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HNB SOLO links up with Lanka QR

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Sri Lanka’s most innovative bank, HNB PLC, announced that it had successfully linked its increasingly popular digital Payment App, SOLO, with the newly launched Lanka QR standard.

Working in unison with the entire Sri Lankan banking and financial industry, the launch of Lanka QR is set to accelerate the adoption of QR code payments across the entire country and lay the foundation for the rapid expansion of digital wallets and cashless payments in Sri Lanka.

“For several years now, HNB has been among those leading the charge on cashless payments in Sri Lanka, leveraging on the rising popularity of our digital wallet, HNB SOLO. With the launch of a common standard for all digital wallets, the Central Bank has cleared the way for merchants of all sizes to revolutionize payments across the nation.

“This is a remarkable achievement that will create unprecedented opportunity and convenience for SOLO users. We commend CBSL officials for enabling such a paradigm shifting evolution in the payments space, and stand fully geared to support this major paradigm shift in cashless payments in Sri Lanka,” HNB Deputy General Manager – Retail and SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne stated.

Lanka QR is a common Quick Response (QR) code standard adopted by financial institutions in Sri Lanka to facilitate fast, secure and low cost digital payments to any merchant, especially small and medium enterprises.

It enables customers to pay merchants directly from their bank accounts using a LANKAQR compliant mobile payment app. The payment is instantly credited to the merchant’s bank account. The LANKAQR printed sticker is provided free of charge to merchants to display at their place of business by the member institutions of LANKAQR.

To pay using LANKAQR, a customer has to scan the LANKAQR using mobile payment apps like HNB SOLO. Upon completion, merchants will receive an instant SMS notification, confirming the receipt of payment.

Coming at a time when the need for social distancing has become paramount in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the linking up of HNB SOLO to the common Lanka QR standard is expected to drive rapid adoption of QR-based payments broadly among merchants, and simultaneously expand the user base of HNB SOLO over the coming weeks and months.

Since its launch in 2019, SOLO has experienced rapid adoption, and the bank has continuously bolstered features, functionality while refining its user interface in order to make QR-based payments intuitive, easy-to-use and versatile. HNB has also provided extensive rewards to its growing user base through cashback offers. Users can also pay utility bills and mobile recharges in addition to a host of other exciting features.

 

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. The bank has continuously won prestigious accolades including being declared Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka for 2020 by the Asian Banker Magazine for the eleventh occasion in addition to being the highest ranked privately-owned commercial bank in Sri Lanka by the prestigious Banker Magazine Top 1000 global rankings 2020. Locally, HNB claimed seven awards at the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards 2019. The first Sri Lankan bank to obtain an international credit rating, HNB is rated on par with the sovereign by Moody’s Investors Service, and the national long term rating of the bank was revised upward by two notches to AA+ (lka) recently by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd.



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

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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

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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

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(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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