With PB, BOC and NSB using pawning as one of its strategies for expansion during 2011 -2012, the pawning portfolios increased rapidly during the period and high credit concentration was seen in pawning during these years. Subsequently, the share of pawning portfolios declined from 28.7 percent in 2012 to 21.9 percent in 2013 as banks took several measures to mitigate the risks arising from the sharp decline in gold prices. Although the banks have scaled down the pawning portfolios, losses incurred due to high default rates remain a significant challenge to the banks with large pawning portfolios.
With respect to credit concentration, credit granted to agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure, tourism, transport and housing sectors have slightly increased in 2013 when compared with 2012 while credit to sectors such as consumption, construction and financial services have slightly declined. The state banks play a significant role in providing necessary funding for the infrastructure development projects as well as other growth sectors supporting the economy.
In 2013, state banks raised a total of US$ 1,250 million in the international market which is a reflection of international investors’ interest in Sri Lanka’s debt market. NSB was successful in raising dollar funds totalling US$750 million at 8.76 percent with a maturity of 5 years while BOC passed yet another milestone by raising its second international dollar bond of 5 years amounting to US$ 500 million at 5.325 percent which was 6.8 times oversubscribed, endorsing the acceptance the Bank has earned within the global investor community. The BOC earned global recognition as one of the top 1000 banks in the world, as listed by The Bankers Magazine (UK) consecutively in 2012 and 2013. Further, the BOC was also named as one of Asia’s Best Brands in 2013 being the only Sri Lankan brand recognized by the Chief Marketing Officer’s Council (CMO Council) based in Mumbai India.