June 11, Colombo: The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has become the first Sri Lankan institution to launch a 'Mobile to Account Remittance Service' between South Korea and Sri Lanka, facilitating real time fund transfers from an estimated 30,000 Sri Lankans employed in the East Asian nation.
The service, launched in collaboration with Global Money Express Co Ltd. (GME), one of the first exchange companies in the Republic to obtain a money transfer license, paves the way for real time fund transfers between the two countries at lower charges and higher exchange rates, the Bank said.
The formal launch of the new service took place in Seoul recently with the participation of a Commercial Bank team led by the Bank's Chief Operating Officer Mr S. Renganathan.
Considered a high potential market for remittances, South Korea had restricted money transfer licenses to Commercial Banks and began issuing such licenses to non-banking financial institutions only in August 2017.
Prior to the launch of the GME-Commercial Bank Mobile to Account Remittance Service, Commercial Bank's own sophisticated real-time on-line money transfer service 'e-Exchange 'generated substantial foreign exchange earnings annually in remittances from expatriate Sri Lankans working in South Korea.
Commenting on the ground-breaking collaboration with GME, Commercial Bank's Chief Operating Officer Mr S. Renganathan said: "The integration of the systems of GME and Commercial Bank is a milestone development in the remittance business between South Korea and Sri Lanka, which has maintained a fruitful employment agreement for several years. This new remittance service will provide much convenience to Sri Lankans working in Korea."
South Korea is an active market for Sri Lankan migrant workers who on average earn US$ 2,500/- per month, which is well above the average earning levels in the Middle East and is also above the average of many other countries of the Far East. According to the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), between 3000 and 6000 new visas are expected to be offered to Sri Lanka by South Korea every year.
Commercial Bank is one of the most active players in Sri Lanka in the field of remittances, offering customers a range of options including 'e-Exchange' MoneyGram, Ria and Express Money remittance services.
One of the Bank's key strengths is its island-wide network of 261 branches, many of which remain open on public, bank and mercantile holidays, and its network of 767 ATMs. Recipients of remittances sent to the Bank enjoy many benefits such as over 60 holiday banking centres and super market counters, a dedicated customer support call center for remittances and SMS alerts facilities once the remittance is received and is ready to be paid out.
The only Sri Lankan bank to be ranked among the Top 1000 banks of the world for seven years consecutively, Commercial Bank has won more than 30 international and local awards in 2016 and 2017 and has over the years received multiple awards as Sri Lanka's Best Bank, Best Trade Bank, Strongest Bank and Most Respected Bank from a number of local and international institutions and publications.
Commercial Bank's overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets, Myanmar, where it has a Representative Office in Yangon, the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake and Italy, where the Bank operates its own money transfer service.