National Development Bank PLC, the reigning winner of The Best Bank in Sri Lanka 2021 of Global Finance USA and The Bank of the Year 2020 of The Banker UK, achieved sustained results for the first quarter ended 31 March 2021, amidst challenging conditions.
Commenting on this performance, the Director/ Group Chief Executive Officer of NDB – Dimantha Seneviratne noted that the period was marked by two fundamental changes, one – the prospect of prolonged low interest rates, and the other – greater inclination towards digital engagements from our customers.
NDB strategized in response to these changes well, which ensured continued support to our customers as well as preserved returns to our shareholders. The NDB Group’s new strategic plan, which was launched in October 2020, has placed us on a steadfast growth trajectory amidst the turbulences.
“We carry good momentum to the second half of the year, which seems steeper in terms of challenges, with the outbreak of the third wave of the pandemic in Sri Lanka and worsening situations across Asia, which will have a cascading impact on the local economy. The Bank will fully deploy prudent and timely strategic initiatives in response to the pandemic, the development and impact of which is yet to be fully gauged”, he noted.
The Bank’s total operating income posted a growth of 23% to LKR 8.2 Bn, supported by enhanced net interest income (NII), fee income and other non-fund income bases. Although interest income dipped by 8% due to lower interest rates, this was more than offset by a larger dip in interest expenses of 20% leading to a NII growth of 18% to LKR 5.1 Bn. This also led to a broadly stabilized net interest margin of 3.29% compared to 3.07% of 2020. Driving NIMs was the CASA base of LKR 129 Bn in Q1 2021 growing impressively by 58% over Q1 2020 (quantum of growth – LKR 47 Bn), which also raised the CASA ratio from 20% to 26%. Fee and commission income recorded a healthy growth of 29% to LKR 1.3 Bn due to larger credit volumes across all segments and increased transactions routed through NDB NEOS digital platforms. Net gains and trading also posted a record increase of 116% over Q1 2020 to LKR 460 Mn, reflecting the forex income gained during the quarter.
Impairment charges for loans and other losses for Q1 2021 was LKR 2.2 Bn, an increase of 70% YoY. Provision charges increased in line with the growth in the loan book and provisions made at both collective and individual levels in response to elevated risks caused by the pandemic and other stresses. The regulatory gross non-performing loan [NPL] ratio for Q1 2021 was 5.40% (2020: 5.35%) reflecting the wider industry NPL behavior. The net NPL ratio for the quarter was 2.96% (2020:3.23%). The Bank is cognizant of further potential stresses on asset quality stemming from the third wave of the pandemic, and has strengthened its risk management framework to mitigate and manage the impact.
On total operating expenses, same was LKR 2.5 Bn for Q1 2021, a 4% increase over Q1 2020.
Within this, the Bank continued to manage a reduction in controllable expenses compared to Q1 2020 amidst considerable business growth and various initiatives carried out. The resultant cost to income ratio for the quarter was 30.9% – one of the best in the industry as well as amongst other corporates. This ratio has been on a significant improvement from a high of 49% in 2016, thanks to the increase in banking revenue in line with the Bank’s strategic plans, coupled with conscious and concerted cost management initiatives and productivity enhancement measures, which include digitization and automations.
Accordingly, operating profit before all taxes for the period was LKR 3.5 Bn, an increase of 19%. Total taxes for the period was LKR 1.1 Bn, comprising VAT on financial services and income tax, with income tax rate reducing to 24% from 28%. The resultant effective tax rate for Q1 2021 was 33%.
Post-tax profitability enhanced to LKR 2.3 Bn, with a solid growth of 34% whilst profit attributable to shareholders was LKR 2.4 Bn, up by an impressive 90%, complemented by improved performance of the NDB Group’s capital market cluster, making up the unique financial service powerhouse in Sri Lanka.
Hemas Hospitals launches ‘Deewara Diri Savi’ to support fishing community
The donation programme was coordinated with the support of the Rev. Fr. Ajith Kamal, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Palliyawatta, who spearheaded the coordination on behalf of the fishing community in the Palliyawatta, Dikowita and Awarakotuwa areas.
Hemas Hospitals launches the ‘Deewara Diri Savi’ mega donation drive to support and empower the fishing community along the Western Coast of the country, whose livelihoods were gravely impacted by the marine destruction caused by the X-Press Pearl ship disaster.
Under ‘Deewara Diri Savi’, Hemas Hospitals will oversee the donation of complete dry ration packs to 818 families in the Wattala fishing community, who have now lost their sole source of income for survival and is undergoing extreme distress due to the implications caused by COVID-19 pandemic together with the fishing ban imposed due to the X-Press Pearl disaster. Further, Hemas Hospitals Wattala is also offering free OPD consultation services to these families to ensure that their wellbeing and access to healthcare is secure and continued during this period.
“Our mission, values and corporate culture guide our actions as we strive hard to deliver on the promise of making healthful living happen to communities across the nation. ‘Deewara Diri Savi’ was founded upon this ethos as we care for, uplift and empower Sri Lanka’s fishing community struggling to make ends meet due to the mass implications and destruction caused to our marine resources with the X-Press Pearl disaster. As a responsible healthcare leader, we will continue to invest our resources and take swift action in supporting this community who add so much to our economy as they transition through this deeply difficult, critical time,” Hemas Hospitals and Laboratories Managing Director and President, Association of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Dr. Lakith Peiris stated.
Looming challenges contribute to subdued trading activity at CSE
By Hiran H.Senewiratne
Share trading activity at the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) was negative yesterday as investors were in a state of uncertainty due to the glaring economic woes of the country. The recent fuel price hike, the worries over possible deprivation of the European Union’s GSP Plus trade facility as well as declining foreign exchange reserves put the local and foreign investors in an indecisive mood, stock market analysts said.
The fuel price hike is likely to increase inflationary pressure especially in the manufacturing sector. This would adversely reflect on manufacturing sector counters in the stock market. Further the sovereign bond repayment amounting to US $ one billion in July 2021 with existing reserves just above US $ four billion could worsen the economic crisis to a great extent, stock market analysts said.
Reportedly the Central Bank has informed the Ministry of Finance that due to the Rs 600 billion in loans to the Petroleum Corporation there is risk to the entire banking system being destabilized and collapsing, In such a context, the banking sector counters did not perform positively yesterday, stock market analysts said. The CPC itself has about Rs 390 billion in accumulated losses.
Amid those developments both indices moved downwards. All Share Price Index was down by 28.02 points and S&P SL20 down by 11.43 points.Turnover stood at Rs 1.36 billion with a single crossing. The crossing took place in People’s Leasing, which crossed two million shares to the tune of Rs 26 million and its share price traded at Rs 13.
In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were LOLC Rs 156.8 million (406,000 shares traded), Royal Ceramic Rs 105 million Rs 105 million (2.78 million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 104.1 million (4.56 million shares traded), Hayleys Rs 76.1 million (one million shares traded) and Hayleys Fabrics Rs 51.6 million (2.85 million shares traded).
With the fuel price hike, Lanka IOC share price positively reflected in the stock market. Its share appreciated by 12 percent or Rs 2.40. Lanka-IOC share price started trading at Rs 20.60 and at the end of the day it moved up to Rs 23. During the 68.98 million share volumes changed hands in 18263 transactions.
Standard Chartered helps fast-track COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Sri Lanka
Standard Chartered Sri Lanka has successfully financed the import of 4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation by facilitating a trade loan to the Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank, the Bank announced recently.
In efforts to expedite the nation’s vaccination programme during the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Standard Chartered worked closely with the two leading state-owned banks to facilitate prompt and efficient trade financing solutions to help accelerate the invoice processing and payments to purchase the vaccines.
“Across the globe, Standard Chartered has been in the forefront to help local communities to fight the coronavirus pandemic so that the world can look forward to a better tomorrow. When the first wave hit Sri Lanka last year, Standard Chartered made a much-needed donation of USD500,000 to the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society to support emergency relief activities island-wide. This trade loan is a continuation of the Bank’s efforts to help the citizens of Sri Lanka overcome the pandemic and is a testament of Standard Chartered’s ‘here for good’ promise,” said Bingumal Thewarathanthri, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Sri Lanka.
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