I am from Ampara, and I studied at St. Anthony’s College, Kandy. So when my parents wanted to send me money it was a huge issue, so my dad opened an account and gave me his card to use for emergencies. This was my early teenage and once when I went to withdraw, my card got stuck and I had no option to withdraw money or recover the card from the branch.
It was during that time Sampath Bank introduced its X-Set card and one of my friends Madawa Senavirathna recommended getting me one as well because his aunt who was at the bank got him one.
Then there was a promotion, Bank got its mobile unit to visit the bank and create accounts to the students. Guess what? I was one of the first few to jump in and open the account.
Got my own ATM and it was awesome. If I remember correctly it had limits like you can withdraw only 5000/- but it wasn’t an issue because I never got that much pocket money at once anyway.
Forward 4-5 years and when I got my NIC I wanted to lift minor account limits and covert my account to a regular savings account. It was my account since then, also during that time I started receiving interest and to keep away from receiving interest I make multiple withdrawals. I think it was something like you do less than 2 withdrawals you get bonus interest and if you make 4 withdrawals you don’t get interest at all.
I was only interested in using the account for safe keeping and convince, also I was not interested in earning Interest because it’s against my beliefs. So I made a request to the bank and they somehow figured out a way to exempt my account.
I started my degree, I was away from home so I continued using my account. Then I was into web stuff and I wanted a way to make my online payments like domain and eBay purchases. But I didn’t have any credibility to get a credit card. Then I heard about Sampath banks brand new product WebCard. It was the perfect solution for my needs and I got it instantly. It was very useful in my early career to get things done.
My transactions were fairly consistent and based on my usage history I managed to convince them to give me a credit card with a very low credit limit. I’ve always used it for installments, subscription payments and common tasks but I have always paid the balance on time. There has been couple of issues like double charges, balance update issues, etc but the bank has always been professional and resolved timely.
My fiancé was working for Sampath Bank at that time. Yes! A Muslim girl was working at head office for 5+ years and I used to visit the head office when I come to Colombo. Right around the time we were planning to get married, my wife got an offer from Amana Bank and she decided to accept it. So that she will have a nice break in between jobs and an opportunity to start fresh after the marriage.
I had a bank account in Amana at that time but I couldn’t get anything done because it had just transformed into a bank from its financial institute times, everything is very traditional and it was far behind from what I experience with Sampath Bank offerings.
8 years later in my experience the gap is more or less the same for the services I use. But Amana Bank has made a lot of progress. Now I use Amana for savings, my children savings etc so that they will keep earning profit shares until they are major and in time to utilize it.
But I will always be thankful for the timely solutions Sampath Bank offered throughout and I will always be a loyal customer.
At least until majority of its customers feel and influence the board that it should be exclusive to a certain religious group (Which I don’t think will ever happen).
Even now I took time to write this so that I can express my gratitude for all the services that I’ve enjoyed closer to 2 decades. Thank you!