Commercial Bank, one of Sri Lanka’s premiers in banking, has launched a special Savings Account designed to support micro entrepreneurs and promote financial inclusivity to this segment.
Linked to this new savings account branded ‘Divisaru’ (Prosperous Life), a micro loan will extend up to 25 times an agreed value of monthly savings, up to a maximum of Rs.125,000, the Bank said. Intended to support micro enterprises in all sectors including fishing, livestock agriculture and similar pursuits, the Divisaru account can be opened with an initial deposit of just Rs.100, and requires a minimum monthly saving of Rs.1,000 to qualify for a loan.
Account holders will receive a specially designed Passbook and ATM Card to help identify the client segment and provide service, be eligible to open joint accounts, proprietorship or partnership accounts and will receive an interest rate that is higher than that applicable to normal savings accounts, the Bank said.
“It is our intention to organize and build a Micro Entrepreneur customer sector that will enable the Bank to focus its attention on the specific needs of this segment, and take a holistic approach in extending services such as savings, credit, leasing, micro insurance and fund transfer facilities,” said Commercial Bank’s Chief Operating Officer S Renganathan. “We want to support this segment as much as possible and play a role in its transition from micro to SME and then to the large business category.”
Holders of Divisaru savings accounts will also be eligible to participate in the many workshops and awareness programs that Commercial Bank conducts periodically in all parts of the country on financial literacy, enterprise development and capacity development for micro entrepreneurs.
The Bank has conducted programs of this nature for SMEs and micro entrepreneurs in areas such as Narammala, Galle, Moneragala, Wellawaya, Badulla, Passara, Bandarawela, Welimada, Weligama, Koggala, Karapitiya, Matara, Batticaloa, Ampara, Kurunegala, Mannar, Jaffna, Vavuniya and Hingurakgoda in the recent past.
The Bank has established 13 Agriculture and Micro Finance Units (AMFU) to provide dedicated specialized services to the micro sector. These units identify and support people who need financial assistance for agriculture or micro businesses and provide guidance on how to improve those businesses and help resolve difficulties.
The units located in Ratnapura, Narammala, Kandy, Anuradhapura, Kilinochchi, Bandarawela, Wellawaya, Hingurakgoda, Galewela, Atchuvely, Vavuniya, Tissamaharama and Kathankudy directly assist nearly 50 Commercial Bank branches with their engagement with micro enterprises.