Leading the Way through Innovation – D.P.K Gunasekera, General Manager of Bank of Ceylon

A career banker who counts over 40 years of professional industry experience, D. P. K. Gunasekera, the General Manager of Bank of Ceylon commenced his career in 1980 in the area of retail banking and served in branches right across the island specializing in Treasury Operations- his particular focus included high-impact areas including foreign exchange trading, money market operations, and Government securities.

He holds a Bachelor of Science Special Degree in Business Administration from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in Sri Lanka, as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Business and Finance Administration from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and an MBA from the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. He is also a member of the Sri Lanka Institute of Bankers. Gunasekera has international experience, having held positions at BOC as Senior Deputy General Manager (International, Treasury, and Investment), Deputy General Manager (Corporate & Offshore Banking), Assistant General Manager (Overseas Branches), and Assistant General Manager (Corporate Relations).

Leading the No.1 Bank in the country, Bank of Ceylon, in the position of the General Manager, Gunasekera states that he believes it is a privilege to be part of the financial ecosystem that promotes wellbeing in Sri Lanka, uplifting the community to live purposefully and contribute to overall socio-economic development in a significant manner. 

With the stability that was built over eighty years, the Bank of Ceylon proudly holds the position of No.1 Brand in Banking in Sri Lanka. Brand Finance Lanka estimated the brand value of the Bank of Ceylon brand at Rs,53 Billion for the year 2021, which is the highest ever brand value earned by a banking brand in Sri Lanka. The Bank of Ceylon brand has been ranked in nine different categories, including the top Banking brands and the best Sri Lanka brands. The bank’s physical presence is not the only factor that determines its corporate excellence, with a total of 646 branches throughout the island. The Bank of Ceylon is instrumental in bridging the fintech divide between urban and rural areas. Gunasekera claims that the roots of the national economy run deep, from the rural sector to blue-chip conglomerates and the state sector. BOC is a major contributor to the national treasury in terms of taxes and dividends, which demonstrates the bank’s vitality and importance to the national economy.

Forging ahead as the resilient leader in banking it has not only proven its financial strength but also its commitment to serve the needs of the nation even during a strenuous period such as this.

When asked how improvements to the marketing environment are expected in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gunasekera points to how BOC was able to sustain its stability and concentrate on assisting the severely affected tourism and related sectors through loan restructuring, rescheduling, and administering the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s moratorium.

Since the inauguration of the first overseas branch in London, BOC continued to expand its reach with overseas branches in Chennai, Male, Hulhumale, and Seychelles. Its London branch was later on converted to a fully-fledged banking subsidiary. Over 80 years, the Bank of Ceylon is a hallmark for trust and dependability in the Sri Lankan banking and finance industry.

In addition, amid economic turmoil, the bank assisted thousands of Sri Lankan individuals and businesses in seeking their intent and providing guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic. BOC moved into uncharted territory with creative HR and IT solutions to support its customers to remain on course as “Bankers to the Nation”. Gunasekera’s efforts were to ensure the credibility of the country’s banking sector while assisting the nation in its economic revival through SME and local entrepreneurship growth, based on the availability of local talent to carry out disruptive marketing.

As the Sri Lankan community evolves, BOC is committed to maintaining its growth while contributing to the country’s overall socio-development. It serves as a key financier, enabling start-ups to grow into well-established corporations, which is a key driving force in the economy while still catering to individual expectations. BOC’s financial strength and operational capability allow it to steer the country’s banking and financial sector in the right direction. The bank plays a vital role in each venture and takes legitimate care in all types of investments it makes towards enhancing its brand in the current corporate climate, as it holds the highest type of brand investment any company has to concentrate on. Gunasekera is a firm believer that genuine and responsible investments will still create value in the long run, as positive impacts leave a lasting impression in the minds of customers, which is especially important during these trying times.

In terms of how marketing affects the banking industry, being the most valuable banking brand entails completely accepting the obligation of working in a socially and environmentally conscious manner. Gunasekera has always ensured that BOC’s value development is distributed throughout the country, with particular attention paid to socioeconomically disadvantaged areas.

BOC has been recognized for its contribution on many occasions, most recently by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce at its Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards, where it was named one of Sri Lanka’s Top Ten Corporate Citizens in 2021. With over 11 million customers, Bank of Ceylon has stuck to its slogan of bonding with the Sri Lankan community and establishing values since its inception. D. P. K. Gunasekera is well-positioned to steer Bank of Ceylon’s vision while furthering their legacy as Bankers to the Country, drawing on his vast industry experience and expertise.

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