by Sanath Nanayakkare
The Bank of Ceylon (BOC) successfully weathered the ferocious pandemic year of 2020 while doing its duty towards the nation at an unprecedented time of difficulty, so I don’t see that we should worry about about any greater challenges in the year 2021, but harness that power of resilience and enter into a year of consolidation in 2021, BOC chairman Kanchana Ratwatte said yesterday.
The BOC chair said so in response to a query posed by The Island Financial Review at a media conference held by the Bank to announce the Bank’s performance during the year 2020 amid the COVID 19 crisis and its approach for 2021 and beyond.
Elaborating on the matter Ratwatte said: “The bank entered the year 2020 as the undisputed market leader with great hope and enthusiasm. However with the pandemic that engulfed the entire globe we had to change gear and focus as the unfolding situation compelled us to innovate fresh strategies to face the situation, The experienced human resource in the bank rose to the occasion and faced the situation with vigor and vitality. Bank of Ceylon continued to perform, playing a lead role in keeping the wheels of the economy moving as the crisis continued to the New Year as well.
“Following concessions announced by the government and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka with the advent of COVID-19, the bank strengthened its capabilities to cater to customers in the best possible way, while continuously delivering services with strict adherence to health and safety measures.
“To date, the bank has disbursed more than Rs. 39 billion under the “Saubagya COVID-19 Renaissance Facility” by extending working capital to COVID-19 affected businesses.
“Further the bank disbursed Rs. 128 billion for development and agriculture sector including credit facilities under “BOC DiviUdana” loans scheme. Despite the challenging situation in the country, the bank is moving forward with stable performance and reported a Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 16.6 billion and Profit After Tax (PAT) of Rs. 11.7 billion, for the nine months ending September 30, 2020.
“The total income of the bank for the period was Rs. 181.8 billion with a marginal increase of 2% YoY. The non-fund-based income for the period amounted to Rs. 12.9 billion showing an increase of Rs.1.7 billion YoY, and an exchange gain of Rs. 3.6 billion, which contributed to this growth.
“Amidst socio-economic challenges that prevailed due to the pandemic situation, the bank’s assets base grew by 17% to Rs. 2.8 trillion, backed by an increase of 25% in the loan book. The bank’s loan book stood at Rs. 1.9 trillion and both government and private sector lending contributed to growth, including lending to major infrastructure development projects initiated by the government, funding requirements for mid-corporates for business expansion, lending to the SME sector, and other priority sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and related industries.
“Term loans, scheme loans, personal loans and overdrafts are the key contributors to loan growth during the period. The term loan portfolio grew by 28% demonstrating the bank’s support in terms of working capital requirements.”
HNB promotes cashless transactions; joins CBSL’s ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ campaign
Chief Guest for the event Money and Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal, CBSL Deputy Governor and National Payments Council chairperson Yvette Fernando, and CBSL Payments and Settlements Director D. Kumaratunge with HNB Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo as he completes a transaction via HNB SOLO at a merchant stall
HNB PLC, partnered with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to promote the Colombo-leg of ‘Rata Purama LANKA QR’ campaign at Diyatha Uyana, to raise awareness and encourage the public towards cashless payments.
Having already linked LANKA QR to its digital payment app HNB SOLO, the bank was among other financial institutions and telecommunication partners in joining efforts to make cashless QR-code based payments the standard for mobile phones and digital payments countrywide, in moving towards a cashless and digitally-savvy Sri Lanka.
“We are entering a new era of financial technology, where almost all of our daily transactions will require no physical banknotes, but just a smartphone and internet connection with our bank account integrated to a digital payment app.
The Central Bank’s national directive for banks and financial institutions to adopt and integrate LANKA QR into their existing digital payment solutions has prompted an aggressive onboarding of merchants to the new payment solution across the country. With our extensive customer base, SOLO is no doubt a significant contributor to this innovative initiative,” HNB Deputy General Manager – Retail and SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne said.
The Colombo-leg of the ‘Rata Purama LANKA QR’ campaign raised awareness regarding SOLO’s many facilities, including zero human interaction, efficiency, and eliminated risks that influenced many vendors to come on board.
Sri Lanka Insurance posts a staggering revenue of Rs. 55.2 billion during 2020
Amidst the turbulent and challenging year Sri Lanka Insurance has closed year 2020 on a positive note recording phenomenal revenue growth with exceptional service innovations.
Sri Lanka Insurance the premier insurer to the nation recorded stellar performance in 2020 to record Rs. 55.2 billion revenue for the year, a marked improvement on the Rs.48.6 billion in the year 2019, a press release said.
It adds – In the year of 2020 Sri Lanka Insurance reported 30 % growth in life insurance premium increasing to Rs.19.2 billion whilst general insurance reported 7% growth in premium grew to Rs. 20.1 billion. The company achieved a combined Gross Written Premium (GWP) growth rate of 17 % during the year. General insurance contributed 51% towards the total GWP whilst Life Insurance contributed 49 %.
‘In continuing with its tradition of leadership, Sri Lanka Insurance in 2020 surpassed its own record to declare a sum of Rs.8.2 billion as bonus to policyholders. The cumulative life insurance bonus paid out during the past 10 years tops a massive Rs.54 billion making the SLIC bonus payout unmatchable.
‘As the national insurer we have witnessed yet another challenging year and the consequences brought out by pandemic outbreak urged us to conduct our business operations in a more empathetic manner. SLIC has always taken the lead to protect the nation and during this difficult time Sri Lanka Insurance launched many initiatives to sustain country’s health defenses while ensuring our customers receive uninterrupted insurance service.
‘As the pioneering insurance company in Sri Lanka we are in the forefront to inculcate the importance of insurance to the masses as a national responsibility on our shoulders. We will further strengthen internal capabilities to serve the nation through innovative and affordable insurance solutions which cater to all Sri Lankans under the ‘Insurance for All” concept. Even though the times are defining we will continue protecting our nation turning obstacles into opportunities.’ noted .Jagath Wellawatta, chairman of SLIC.
Bank of Ceylon empowering nation with Lanka Q
The Bank of Ceylon in its mission to assist the government initiative to empower Sri Lanka through digital technology is joining the customer awareness campaign of Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s Lanka QR digital platform.
Bank of Ceylon had its most recent major awareness programs in Borella and Maharagama along with the other branches in Colombo District in line with the Central Bank’s main program held in “Diyatha Uyana” with the participation of all Lanka QR certified banks on the same day.
Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has organized a series of awareness and promotion campaigns for popularizing Lanka QR with the participation of all Lanka QR certified financial institutions throughout the country with the aim of speeding up the customer adaptation process towards digital banking.
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