Press Releases

Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank Joins IFC Global Trade Finance Program to Enhance Cross-border Trade

In New Delhi:
Minakshi Seth

+91 11 4111 1058


Colombo, March 27, 2008—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, recently extended a trade finance facility to Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC to promote cross-border trade.

The $12 million facility is funded through the IFC Global Trade Finance Program, which supports trade with emerging markets worldwide and promotes the flow of goods and services between developing countries. IFC provides partial or full guarantees against underlying trade instruments and covers the payment risk of participating issuing banks.

Amitha Goonaratne, Managing Director of the Commercial Bank of Ceylon, said, “We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with IFC by joining its Global Trade Finance Program. Access to the network will increase our trade finance opportunities globally.”

Paolo M. Martelli, IFC Regional Director for South Asia, said, “The IFC Global Trade Finance Program brings local banks into an active global network that facilitates transactions in challenging markets, promotes competitive financing, and builds correspondent bank relationships with new institutions on a low-risk basis. The program helps create new and valuable business opportunities for our clients.”

Gilles Galludec, IFC’s Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives, stated, “We hope that the facility will open doors for south-south trade and trade with countries where the bank has no trade finance relationship.” Jeetendra Marcelline, IFC’s Head of Investments in Sri Lanka and Maldives added that “IFC’s support to the bank fits in well with its strategy to team up with local partners that have global outreach and are committed to developing Sri Lanka’s small and medium enterprise sector.”

IFC has been building a long-term relationship with the Commercial Bank of Ceylon since 2003. IFC has also been involved with the bank’s board, assisted with its outreach in Asia, and recently helped introduce value-added advisory services for the SME line of business.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that people should have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through syndications and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit

Since 1970, IFC has committed over $200 million in 26 projects in Sri Lanka. Currently IFC has an exposure of over $150 million in the country in equity, debt, and guarantees, with exposure to private infrastructure exceeding $60 million. In 2007, IFC committed over $20 million in new investments, including over $10 million to local financial institutions under its Global Trade Finance Program.

About Commercial Bank of Ceylon
Incorporated in 1969, the Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC today has 165 branches and service outlets throughout Sri Lanka. The bank’s traditional focus has been corporate banking, with a strong franchise in trade finance. With the rapid expansion of its branch network, which commenced in the mid 90s, the exposure to the retail and the small & medium enterprise sectors has grown significantly and the bank continues to maintain its strong market position within the country. Commercial Bank is also present in Bangladesh where it operates 10 branches and Off-shore Banking Centers.