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HNB Group posts Rs. 8.8bn in PAT during first nine months of 2020

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Hatton National Bank PLC (HNB) reported Profit After Taxes (PAT) of Rs. 7.7Bn for the first nine months of 2020, while the Group recorded a PAT for Rs. 8.8Bn for the same period.

Commenting on the performance, Dinesh Weerakkody, chairman of HNB stated that, “Sri Lanka managed the first wave of the pandemic commendably. However, as the situation continues to evolve globally, we as a nation are currently at a crucial juncture once again. Despite the significant challenges brought about by the pandemic, HNB continued to demonstrate strength, stability and resilience. The recent unprecedented two notch downgrade of the Sovereign rating by Moody’s has been a further setback. In this backdrop, I’m happy to note that HNB was able to conclude a long term loan agreement of USD 60Mn with the French Development Financing Institution, Proparco to support the SME sector of Sri Lanka”.

The monetary easing adopted post the pandemic has led to a 400bps drop in AWPLR since the beginning of the year. The Interest Income of the Bank declined in line with the drop in interest rates to Rs. 79.6 Bn, by 8.7% YoY in comparison to the corresponding period of 2019. Interest Expenses of Rs. 45.8 Bn represented a 7.3% YoY drop from last year, resulting in a Net Interest Income (NII) of Rs. 33.8 Bn which was 10.6% lower compared to the first nine months of the previous year.

The impact of COVID-19 continued to hamper the Net Fee and Commission income which declined by 18.9% YoY to Rs. 5.4 Bn as a result of the restrictions placed on imports, low volume of foreign card transactions, removal of certain charges as part of CBSL initiated COVID relief scheme and low level of economic activity etc. However, the Bank witnessed an encouraging increase in income from digital products and platforms with customers shifting to digital channels under social distancing and health guidelines.

Expressing his views on the performance of the Bank, Jonathan Alles, Managing Director / CEO of HNB stated that, “Our country was moving in a positive trajectory over the last few months, until the second wave struck us, however, this has been a common phenomenon across the world. Therefore, it is important to provide the necessary support to drive grass root revival and adapt to the ‘new normal’. As of September, HNB has provided moratoriums to over 85,000 customers and processed working capital finance amounting to over Rs. 24Bn to COVID affected businesses under the CBSL Saubhagya schemes. Over the past two years, the banking sector of Sri Lanka, has stepped in to support distressed sectors, providing necessary financial assistance as our country underwent, multiple shocks. At this critical point in time as a responsible D-SIB, HNB will once again stand by its loyal customers, to ensure that they come out of this crisis successfully. We strongly believe that the authorities will introduce sustainable, long term solutions and more stable alternate funding options to support the most vulnerable segments of our economy”.

He added that “We are cognizant of the tough road ahead of us, however we remain optimistic of the revival of our economy and the time taken for recovery would depend on how successful we are as a nation in managing the crisis. At HNB, we will continue to drive transformational change in our systems, processes and people operating within the new normal, and play a meaningful role in the resurgence of Sri Lanka.”

The NPA ratio of the Bank increased to 6.51% compared to 5.91% as at end of December 2019 and 6.4% as at 30th June 2020. However, an exposure of Rs. 11.5 Bn to a State Owned Enterprise, which was classified as NPA in December 2019, was regularized in October 2020. Accordingly, after adjusting for this recovery, the NPA ratio for the Bank would have decreased to 5.06% from the NPA ratio of 6.51% reported for September 2020. The impairment charge for the period increased by 45.6% YoY over the nine-month period to Rs. 11.8Bn. Although the Bank’s policy is to account for impairment for foreign currency denominated government securities based on the ratings published by Fitch Ratings, the Bank recognized a provision of Rs 427 Mn during 3Q 2020, on account of the sovereign downgrade by Moody’s in September 2020, in addition to the provision made in 1Q 2020 due to the sovereign downgrade by Fitch Ratings.



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BOI launches long term residence visa programme for investors

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Investment Promotion Minister Dhammika Perera and BOI Director General Renuka M Weerakone with Hajar Alafifi Laadel, Chairperson and Managing Director, Unilever, Sri Lanka ltd

The Board of Investment (BOI) recently launched the five-year residence visa program dedicated to investors, stakeholders and BOI enterprises.Issuing long-term visas for investors has been the practice as per the international standards. On par with matching the international benchmark in respect of ease of doing business, the BOI has decided to launch this program to attract more investors to the country.

The long-term visa program, a long-felt need, primarily aims to facilitate the investors who wish to embark on a journey with the BOI.The BOI annually issues 7500-8000 visa recommendations for investors, employees and dependents.The BOI has granted visas for foreign nationals from 109 countries such as India, the United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Pakistan which represent the most applicants based on last year’s statistics.

Addressing the gathering, Investment Promotion Minister Dhammika Perera said “The happiness on the faces of those investors present at the occasion, implies that the newly launched visa residence scheme is a success,”

“Before the implementation of this program, they had to go through a long documentation process every year to get these visas,” he pointed out.

“Having understood the prime need to provide a seamless and convenient service for investors, we have launched the new program albeit I have not officially assumed duties as the Investment Promotion Minister,” Perera highlighted.

BOI Director General Renuka M Weerakone stated “It is certainly a pleasure to see all our long-standing investors on this special day of launching the long-term residence visa program for investors.

“You all have been the contributors towards 65% of export earnings to Sri Lanka and have stood by us even in times of difficult periods that our country faced, which we wish to acknowledge with great gratitude,” she underscored.

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Dialog Enterprise introduces Dialog SmartLife App for Three Sinha roller doors

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Manjula Ariyakumara, Managing Director of Three Sinha Group of Companies and Navin Pieris, Group Chief Officer - Dialog Enterprise of Dialog Axiata PLC

The Three Sinha Group, a leading roller door company in Sri Lanka, has teamed up with Dialog Enterprise, the corporate ICT solutions arm of Dialog Axiata PLC, to launch a smart roller door controlled via the Dialog SmartLife App. This app enables users to control and access roller door services conveniently from their smartphones. Customers who use Three Sinha roller doors simply need to download the Dialog SmartLife App on Apple App Store and Google Play Store on their smartphone to operate the roller doors from anywhere.

“This is another important step in that process, and we are pleased to partner Dialog Enterprise to provide customers with a future-fit solution. I invite our customers to become a part of this experience”, said Manjula Ariyakumara, the Managing Director of Three Sinha Group of Companies. “As expounded by our brand ethos ‘The Future.Today’, Dialog is continuously seeking avenues of incorporating communication technology into many service areas and product offerings. In line with this vision, we are delighted to partner Three Sinha, a leading Roller Door company in Sri Lanka”, stated Navin Pieris, Group Chief Officer – Dialog Enterprise of Dialog Axiata PLC

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People’s Bank commemorates its 61st anniversary

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People’s Bank, held a modest ceremony to on 1st July to commemorate their 61st anniversary at the bank’s Head Office in Colombo 02. Chairman of the People’s Bank Sujeewa Rajapakse and CEO/General Manager Ranjith Kodituwakku addressed the staff at this event.

In addition, Religious programs were organized by the Buddhist Association, Hindu Association, Muslim Majlis and the Christians Guild of the People’s Bank to invoke blessings on the country, the people, the customers and the pioneering leaders who have contributed to establish the People’s Bank.

Accordingly, a Pirith chanting was held at the Head Office which was followed by an alms giving at Sambodhi Viharaya in Fort with the patronage of Chief Incumbent Most Ven. Professor Iththademaliye Indhasara Thero. Hindu pooja was conducted by Sri Nivasa Kurukkal, Bambalapitiya, Islamic Service conducted by Deshabandu Al Haj Faisal Hassan mowlavi at Dawatagaha Jumma mosque in Colombo and the holy mass was conducted by Rev. Father Anton Rohitha at St. Philip Mary’s church in Pettah.People’s Bank Corporate and Executive Management, bank staffs and retired employees were also present at the occasion.

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