The Commercial Bank of CeylonPLC has been recognised for itscommitment to empower women at the ‘Top50 Professional and Career Women Awards’ held recently in Colombo.
The Bank was presented the award for the ‘Best CSR project on women empowerment by an organisation’ at the 10thedition of the ‘Top 50 Professional and Career Women Awards,Sri Lanka & Maldives’ – an event organised by Women in Management (WIM), a leading organisation in Sri Lanka dedicated to the success of women, together with International Finance Corporation(IFC), a member of the World Bank Group,and the Government of Australia via Australia Aid.
This is the first time that Commercial Bank has been chosen for this particular award. The award was in respect of Bank’s continuous efforts toempowerwomenentrepreneursby going beyond its regular business operations to improve their knowledge and enhance their financial literacy through a series of workshops exclusively for women. Notably, the Bank funded and conducted two entrepreneur education programmes in Polonnaruwa in 2020 in collaboration with WIM. Each of these events saw the participation of over 100 female entrepreneurs.
Commercial Bank has alsotaken a strategic initiative by partnering with IFC to carry out a ‘Gender Advisory Project’ to further improve its focus on the needs of female customers. This is positioned as a 360-degree approach to focus on both financial and non-financial aspects, including training to further improve the quality of the interaction between bank staff and this customer segment. The Bank is committed to women empowerment at the workplace with six women in its corporate management team and many more holding senior and key positions in the Bank.
Additionally, the Bank hosted its first ‘WomEntrepreneur’ event titled ‘Vision towards sustainable business,’ in 2019in partnership with the Women’s Chamber of Industry & Commerce (WCIC) exclusively for women entrepreneurs engaged in small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The Bank also conducted a webinar in 2020 in collaboration with the same organisation to help female entrepreneurs adapt to the requisites of the ‘new normal’ after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commercial Bank has been consistently offering non-financial services including Entrepreneur Skills Development Programmes to enable its SME and Micro customersto excel in their chosen trades. Notably, women make up the majority of the Bank’s Micro customer segment while close to 50% of the Bank’s SME exposure is in ‘women connected’ entities.
Launched in March 2011 by WIM, ‘The Top 50 Professional & Career Women Awards’ celebrates the achievements of remarkable women who inspire those around them – either through the media, through achievements in their careers, businesses, and everyday lives. The annual event is an uplifting awards ceremony where the individual and corporate achievements of trailblazing women leaders in Sri Lanka are celebrated.
The first Sri Lankan Bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World and the only Sri Lankan bank to be so listed for 10 years consecutively, Commercial Bank, which won more than 25 international and local awards in 2020, operates a network of 268 branches and 885 ATMs in Sri Lanka.
Commercial Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.