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UPADESHANA Credit Counseling Centre

The Sri Lanka Banks’ Association (SLBA) established a Credit Counseling Centre, as a social initiative, on the 21st of January, 2009.The Centre, aptly named `UPADESHANA’ is located in the premises of the Centre for Banking Studies, No.58,Sri Jayewardenapura Mawatha, Rajagiriya. (Tel.2887006). The Centre is headed by Ms.Siromi Wickramasinghe, a Senior Banker with extensive experience in granting and recovery of Credit in private as well as State Sector Banks. The SLBA advertised in the Press calling for applications from senior bankers to function as credit counselors and received almost 150 applications of which several were short listed and after interview, 15 were selected to be on the Panel of Counselors.

The commencement of a Credit Counseling facility was felt quite timely, considering the current financial crises across the globe, the ripples of which are felt in Sri Lanka as well. Though the impact on the local Banking and Finance sectors has been marginal, Banks are experiencing higher rates of default especially in consumer credit areas including Credit Cards. Therefore it is apparent that there are lots of people out there who will need counseling services.

The primary target group for counseling is financially distressed persons, some of whom in difficulty due to their inability to honour obligations to Banks and others in financial distress due to not having access to credit to resolve their financial problems, maybe due to lack of knowledge of Banking products.

Counseling is expected to broadly cover,

  • Managing ones finances with available income, to get back on their feet
  • Workable solutions to current problems
  • Action plans to prevent future difficulties etc.

Counselors, whenever felt necessary, will discuss with a lending institution on behalf of a borrower or may where appropriate advise the clients how to do it by themselves. In some countries Counselors do discuss and propose solutions but with no commitment by the Banks.

A good banker will not necessarily be a good counselor unless properly trained and prepared for the function. We have already done so with the assistance of an expert from the ICICI Bank’s Counseling Centre in India and also with the assistance of a local resource person.

There has been a tremendous response from the public and the media to this project which has been hailed as one of the most proactive and timely social initiatives presented to the public by the Banking sector.

At any given time, up to three Counselors provide counseling services and the reaction from those counseled appear to be quite positive.


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