Expatriates and emigrants from Sri Lanka add up to an estimated population of three million. It is, therefore, a natural corollary that the banking system of Sri Lanka offers special products for them.
Sri Lanka’s banking system is fairly well diversified. It includes the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), two large state-owned banks (Ceylon Bank and People’s Bank), 11 private domestic commercial banks, 13 foreign banks, a national savings bank, a regional development bank, two housing banks, and three licensed specialized banks.
The Central Bank is responsible for the regulation and supervision of the banking system. The Monetary Law Act, the Exchange Control Act, and the Banking Act form the legal framework of the banking system. The highest share of the total assets in the financial system is accounted for by Licensed Commercial Banks(LCBs) and Licensed Specialized Banks (LSBs)
Some of the top banks in Sri Lanka are the Commercial Bank of Ceylon, People's Bank,Bank of Ceylon, Sampath Bank, National Savings Bank, Hatton National Bank,National Development Bank, and Seylan Bank. They have specially curated banking products and services to encourage the Sri Lankan diaspora to remit money back to their home country. Apart from these local banks, foreign banks like Standard Chartered, HSBC, Deutsche Bank also have their presence in Sri Lanka.
There are certain accounts which Sri Lankan citizens residing outside Sri Lanka can open as specified by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and other local banks:
Sri Lankan citizens residing outside Sri Lanka are eligible to open these accounts. SFIDA can be maintained in Sri Lankan Rupees or any designated foreign currency. Permitted credits to an SFIDA account include the proceeds of inward remittances/foreign currency brought by the account holder into the country. Permitted debits in Sri Lanka include transfers to other SFIDAs, outward remittances, and reimbursements, transfer to FCBU (Foreign Currency Banking Unit) accounts. This account is exempted from income tax, withholding tax and other levies.
Non-resident Sri Lankans can open these accounts. An SIA makes investments in Government Securities (Treasury Bills & Treasury Bonds), shares and debentures of companies incorporated in Sri Lanka, units of Unit Trusts in Sri Lanka, easy. Any benefits earned out of these investments can be credited to the same SIA account and repatriated outside Sri Lanka.
As the name suggests, this is a special account to encourage Sri Lankan citizens resident outside Sri Lanka to remit their foreign exchange earnings for investment in Sri Lanka. Credits allowed in the account include income derived from or sale/liquidation proceeds of investment made out of the funds, inward remittances. Debits allowed are investments in government securities, shares, debentures, and units in unit trusts and other financial assets and real assets including land buildings.
An individual of Sri Lankan origin who is resident outside Sri Lanka can open a PFC account. It can be opened in designated foreign currencies and attractive interest rates are offered This is an account that can be opened at any branch of Commercial Bank Sri Lanka or Bank of Ceylon.
An NRFC account can be opened at Standard Chartered Bank Sri Lanka by nationals of Sri Lanka who are residents outside the country. There is a choice of designated currencies in which these accounts can be opened. Both savings accounts, as well as fixed deposit accounts, may be opened. They have a 24-hour phone banking facility, a Pay-by-phone facility for remittances, foreign currency and rupee loans against >NRFC deposits.
Sri Lankans living abroad have a wide variety of banking institutions and products services to choose from. Since they play a very important role in the Sri Lankan economy, there is a continuous effort made to encourage them to bank in Sri Lanka.
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