President Mahinda Rajapaksa said small and medium scale entrepreneurs should be guided and assisted to reach higher professional levels in their fields by state banks including the People's Bank.
He added that small enterprises usually collapse due to poor management. Therefore, state banks are duty bound to advise and guide such ventures to overcome obstacles and steer them on the correct path, he said.
The President was addressing 400 new entrants to the People's Bank staff at the BMICH yesterday. The new entrants have been recruited as Customer Service Assistants representing the Southern and Western Provinces under the 1,000 Customer Service Assistants' recruitment program of the People's Bank. The first batch of 600 entrants from all corners of the island including youths from the former conflict affected North and East have already received their appointments earlier.
"Banks should focus their special attention on the small scale entrepreneurs as they are the backbone of not only the rural economy but also the economy of the country. Banks should devote themselves towards uplifting, this segment so that they reach the next level of their businesses. Banks have the right to correct them and steer them on the correct path , the President said.
The President added that bank officers should not only be clever but also kind and hospitable to their customers. Bank staff should attract new customers while taking measures to retain the existing customers.
The President asked, "It is left to the bank staff to keep their customers within the bank's fold by extending their hospitality and treating them well, lest they (customers) are driven to disreputable organisation such as Sakvithi, Danduwam or Dedi Danduwam?.”
President Rajapaksa also told the new recruits to take pride in providing an excellent service in the most caring, responsive and professional manner to their customers.
He requested them to consider the well-being of the institution they work for as well, at all times. Under the guidance of the present government the People's Bank was progressing and going from strength to strength.
"The monies that are collected in branches should be utilized for the benefit of the people in the same area. We should make monies available for local entrepreneurs to develop their businesses.
The Bank should generate benefits for the national economy whilst being independent and commercially viable" the President added. Since its establishment on July 01, 1961, the People's Bank has been in the forefront of the banking sector.
President Rajapaksa further said that the Bank has to be further developed so as to cater to the public aspirations in the coming years. The Bank will be driven far ahead to meet the people's requirements. Accordingly, the Bank will address the financial needs of people as a more friendly bank while strengthening the country's economy.