Nivard points to highest banking density in post-war north to prove inclusion taking place

Monday, 6 January 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Rapid expansion by banks in former war zone displaces Western Province from number one rank
Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal last week pointed out post-war north becoming the highest in banking density to critics of lack of inclusion. During his presentation of the Central Bank’s Road Map for 2014, Cabraal said that within four years, the banking density ranking of the Northern Province rose to the highest from being the lowest previously. The banking density (bank branches per 100,000 population) in the Northern Province was 21.5% by end 2013 as opposed to 9.9% in 2009. “Sometimes these matters are not highlighted but it is useful to reflect especially at a time when certain countries are talking about the need for reconciliation and inclusiveness. It is important to ponder about how did a Province, which is emerging out of a conflict move from being the lowest with banking density to the highest in a period of four years,” Governor Cabraal said. “Unless there was a deep commitment on the part of the people, authorities and the private sector to bring banking to the door step of the people (in the area), this wouldn’t have happened,” added Cabraal suggesting that those who claim there hasn’t been inclusiveness should consider this important factor. The Western Province, which enjoyed the number one rank in 2009 with a banking density of 18.3, had been displaced by the north, which took the top position. This was despite the Western Province improving banking density to 20.7 by 2013. The Eastern Province has grown to take the third position, whilst the Southern Province was placed fourth, which however, was a decline from the second position it enjoyed in 2009. Sri Lanka overall had 3,426 bank branches by end September 2013, in comparison to 3,359 in 2013.