Commex Sri Lanka, a unit of Commercial Bank of Ceylon, has launched its money transfer operation in Italy after securing money transfer licence from the Bank of Italy.

The Sri Lanker lender, the first in the country to start money transfer operations in Italy, secured regulatory nod from the two countries to engage in fund transfers on its own.

About 150,000 Sri Lankans live and work in Italy, with the market generating around LKR3bn in remittances to Sri Lanka every month, Commercial Bank stated.

Commercial Bank CEO and managing director Jegan Durairatnam said: “We are delighted to launch the Commex operation as a fully-owned Sri Lankan Exchange House offering money transfer facilities.

“The company was incorporated for that purpose, recognising the potential in Italy for remittance services to Sri Lanka.”

The bank eventually intends to set up branches in other cities across Italy that have potential for money transfer services to Sri Lanka, Durairatnam added.

In addition to Italy, Commercial Bank has international operation across 18 locations in Bangladesh, a representative office in Yangon, Myanmar, as well as a Tier I bank in Maldives.

Previously, the bank partnered with international money transfer services Ria and MoneyGram.

“The tie up with MoneyGram and Ria permits remittances to all parts of the world through Commex,” the bank said.