi Women Small and Medium Enterprises (WSME) Commercial Loan” and expanded its “Anagi” women’s banking portfolio to exclusively support women’s aspirations. The brand name ‘Anagi’ was first used by Commercial Bank with a women’s savings account launched in 2012 with the aim of motivating Sri Lankan women to enhance their financial stability by providing features like a higher interest rate compared to regular savings accounts and no restrictions on withdrawals.
The Commercial Bank of Ceylan also has a long and successful relationship with the IFC, both in financing and in advice. In 2020, the Bank launched a strategic initiative by partnering with IFC – under the IFC-DFAT Women in Work program – to carry out a “gender advisory project” to better focus on customer needs. This is positioned as a 360-degree approach to focus on both financial and non-financial aspects, including training to further improve the quality of interaction between bank staff and this customer segment.
The first 100% carbon neutral bank in Sri Lanka, the first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the world’s top 1000 banks and the only Sri Lankan bank to be listed for 11 consecutive years, Commercial Bank operates a network of 268 branches and 938 machines. machines in Sri Lanka. Commercial Bank is Sri Lanka’s largest SME sector lender and is a leader in digital innovation in the country’s banking industry. The Bank’s overseas operations include Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where he owns a microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I bank with majority ownership.
The ongoing Women’s Day program at the University of Colombo.