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Commercial Bank of Ceylon

Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC (CBC) is one of the leading commercial banks in Sri Lanka with 266 branches and 830 ATMs. The bank has operations in Bangladesh, Maldives and soon to open in Myanmar. It has been rated as the Best Bank in Sri Lanka by "Global Finance" for the 14th consecutive year and also as the Bank of the Year by "The Banker" Magazine on seven occasions.


CBC can trace its history back to 1920 when Eastern Bank, a British overseas bank, opened a branch in Ceylon. In 1957, Chartered Bank (another British overseas bank; see below) acquired Eastern Bank but ran it separately. Four years later, the Government of Ceylon forbade foreign banks to accept deposits from Ceylonese nationals. In response, Eastern Bank incorporated its branch under the name, Commercial Bank of Ceylon and took 40% of the equity. CBC got Mercantile Bank of India's branches in Kandy, Galle and Jaffna as part of a deal that would remove the government's limit on deposit taking in Mercantile's remaining branches in Colombo and Pettah. The branches actually transferred in 1973. (HSBC had acquired Mercantile in 1959.) Then in 1971 Eastern bank amalgamated with Chartered Bank, which four years later merged with Standard Bank to form Standard Chartered Bank.

In 1997 Standard Chartered divested itself of its 40% stake in CBC. DFCC Bank (formerly Development Finance Corporation of Ceylon) acquired 29.5%.

In 2004, CBC acquired Credit Agricole Indosuez's two branches in Bangladesh at Dhaka and Chittagong to become the first Sri Lankan private bank to establish operations outside the country.[2] (Banque Indosuez had opened its branches in Bangladesh in 1980.) Also in 2003, the IFC bought 15% of the bank's share capital from Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation.[3]


  • Green, E., and S. Kinsey. 1999. The Paradise Bank (Aldershot: Ashgate).

External links

28 September 2019