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Peoples’ Bank helping keep Sri Lanka energized in Coronavirus battle, ATMs, online banking urged: Chairman

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run People’s Bank said it is funding the country’s energy utilities and key state enterprises, giving priority to salaries and keeping cash flowing with the help of over 1,000 cash deposit machines and automated teller, a top official said.

“At the moment as a state bank our staff is working night and day to serve our customers,” Chairman Sujeewa Rajapaksa told EconomyNext.

“Our front office staff are giving priority to discharge salaries. The service personnel, Navy, plantations workers.”

However, Rajapaksa, a Chartered Accountant by profession, urged people not to spend their salaries quickly.

“As an accountant, I can tell you that there will be cashflow difficulties next month,” he said. “So everyone must keep a buffer.”

Sri Lanka had banned wine stores from opening in curfew hours.

People’s Bank has over 700 branches but also over 1,000 cash deposit machines and a similar volume of automated teller machines.

“We have over 1,000 cash deposit machines and ATMs,” Rajapaksa said. “We encourage customers to use ATMs, CDMs and internet banking.”

People’s Bank has branches spread throughout the country and some are open at odd hours at economic centers.

The bank is also helping keep the country energized by financing Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and Ceylon Electricity Board.

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“There is increasing demand from government corporations,” Rajapaksa said. They include Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, pharmaceuticals, and SriLankan.

“There is also a demand for foreign currency, he said.

State enterprises are funded under Treasury guarantees to safeguard depositors.

Though oil prices have collapsed, which will free working capital of energy utilities, large liquidity injections have been made into the money market by the central bank, raising fears for the currency. (Colombo/Mar24/2020-SB)

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