Harsha Amarasekera, chairman, Sampath Bank PLC (left) and Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank PLC.
Despite the challenging conditions, Sampath Bank continued to prioritise the needs of all stakeholders. Backed by its solid fundamentals and strong operational capacity, the Bank took prompt action to implement government-led relief measures aimed at combating the impacts of COVID-19.
Accordingly, the Bank was able to grant the debt moratorium phase I to approximately 50% of customers on its loan book, while phase II of the debt moratorium was extended to more than 29% of its loan book. Sampath Bank also actively participated in disbursing the Saubhagya Renaissance scheme to eligible customers. Where necessary, the Bank also took its own initiatives to assist customers to overcome this difficult time.
Meanwhile, with banking being declared an essential service during the COVID-19 first wave, a concerted effort was made to keep branches across the network open in order to facilitate regular branch operations throughout the 2 month island-wide lockdown. Our ongoing investments in digital technology continued to benefit customers during this hour of need, as shown by the extensive use of Sampath Vishwa – the Bank’s digital platform and other digital banking solutions offered by the Bank in order to provide an uninterrupted service to customers. Irrespective of challenges, the Bank focused on its CSR activities throughout the year and undertook the restoration of tanks under its flagship “Wewata Jeewayak” CSR initiative aimed at supporting the livelihoods of rural agricultural communities.
Dialog Axiata revolutionizes digital payment acceptance for small business owners
eZ Cash, Sri Lanka’s Largest Mobile Money platform has enabled instant access for small businesses to accept contactless and remote payments using LANKAQR. With the Central Bank of Sri Lanka led initiative to digitize small value payments in Sri Lanka through an inter-operable, standardized LANKAQR, Dialog Axiata PLC (“Dialog”) is committed to empowering the nation with simple, easy solutions which add value to small businesses who are now able to self register for this service through their mobile phones.
Small business and self employed persons such as retailers, street vendors, three wheelers etc. with a Dialog mobile number can now download the eZ Cash app and use a simple registration process to sign-up for an eZ Cash Classic Wallet at no additional cost. On using the “MyQR” feature via the eZ Cash app, they can start accepting payments from their customers using their unique LANKAQR code. Payments can be accepted from any mobile banking app or payment wallet in the country which has enabled LANKAQR transactions, and proceeds will be received instantly to their wallet. Transactions using the LANKAQR payment network will be charged a nominal fee of 0.5% of the transaction value. Businesses are able to withdraw cash from the wallet at over 20,000 eZ Cash retailers located island wide or at any commercial bank ATM. Proceeds from the wallet can be used to settle over 100 utility or institutional payments to companies such as CEB, LECO, the Water Board, SLIC, AIA, Ceylinco Insurance, HNB Finance, CDB, AMW Finance etc. eZ Cash Wallet holders can also send money to an eZ Cash Wallet or pay for good and services at any retailer in the country which has enabled LANKAQR payment acceptance.
The revolutionary MyQR solution can also be used by online businesses to accept payments by posting a saved image of their LANKAQR code on their website or Facebook page. Businesses can also accept remote payments from their customers by forwarding their saved LANKAQR code via email and WhatsAapp so that customers can scan the image of the LANKAQR code and make payments through their bank’s mobile payment app which has enabled LANKAQR. Payments to the value of Rs. 10,000 per day can be accepted into an eZ Cash Classic Wallet while payments in excess of this value and up to Rs. 50,000 per day can be enabled through an eZ Cash Power Wallet. Customers can enhance their Classic eZ Cash Wallet to a Power Wallet by visiting any Dialog Customer Experience Centre or Service Centre.
Latest model of OPPO F- Series tipped to launch in March
It is learnt that OPPO is set to unveil the latest addition to their range – the F19 Series in early March 2021. A rectangular camera module with four lenses, LED flash, and AI support adorns the rear design of the F19 Pro while a smart band which may get launched simultaneously – is seen alongside, in a post revealing the series.
OPPO F19 Pro looks quite elegant its design & features a button on the right side which is believed to be the power on/off button. As per the poster image, there is no physical fingerprint sensor at the back panel, which suggests the phone might come with an in-display fingerprint sensor.
While OPPO might be working on the low-light camera performance, it is also suggested that it will have features like AI Colour Portrait Video, and Dual-View Video, which allow recording videos from both front and rear cameras.
Wrapped in Ultra Slim Body, the device is tipped to come in at least two shades.
The OPPO Smart Band could also be expected in Sri Lanka alongside the launch of the new F19 Series, similar to the OPPO watch which was released with OPPO F17 Pro. The Smart Band is said to handle message notifications which will include incoming call notification & call rejection, apart from having whole host of other features. Both products are expected to be in stores from mid- March 2021.
Hirdaramani takes bold new steps in transparency
The Hirdaramani Group has yet again taken bold strides towards energy accountability by being the first in Sri Lanka to receive International Renewable Energy Certificates (I-RECs) for its energy usage. With this robust tracking standard, the group hopes to add new layers of accountability and credibility to its operations, living up to the commitments outlined in the company’s own sustainability vision.
As Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs), I-RECs serve to increase transparency in the energy sector and provide clarity about the use of renewable electricity among end-consumers. The I-REC Standard (www.irecstandard.org) ensures that issued certificates comply with major international sustainability and carbon accountability standards and adhere to stakeholder expectations of industry best practice for the avoidance of double counting, double certificate issuance and double attribute claiming. The system also helps individual companies seeking to improve their environmental credentials, while raising awareness among consumers and industry players.
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