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EY webinar on CBSL direction 13 & 14 of 2021 – understanding the regulatory requirements

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From left - Manil Jayesinghe, Country Managing Partner- Ernst & Young and Rajith Perera, Partner-Financial Accounting Advisory Services of Ernst & Young

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) directions on classification, recognition and measurement of credit facilities and other financial assets will come into effect from 01st January 2022 onwards. It’s paramount for bankers to understand the regulatory expectations in this regard. New directions were introduced with the objective of harmonizing the regulatory framework with Sri Lanka Financial Reporting Standards-SLFRS 9 Financial Instruments.

The regulator has emphasized the importance of having a comprehensive credit risk management framework while stipulating its main components. Accordingly, Licensed Commercial Banks (LCBs) are expected to have a framework covering all aspects of credit lifecycle of its financial assets which includes, policy on classification, potential risk, under performing loans and write-offs, guidelines on computing Expected Credit Losses (ECL) & disclosures.

A high-profile deliberation on this crucial theme conducted by Manil Jayesinghe, Country Managing Partner, Ernst & Young, Sri Lanka and Maldives and Rajith Perera, Partner, Financial Accounting Advisory Services of Ernst & Young, Sri Lanka is to be held on 22 November 2021 where they will discuss regulatory expectations combined with Financial Reporting Risk Management challenges faced by banks.

Apart from the emphasize on governance, compliance with new regulation will induce other technical and operational changes for banking community. Mainly, change in the definition of Non-performing loans (NPL) may trigger system modifications and classification for certain segments of the loan portfolio while the specific and general provision based on the subclassification will cease to exist and provision determination will be based on SLFRS 9 Financial Instruments combined with the directive providing additional guidance as appropriate. Deliberation on “Significant Increase in Credit Risk” (SICR) will require lending officers to exercise judgement and have well documented policies and processes to ensure consistency in terms of staging its credit facilities. Another aspect which needs early intervention is on recognition of interest income for stage 3 facilities which shall be recognized in line with SLFRS 9 Financial Instruments. Banks may review the mechanism for income recognition as the interest suspension is no longer relevant with the revocation of the respective circulars.

Further, there will be impairment charges defined based on SLFRS 9 and the directive based on 12months Expected Credit Loss (ECL) and Lifetime ECL. Minimum Stage 1 Provision of 0.5% will be maintained and in the event 0.5% is not maintained adequate appropriations to be made from Equity.

Another important requirement under the new direction is on managing model risk. Banks are requested to develop comprehensive policies in relation to model governance covering life cycle of model development and validation. Given the increased use of sophisticated models with the implementation of SLFRS 9, regulatory requirement is timely to ensure accuracy and completeness of financial information. Further, if any changes in the credit models are required, the rationale and justification for such change shall be evaluated by the Chief Risk Officer, Integrated Risk Management Committee and approved by the Board of Directors.

The directive states that scope of internal audit function should be enhanced to independently evaluate the effectiveness of the credit risk assessment & measurements. Further, the Internal Audit function will at least annually, validate and evaluate all credit risk assessment models, inputs and assumptions used along with data smoothening. An assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of back testing should be provided from third line of defense perspective.

Economists, banking and financial service professionals and other decision makers interested are invited to join for further deliberations on this crucial theme webinar with Ernst and Young, on 22nd November 2021 from 09.00 am to 12.00 pm. For registrations contact Thilini Perera on Thilini.perera1@lk.ey.com or Tel. +94 770623529.



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Seylan Bank takes the lead to promote LANKA QR beyond Western Province

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Seylan Bank, the Bank with a Heart, organized the ‘Seylan Pay QR Carnival’ in Kurunegala to promote the LANKAQR programme introduced by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) to strengthen digital transactions in Sri Lanka. The special programme, focusing on encouraging local merchants and SMEs to join the national QR transaction system, took place at the Vehera Sports Ground in Kurunegala recently. Officials from the Central bank of Sri Lanka, the Lanka QR Committee and partner banks were present at the event.

Organised as the 14th leg of the LankaQR national rollout campaign, the Seylan Pay QR Carnival set a firm footprint with the highest number of merchants at the event. Seylan Bank alone on boarded over 100 merchants for the SeylanPay payment solutions from the Kurunegala area. Over a thousand customers walked in during the event which benefitted many merchants accepting LankaQR, to process transactions on the day and generate great traction in the district since then.

As the key feature of the event, Seylan Bank educated their customers on the use of the Bank’s QR payment system, the SeylanPay Mobile App, and assisted customers in making payments to merchants. Over 50 stalls selling clothes and accessories, gift items, food, sweets, electronics and electrical equipment, plants, beauty care, cosmetic items and automobile parts were set up for the benefit of consumers, with attractive added discounts for customers using QR payment systems to purchase items, thereby encouraging and familiarizing the use of it among them. This marked a record high number of merchants participating among many LankaQR nationwide rollout campaigns that were organised to date. A Seylan Bank Mobile ATM was deployed at the premises, ensuring that customers had easy access to carry out cash withdrawals if required and check their account balances at any given time. In addition, a special fun zone was set up for children at the event premises, whilst a musical evening entertained the adults present at the Seylan Pay QR Carnival.

“Seylan Bank’s commitment to develop the banking and finance network together with the industry led to us hosting the 14th leg of the Lanka QR national rollout campaign. We also realize the potential this system brings to the SME sector in the country, in terms of transaction efficiency and savings. As a bank that has continued to support SMEs in the country in a wide spectrum, the alliance with Lanka QR helps in developing the entire transaction ecosystem of the country,” commented Chaminda Senewiratne, Head of Digital Banking Channels, Seylan Bank.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka introduced the LANKAQR service in October 2020 with the aim of moving towards a cash-less society while increasing financial inclusion in Sri Lanka, and was supported in this endeavour by Banks, licensed financial institutions and Lanka Clear (Pvt.) Ltd. It has already stood out as an attractive option with notable benefits for small and medium enterprises.

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Stylish Garments unveils its latest export-oriented BOI factory in Ambalangoda 

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With the Board of Investment (BOI) widening its projects, Stylish Garments (Pvt) Ltd, unveiled its sixth BOI approved factory in Ambalangoda which manufactures children’s wear, jerseys including school uniforms exclusively targeting the international market. The Stylish Garments is a renowned a garment manufacturer and exporter of jersey knit and lighter woven apparel products.

The latest project, which is a USD 3.5 million investment, is to generate 500 employment opportunities for people living in the south and other parts of the country. Moreover, the products are slated to be exported to the UK and Europe. The agreement in this regard was signed recently at the BOI Head Office in the presence of BOI Director General Renuka M Weerakone.

The Director General said “A project of this nature should be recognized owing to the fact that it depicts the vibrant and vivid expansion of BOI projects, which has now started to reach the rural areas, The new venture will uplift the livelihood of the people living in the Ambalangoda area plus become a crucial source of bringing dollars to the country in a situation where the country isin dire need of dollars,” she underscored.

Founder and incumbent Chairman of the Stylish Garments (Pvt) Ltd Leelaratne Hattanarachchi said,” we were determined to launch the project irrespective of current challenges because such new projects would bring dollars to the country. That’s the very reason why I ventured to start operations at this new factory by turning the advantage of this crisis to ourselves. At the same time, we do appreciate the support rendered by the BOI at this critical juncture and look forward their support in future too.”

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Browns Investments solar power plant deal dominates CSE trading

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By Hiran H. Senewiratne

CSE’s leading listed company, Browns Investments, disposed of 50.1 per cent of its stake in Sagasolar Power Power (Private) Limited to another leading company, Aitken Spence Pvt. Ltd. yesterday, market sources said.

The total value of the company was Rs 1.4 billion and under this deal Browns Investments sold the stake for Rs 700 million. The capacity of the solar power plant is 10 megawatts, stock market analysts said.

Sagasolar Power built the solar PV facility on 45 acres (18.2 ha) of land within a dedicated energy development area in Baruthankanda, Hambantota district, Southern province. The country’s previous largest solar plant is a 1.3-MW facility also located in Hambantota.

Amid those developments, the trading activities in the stock market turned negative due to macro and micro economic uncertainties. Accordingly, stocks slipped over 1 per cent at mid-day trade yesterday for the third consecutive day, market analysis said.

The All- Share Price Index fell by 121 points and S and P SL20 went down by 50.8 points. Turnover stood at Rs 982 million without any crossings. Top seven companies that that contributed to the turnover were, Lanka IOC Rs 274 million (3.5 million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 185 million (1.2 million shares traded), JKH Rs 77 million (626,000 shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 59.8 million (9.9 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 58.9 million (8.9 million shares traded), LOLC Holdings Rs 32.6 million (89,000 shares traded) and Commercial Bank Rs 15.4 million (309,000 shares traded). During the day 51.5 million share volumes changed hands in 14000 share transactions.

Yesterday the Central Bank announced US dollar buying rate was Rs 356.04 and the selling price Rs 367.33.

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