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HNB posts Rs 5.5 bn 1H Group PAT



Bank PAT of Rs 4.5 bn

Total Deposits grow by Rs 55 bn

Supports over 80,000 COVID affected customers as a responsible   SIB

Maintains stability with CAR at 19% and LAR at 34%

HNB posted resilient financial results during the 1H 2020 amid the unprecedented disruptions of COVID-19 pandemic with Group PAT for 1H increasing by 6.8 % YoY to Rs 5.5 Bn while Bank level PAT declined by 7% YoY to Rs 4.5 Bn.

“Sri Lanka’s performance in managing the transmission of COVID-19 has been outstanding. The health impact has been largely contained and the economic impact of the pandemic will remain a challenge in the near term, given the depressed global conditions it has spawned. To address these economic challenges, the Government has taken bold steps to support the affected by relaxing Monetary Policy in an effective way to revive economic activity, and extending debt moratoriums to those affected – measures that may need further support from the Government given that the recovery will most likely be a protracted one across most sectors, both locally and globally. Consequently, the medium term economic recovery will be closely correlated with the pace at which the COVID 19 pandemic is managed globally.” HNB Chairman, Dinesh Weerakkody said.

As a consequence of the low interest rate regime, the prime lending rate (AWPLR) reduced by 130 bps from December 2019, compounded by low demand for credit. This in turn impacted 1H interest income which declined 8.8% YoY to Rs 53.8 Bn. Interest expenses also declined by 5.2% YoY to Rs 31.4 Bn leading to a drop in Net Interest Income (NII) by 13.3% YoY to Rs 22.4 Bn.

The restrictions on non-essential imports, overall decline in exports and marked drop in Card spends due to lifestyle changes resulting from the pandemic, drove Net Fee Income down by 22.2% YoY to Rs 3.5 Bn. However, a strong surge in demand for digital banking services enabled an increase in fees from digital channels.

Meanwhile, exchange rate movements during the year in tandem with a decline in swap volumes and premiums facilitated an exchange gain of Rs 1.5 Bn as opposed to a loss of Rs 577.2 Mn recorded during 1H 2019.

“With the outbreak of COVID-19, we had to move rapidly to reassess our priorities and restructure operations in alignment with the ‘new normal’. Accordingly, our key focus has been to support customers in need, while ensuring maximum health and safety measures for our Staff and Customers, as well as maintaining stability of the Bank and intensifying our pursuit of digital and technological transformation. As a responsible domestic systemically important bank (D-SIB) we have supported over 80,000 customers who were affected economically during the pandemic by way of moratoriums on loan repayments during the past few months. The Bank has also provided working capital financing under the CBSL relief schemes as well as through the Rs. 5Bn fund set up by HNB to assist affected SMEs.

During the lock-down period, we supported both customers as well as merchants to carry out transactions through our digital payment channels including SOLO, MoMo and IPG. We moved a further step forward by launching AppiGo in May 2020 to support businesses to rapidly set up their own e-commerce presence. Our breakthrough Payments App, HNB SOLO was enhanced with added features and this continues to be an ongoing process. In August, we also upgraded our core- banking system to the latest version of Finacle, enabling us to provide a far superior experience to our customers,” HNB MD/CEO Jonathan Alles said.



DFCC Bank facilitates the continued growth of Sri Lankan SMEs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic



The unprecedented surfacing of the COVID-19 pandemic has left a lasting scar on the global population and economy. With no precise warning on the horizon, businesses everywhere were thrown into the deep end, and survival seemed uncertain during the peak of the pandemic. In Sri Lanka, a nation where SMEs form the integral backbone of the economy, the ill effects have been taking a heavy toll on businesses both fiscally and mentally.

However, we as Sri Lankans are resilient at our core, and with the integral support of frontline workers, officials, and essential services such as our banking partners, we set forth on a journey to assess, adapt and survive. One such story about perseverance through a valuable relationship comes from K.S.K. Menan of Star Food Store (Pvt) Ltd, and his trusted banking partner, DFCC Bank.

Emerging from humble beginnings, Menan’s story is one that inspires patriotism, and reaffirms the importance of giving back to your motherland. As a self-made entrepreneur, Menan was successfully engaged with the departmental store industry in the United Kingdom, when one day, he decided to leave everything there and come back to his home, Sri Lanka. He was on a mission to give back to the country that had given him so much, and that led to the birth of ‘Star Food Store’ in Kokkuvil, a supermarket equipped with all the necessary household essentials. DFCC Bank had been by his side throughout the entire journey until the opening of his outlet, and even more when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

“When Imoved back to Sri Lanka in 2016, the very first account I opened was with DFCC Bank, and with their support, I was able to open the first‘Star Food Store’ in November 2019. However, when COVID-19 struck, everything came to halt. When restrictions were relaxed, I faced multiple problems with bringing things back to how they were. DFCC Bank stepped in and gave me overdraft facilities, helped clear my cheques, and provided additional funds at a low interest rate”.

Today, Menan has been able to open a second Star Food Store outlet at Achchuveli in August 2020, and a third at Idaikkadu in February 2021. He states that expansion is the last thing most businesses consider during this turbulent time, however, the X factor that has allowed him to do this is his banking partner.

“The confidence an entrepreneur gains with the right banking partner is immeasurable, and I have been able to find that with DFCC Bank. They have always gone out of the way to ensure my venture’s continuity, from sending someone from the branch immediately if there is an issue with the card machine during business hours, or even understanding that loose change is important for a supermarket and sending bags of coins from the Colombo branch for business use. I now have plans of constructing a state-of-the-art shopping complex in Jaffna, and look forward to working with DFCC on this project”.

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Covid-19 third wave fears dampen stock market



By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

The CSE witnessed a steep decline following worries over the possible outbreak of a  Covid 19 third wave in the country and the continuation of selling pressure for certain stocks in the market, stock market analysts said.

CSE investors worried over 52 new cases being detected in two retail stores at Pamunuwa and at a state bank in Colombo at the end of the April holidays. Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry warned of a possible surge in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks, market analysts said.

  Consequently, the All Share Price Index declined by 2.9 percent and S and P SL20 dropped by three percent. Major companies sought after by investors negatively contributed to both indices during the day. According to  market analysts,  these companies  were:  LOLC (27 negative points),  Expolanka (19 negative points), Vallibel One (12 negative points), Hayleys (11 negative points) and JKH (10 negative points).

All Share Price Index went down by 198.39 points and S and P SL20 down by 93.89 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 3.7 billion with a single crossing. The crossing was reported in Ceylon Cold Stores (CIS), which crossed 60000 shares to the tune of Rs. 35.4 million, its shares traded at Rs. 594. 

In the retail market, five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were: Browns Investments Rs. 717.6 million (114 million shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 480 million (9.8 million shares traded), Hayleys Rs. 392 million (five million shares traded), Dipped Products Rs. 389 million (6.9 million shares traded) and LOLC Rs. 193 million (587,000 shares traded). During the day 197 million share volumes changed hands in 31305 transactions.  

Sri Lanka rupee quoted firmer around 192/194 levels to the US dollar in the spot market on Tuesday, while bond yields slightly eased, dealers said. Sri Lanka rupee last closed at 194/198 levels to the US dollar in the spot market on Monday. The Central Banks Telegraph Transfer rates stand at 187.93/191.97 levels below the spot rates on Monday.

Sri Lanka’s rupee has come under pressure amid money printing and low-interest rates, despite the worst import controls since the 1970s, observers said.

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SAT launches F5 portfolio to deliver secure digital experiences



(At left) : Edgar Dias, Regional Vice President of Channels and Partnerships, Asia Pacific, F5. (At right) : Sanjaya Padmaperuma, CEO of SAT.

South Asian Technologies (Pvt) Ltd, announces its appointment to be a distributor for F5 within Sri Lanka and Maldives to deliver secure digital experience to enterprises.

The cutting-edge technology is a portal for delivering applications and data with greater agility, security, availability, performance, and scalability.

F5’s portfolio of automation, security, performance, and insight capabilities empowers customers to create, secure, and operate adaptive applications that reduce costs, improve operations, and better protect users.

“With the increasing necessity for digitalisation in the workspace, now more than ever, organisations need proven solutions to help secure their businesses. Adding F5 to our existing portfolio gives South Asian Technologies, a more omniscient opportunity to equip our partners and customers with best-in-class application security and delivery solutions. As F5 enables adaptive applications, the SAT team is ecstatic at the prospect of securing our clientele with robust security offerings that have a proven history with Fortune 500 companies across the globe,” said Sanjaya Padmaperuma, CEO of SAT.

Every company today is in the digital experience business. In the wake of COVID-19, customer expectations are higher than ever, as the experiences garnered are the primary way that people interact and transact with just about every organisation at present.

F5 helps organisations deliver and secure the premium digital facilities that customers demand by enabling adaptive applications which, like living organisms, will naturally adapt based on their environment – growing, shrinking, defending, and healing themselves.

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