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



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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HNB partners with Gammadda to develop Yaya 6 village in Anuradhapura



HNB PLC recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Capital Maharaja Group’s initiative Gammadda Sri Lanka, the country’s largest rural development movement to develop infrastructure facilities of the Yaya 6 village Mahawilachchiya, in the Anuradhapura District.

The project is powered by HNB’s exclusive private banking proposition, The Club HNB, with the goal of engaging members and in opportunities for focused, impactful philanthropy.

A special event was hosted at The Club HNB premises on Greenpath which was attended by special guests from Yaya 6, Gammadda News 1st team and exclusive invitees of The Club HNB, during which HNB Managing Director/ CEO Jonathan Alles and Capital Maharaja Group Director Chevaan Daniel inaugurated the partnership with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.

“Rural communities form the backbone of this nation, therefore, HNB is proud to partner with the Capital Maharaja Group to support their ambitious and vital work under the Gammadda initiative. We are also grateful to The Club HNB membership and our branch network for once again stepping forward and contributing generously towards the upliftment of rural communities across Sri Lanka,” Alles said.

Providing access to clean drinking water is the 1st step in the agenda and a RO plant will be installed under the first phase of the development project. This will not only save lives but also prevent Chronic Kidney Disease (CKDu) prevalent in the region.

A new fully furnished library and computer lab will be just two other infrastructural additions to the village school Saliyamala Vidyalaya Pemaduwa, in addition to new washrooms which are to be constructed for the students and staff members. The project also entails renovation and refurbishment of the main road, the village temple, cleaning of the agrarian tank and construction of a new community hall under the initiative.

“It has been amazing working with HNB to achieve our mutual goal of providing Yaya 6 with much-needed infrastructure facilities. This project would not have been possible if not for the HNB customers, who came forward with their generous contributions to help this village in need. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone of you who made this possible,” Capital Maharaja Group Director Chevaan Daniel said.

Notably, acclaimed Sri Lankan pianist and music director Soundarie David’s composition of ‘Stand up and be the change’, that was created to help raise funds and create awareness about the project was performed at the event by Soul Sounds with music provided by Ranga Dasanayake at the event.

Editor-in-chief and founder of ARTRA magazine Azara Jaleel, who was also present at the event, auctioned off a painting from the ARTRA Canvas collection to The Club HNB members in aid of the project.

“I am happy to be here today, where two great institutions have come together for this great cause. We are fortunate as customers to be able to contribute in any way possible, and we hope to join you in visiting Yaya 6 soon,” a valued Club customer,Mrs Niloo Jayatilleke said.

Those who wish to make a contribution to the initiative can make a payment via HNB SOLO, through a direct payment on the payment app or deposit funds to the account titled ‘We are the change’, account number: 005010173025.

With 252 customer centres across the country, HNB is one of Sri Lanka’s largest, most technologically innovative banks, having won local and global recognition for its efforts to drive forward a new paradigm in digital banking. Over the recent past, the bank was ranked among the World Top 1,000 Banks list compiled by the prestigious UK-based Banker Magazine. HNB has a national rating of AA- (lka) by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd.

HNB was also declared Best Sub-Custodian Bank in Sri Lanka at the Global Finance Awards 2020, in addition to winning the coveted Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka Award for the 11th time at the Asian Banker Awards 2020, in recognition of its sustainable growth and continuous improvements in processes, products and services amidst a challenging macroeconomic environment.

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The Finance Houses Association announces revision of Self-Regulation Code



The Finance Houses Association of Sri Lanka (FHA) the apex body of all Registered Finance companies has announced the introduction of its revised Self-Regulation Code which has been voluntarily practised by member companies over a long period of time, but has to be adapted to changing times.

The timely revisions to the Code were effected with a view to maintaining the highest standards on strategic and business operations in Sri Lanka’s Non-Banking Financial and Leasing Institutions (NBFI) sector.

The FHA collective of 39 Licensed Finance Companies (LFCs) is the driver of financial inclusion of Sri Lanka’s MSME sector which has a large footprint in the Bottom of the Pyramid segment of the country. The MSME sector is no less than the backbone of Sri Lankan economy involving over 70% of businesses in Sri Lanka, providing employment for 45% of the labor force and generating 52% of GDP.

Titled “Code of Conduct of Licensed Finance Companies Sri Lanka” the updated instrument was handed over to the Governor of Central Bank of Sri Lanka Prof. W. D. Lakshman and Bank’s officials by FHA Council members on March 18 at the Central Bank premises.

Niroshan Udage, chairman of FHA elaborated: “FHA’s time tested gentlemen’s agreement that was codified some time ago needed revisions and updates as per the requirements of today’s changing times. The overall objectives of updating the Code were to comply to all current regulatory and legal requirements while adhering to industry best practices. We take humble pride in the fact that the Code was not imposed on our sector by any authority but was self-introduced by all FHA members on their own will, which demonstrates the members’ strong commitment to sectoral integrity and their social responsibility.”

On March 18 members of FHA also handed over their Sustainability Mandate to the Governor of Central Bank Prof. W. D. Lakshman and top officials of the Bank. “The purpose of the Sustainability Mandate is to serve as the guideline for the LFCs to integrate sustainability principles holistically into their businesses, enabling sustainable value creation through their own financing approaches, in line with defined sustainability guidelines that would ultimately contribute towards national sustainability agenda and UN Sustainable Development Goals” said chairman Niroshan Udage.



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‘CSE to bounce back, provided Corona-19 is held in check’



By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

The CSE was, once again, somewhat sluggish yesterday on account of investor fears over a possible Covid-19 third wave, but the expectation in some sections that May corporate earnings will be exceptionally good had an uplifting impact on the market during the latter part of the day. The CSE could be expected to bounce back, top stock market analysts said.

” CSE will bounce back within the next few weeks if the Covid 19 new wave  does not impact  the global scenario, Head of Sales, Softlogic Stockbrokers (Pvt) Ltd. Eardley Kern  told ‘The Island Financial Review’.

He said that the upcoming quarterly corporate earnings will likely be among the best in recent times and this would enable the market to perform in a positive way.     

Windforce Ltd., the renewable energy firm, began trading above its price of Rs. 16 per share yesterday after raising Rs. 3.2 billion for wind power projects in Sri Lanka and Senegal. It contributed more than 28 percent to market turnover from its IPO, Kern said 

Windforce stocks fetched Rs. 17.90 initially  and rose to as much as Rs. 19.00 in intra-day trading, after being heavily oversubscribed, but settled at Rs. 18, which was an increase of Rs. 2.40 or 15 percent.

Amid those developments, both indices moved downwards. All Share Price Index declined by 105.53 points  and S and P SL20 went down by 47.08 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 2.61 billion with two crossings. Those crossings were reported in Windforce, which crossed 7.2 million shares to the tune of Rs. 131.6 million; its shares traded at Rs. 18.50 and Sampath Bank 400,000 shares crossed for Rs. 20.4 million; its shares fetching Rs. 51.

In the retail market, five main contributors to the turnover were, Windforce Rs. 738 million (40.3 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs. 281.5 million (44.6 million shares traded), Dipped Products Rs. 195 million (3.4 million shares traded), Piramal Glass Rs. 126.4 million (11 million shares traded) and Hayleys Rs. 113 million (1.5 million shares traded). During the day 139.3 million share volumes changed hands in 19927 transactions.  

  “The indices exhibited significant volatility during the early hours of trading and witnessed a continuous downwards movement during the whole session but Windforce gave some notable impetus to the market yesterday, analysts said.

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