The launch of Sampath Bank in 1987, with the visionary banker N. U. Jayawardena at the helm as Chairman, was a watershed in the history of the financial services industry in Sri Lanka.
Experienced bankers were recruited, and outstanding school-leavers attracted with investments made in computerisation to deliver customer-focused banking services. The bank pioneered many initiatives in Sri Lanka including extended banking hours and access to accounts 24x7 through its ATM network. The savings account holder too being considered an important constituent was another significant change.
In the pioneering spirit of its founders, the bank also developed a flock of young professionals who reached out to the customers without awaiting them. These young bankers were actively supported to obtain professional qualifications.
Well-trained in IT and with the philosophy ‘customer comes first’ thoroughly ingrained in them the group was a sought-after lot in the financial services industry. Many were attracted with lucrative offers by international banks overseas as well. Some went on to join other industries too, bringing success to the different industries benefiting from the excellent training provided and the ‘can do attitude’ instilled by the bank.
Many of the ex-sampath Bankers are now holding senior positions in banking and other industries in private and state sectors both in Sri Lanka and overseas. Some have even excelled in other professions as doctors, lawyers, engineers and academics.
From the very inception and over the years, as a social investment, Sampath Bank employed many national crickets and other sportsmen and sportswomen who went on to bring many accolades to the country.
Realising the dreams of its founding fathers, today Sampath Bank is an actively socially-engaged commercial entity in the forefront of the banking industry in Sri Lanka, making a positive contribution to the economic development of the country, reaching to all segments of society whilst providing vale to all its stake holders.
The staff of Sampath Bank both present and past contributed immensely to take the bank to where it is today. Inaugurated in early 1987 in the midst of the ruthless ethnic conflict soon to be followed by the equally ruthless insurrection the pioneering lot of employees risked life and limb to enable the fledgling bank to get on its feet, very often working late into the night on a regular basis without any extra benefit.
For all those who worked at Sampath Bank at whatever stage of its evolution the Bank has always remained near and dear their hearts and is always remembered with great affection. The excellent grounding received and the positive encouragement to achieve highest professional standards will be remembered with gratitude. The ‘family’ feeling and the caring culture with the ‘respect for the individual’ as the most important key value will endure among the Sampath fraternity till the very end.
To facilitate the interaction and promote fellowship among ex-Sampath bankers from varied industries, professions and age groups, an initiative is being taken to form an association where members could benefit from their collective experiences, with the common bonding of affinity to Sampath Bank.
The first event to launch the Ex-Sampath Bankers Club is to be held on 25 July titled ‘X Sampath Nite 2015’ and many ex-Sampath Bankers are expected to attend including several from overseas.