Mr. Jeremy De Zilva
Association Of Professional Bankers
Speech as the 33rd President
Friday 25th March 2022
“We can’t help everyone but everyone can help someone” a quote by the Past US – President Ronald Regan.
Immediate Past President, Mr. Rajapakshe,
Council officer bearers, Advisory council members,
the Fund Management Committee, and fellow members of APB.
I warmly welcome the newly elected council officials. This year we have five new council members which are great to see the interest shown to join APB as officer bearers.
I am humbled and honored to accept the leadership as the 33rd President of APB, Thank you all for the confidence and trust placed in me. I will be looking forward to guiding the council and our members as we work to fulfill our mission in the coming council year.
I will fail in my duties if I don’t recognize one great gentleman who was instrumental in pursuing me to join the council officer bearers, Unfortunately, this great personality who has had done so much to the APB is not with us today due to his prolonged health conditions, Mr. Parama Dharmawardena, My sincere gratitude to you Sir for that encouragement and inspiration given, I joined the council under the leadership of Mr. Deepal Abeysekara in 2015/2016 and since then I have worked with many president’s and progressed over the years holding the positions of Treasurer, Secretary-General, Vice President, Senior Vice President and today taking over as the President.
It’s also an honor to be the President of a smaller bank in the banking industry. This is the first time my bank has had a president of APB.
My sincere appreciation goes out to my employer Pan Asia Bank, the Board of Directors, MD/CEO, and management for the great support/encouragement extended to me to be involved with APB activities and discharge my duties.
This is a real coincidence, this is my 33rd year in my banking journey and today here am taking over this professional body as the 33rd President. Our Mission states “to sustain highest standards of professionalism and integrity among bankers”.
I assure you all that with responsible leadership and a team who are committed, we will work towards upholding APB’s deep-rooted principles and values.
In this movement, we also need to appreciate with gratitude our co-founders of APB for their thought and efforts in creating a professional body for bankers. Over the years successive President and councils have built this association brick by brick to be a strong association among the bankers,
In the coming year, my council will focus on extending APB activities to the regions, so that our members in these regions would have an opportunity to engage & participate in our activities, This will also give APB an avenue to drive new membership from the regions.
We will explore the possibility of appointing regional coordinators for APB to coordinate activities in the future.
Our vision statement states “The power of professionalism in Banking in Sri Lanka” if we are to drive on this vision APB needs to be looking at the future challenges over the next 5-10 years and gear up professionals to meet these growing demands, we need to attract young talent into the banking sector, today all of you senior bankers/HR professionals know we find it difficult to draw young blood to the banks.
Today APB has built a close relationship with the Institute of Bankers, one area my council will be looking at is starting a mentoring program for grooming and developing the young AIB pass finalist to be professional bankers. This will allow us to share our valuable experiences in a practical sense so that these young qualified individuals could learn the practical sides. This will allow them to join a bank and develop a long-term career. The initial discussion held with IBSL today indicates positive favor for this program.
Am sure we have ample resources within this audience who will be able to volunteer to give back some of your expertise for the development of young professionals. Professionalism is not only limited to paper qualifications but their more to developing a person to be a rightful professional by molding them with ethics, values, communication, attitudes, integrity, manners, etc.
The much-awaited incorporation of APB which has been prolonged over a long period has now seen some light, thanks to some of our council members who took on the challenge to pursue the matters and have been closing working with the authorities to make it a reality within this year. The relevant authorities have indicated positively that the bill will be taken up soon in parliament before the coming New Year season. We keep our hands crossed that this will work positively in our favor which will help APB in being a legally incorporated body.
As a professional body, we need to Foster more relationships with other professional bodies where our APB members are recognized as entry to different membership levels. We already have one tie-up with CIMA which we did sign up in the year 2021 where our APB members are entitled to further their professional skills in different specialized areas by doing exams at different entry levels/new specialized subject matters to gain membership in CIMA, we hope to work closely on this while also see other tie-ups with other professional bodies.
There is a need to revisit and amend or add new clauses/objectives to our constitution to accommodate the evolving changes in the banking industry so that a wider network of professionals working in banks could be accommodated as student members/members of our association and for future council positions.
These are some thoughts that are lined up for change in the upcoming year.
With this I shall end my speech; once again thank you dear members for the trust and confidence placed upon this new council and formally welcome the new joiners’ to the council.
We expect a strong involvement from our membership to engage with our upcoming activities
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