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Pan Asia Bank achieves a Post Tax Profit of Rs. 2 bn during first 9 months amid challenges – profit for the quarter soars by 89%



Net Interest Income – Rs. 6,669 Mn, up by 23% Net Fee and Commission Income – Rs. 1,256 Mn, up by 41% Other Operating Income – Rs. 274 Mn, up by 40% Operating Profits up by 42% to post Rs. 3,342 Mn Profit before Tax – Rs. 2,718 Mn, up by 46% despite increased prudential provisions.

Key Profitability Indicators are among the best in the industry

– Net Interest Margin improves from 4.41% to 4.81%

– Return on Assets (Pre-tax) improves from 1.70% to 1.96%

– Return on Equity (Post-tax) improves from 14.36% to 16.13%

Loans and Advances book reaches Rs. 143 Bn, up by 9%

Customer Deposits reach Rs. 149 Bn, up by 6%

Net Non-Performing Advances Ratio improves from 2.34% to 1.28%

Total Impairment Provision cover reaches 76.10% due to prudential provisioning

The Bank remains highly liquid and well capitalised – all Liquidity and Capital Ratios are well above the regulatory minimums

Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC reported an impressive performance for the 9 months period ended 30th September 2021 to report a Pre-Tax Profit of Rs. 2,718 Mn and a Post-Tax Profit of Rs. 2,008 Mn with growth rates of 46% and 61% respectively, while demonstrating the resilience amid challenging macro economic conditions. The Bank’s performance was characterised by strength and resilience despite the heightened uncertainty due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 impact on the Sri Lankan economy, the Bank’s Operating Profit before VAT on Financial Services reached Rs. 3,342 Mn with an increase of 42% reflecting the excellence in core banking performance and the success of cost containment measures evidenced by improvement in all key profitability matrices which now rank among the industry bests. This feat was achieved even after setting aside sizable provision buffers for the probable deterioration in credit quality due to COVID-19 pandemic. The Bank increased its provision buffers for loan losses during the 9 months period sensibly taking into consideration of increased risks and uncertainties due to COVID-19 pandemic through experience adjustments and management overlays. As a result, total impairment charge for the 9 months period ended 30th September 2021 increased by 17%.

The Bank’s Net Interest Income (NII) for the period witnessed an increase of 23% due to significant reduction in financial cost of funds at a rate faster than the drop in interest yields of interest earning assets although extension of debt moratoriums to sectors affected by the COVID 19 pandemic had an adverse impact on NII. Consequently, the Bank’s Net Interest Margin for the period improved to 4.81% from 4.41% reported 9 months ago.

In the meantime, the Bank’s Net Fee and Commission Income recorded a growth of 41% with the rebound in demand for credit due to revival of economic activities during the 9 months period amidst the low interest rate regime despite the adverse impact of lockdowns had and waiver of fees and charges mandated by the industry regulator. Meanwhile, the volatility in foreign exchange rates enabled the Bank to increase its Foreign Exchange Income substantially as reflected in Other Operating Income. On the other hand, the aforementioned currency volatility had a negative impact on the Bank’s Net Trading Income due to mark-to-market losses on forward foreign exchange contracts and currency swaps.

The Bank is committed to revenue maximisation and cost management despite sector vulnerabilities that prevailed since last year. The Bank’s Cost-to-Income Ratio improved from 45.66% to 42.19% within the 9 months period owing to the excellence in core banking performance which is reflected in the noteworthy overall growth in key revenue lines and various strategies and measures taken to contain the increase in overhead costs. The cost management culture embedded across the Bank assisted curtailing Other Operating Expenses by 8%. Meanwhile, increased allocations for staff performance bonuses, spending on development of human capital and staff welfare led to an increase in personnel costs during the reporting period compared to previous period despite the reduction in number of staff.

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ComBank partners with PayHere to offer Q+ users a unique eCommerce experience



Commercial Bank’s Group Chief Marketing Officer Mr Hasrath Munasinghe (2nd from right) and PayHere Founder/CEO, Mr Dhanika Perera (2nd from left) exchange the agreement in the presence of PayHere Head of Developments, Mr Karvin Mendis (extreme left) and the Bank’s Senior Manager – Card Centre Mr Seevali Wickramasinghe.

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has partnered with PayHere, Sri Lanka’s largest Aggregated Internet Payment Gateway Service, to offer users of its Q+ Payment App a unique, user-friendly and secure eCommerce experience.

Commercial Bank customers can now conveniently pay for their purchases via the Q+ app to over 3300 registered PayHere Online Payment Service enabled merchants. The Bank’s Credit, Debit and Prepaid Card holders who pay through Q+, the fastest-growing QR app in the country, will not be required to tap in their card details as this information is already stored on the app, the Bank said.

Payments to PayHere merchants via the Q+ Online Pay facility will enhance customer convenience as the transaction will only require the entering of users’ mobile numbers registered with the app. Disbursements via Q+ require authentication using a static PIN which ensures the safety and security of transactions, making the Q+ App more secure than a normal card as the customers’ sensitive data is not transmitted to merchant websites.

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TAMAP drives Stakeholder Forum for Good Agriculture Practice



Secretary of Agriculture Prof. Udith K Jayasinghe addressing the forum

The inaugural meeting of the GAP Stakeholder Forum was held with the support of the Technical Assistance to the Modernisation of Agriculture Programme (TAMAP) at the Department of Agriculture in Peradeniya on 17 November 2021. Prof. Udith K Jayasinghe, Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.

The Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) programme, introduced by the Department of Agriculture in 2016, was a promising step taken to minimise adverse impacts of agriculture on the ecosystem and human health while meeting steadily rising demand for food. Although the programme had an encouraging start, the overall conversion of farmers to implementing GAP remained low. Over the past six years, 1500 farmers registered as GAP producers out of the 1.8 million farmers in Sri Lanka. To align with the current policy of the Sri Lankan Government to improve ecological friendliness of farming, it is important to transform all production units towards GAP farms.

Studies showed that to achieve this goal, the GAP implementation strategies needed to be updated and infused into the mainstream agriculture, facilitating a quick transformation of the current approach towards a macro-level system. Therefore, the requirement for a rapid strategizing of such an approach followed by periodic review of GAP performance arose. This initiated the need for a stakeholder forum.

The key purpose of the forum is to provide a common platform for key stakeholders to meet in formulating a strategy to mainstream SL GAP, propose a way forward for implementation such recommendations, and to regularly review program performance and adopt remedial action to achieve GAP objectives.

Prof. Udith K Jayasinghe, Secretary Ministry of Agriculture who chaired the Forum in his opening statement commented, “GAP programme has emerged a solution to challenges faced by Sri Lankan agriculture today to improve safety of users and ensuring good environmental performance. Reinforced by facilitating legislation and approved national standards, GAP programme provides a strong foundation towards addressing above concerns.”.

Over forty participants were present at the forum, representing the various stakeholder groups comprising producers, distributers, SL GAP team, academics, and market players. Ms D. S. Ratnasinghe, Addl. Director (Agribusiness) and Dr W. M. W. Weerakoon, National Coordinator outlined the status of the GAP programme and the challenges faced.

The deliberations during the forum were broken down into five main areas: Technical, financial, institutional, and social problems faced by GAP stakeholders on maintaining production, supply, product quality, and consumer trust. Gaps in technology transfer and adoption, marketing and quality control measures and means for increased rate of adoption and GAP farm certification; Gaps in current GAP process and procedures, user friendliness and applicability; Future technological needs towards increasing production, productivity, product quality and ecosystem sustainability; and Policy needs for increased adoption of GAP to mainstream GAP into national agriculture agenda.

Prof. G. Pushpakumara, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya and Ms Jayantha Ilankoon, ADG (Dev) moderated the forum through group activity, outcome presentations and strategic discussions on the way forward.

Concluding the forum, Dr Nihal Atapattu, stated, “TAMAP, along with the European Union that provided the funding support is very pleased to have assisted to launch several interventions that would promote recognition of GAP as a premier means of strengthening Sri Lankan agriculture in sustainably meet requirements of the domestic and export markets. TAMAP expects that the Stakeholder Forum launched today will be a milestone event in advancing GAP to achieve its potential in Sri Lanka”.

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HNB’s commitment to expand e-commerce and digital payments wins Daraz award



Daraz Managing Director Rakhil Fernando (fourth from left) handing over the award to HNB Head of Cards – Gauthami Niranjan. Also present (from left): Daraz Partnerships Nimesh Dasanayake, Daraz Senior Manager – Prepayments Sandamina Rajapaksha, Daraz Head of Partnerships Dulika Jayamanne, HNB Cards Business Development Executive - Ashokan Harishanna, HNB Assistant Manager - Cards Business Development and Portfolio Management - Imanka Keshini Hikkaduwage and HNB Cards Business Development Executive – Roshan Chaminda Perera.

HNB has been recognized by Daraz for exceptional contribution to its growth, in an independent endorsement of Sri Lanka’s leading private bank’s commitment to expand e-commerce and digital payments throughout the country.

The award, for the ‘Card Base with Highest Overall Growth’, was presented to HNB at the ‘Daraz Payment Partner Performance Awards 2021’. HNB, which ranks among Daraz’s best banking partners, recorded the highest growth on total payment volume, buyer engagement and total transactions month-on-month, for both credit and debit cards for the year 2020-2021.

“This award is an important validation how the local economy – both businesses and consumers – are benefiting from HNB’s cohesive programme to drive greater adoption of e-commerce and digital payments,” HNB Head of Cards, Gauthami Niranjan said. “These efforts are particularly significant at present, given how digital and contactless payments can assist in reducing the spread of the pandemic and support the Bank’s and the country’s vision to transform Sri Lanka to a cashless economy.”

Currently, HNB Cardholders enjoy multiple offers on Daraz, Sri Lanka’s leading online marketplace, a wholly-owned subsidiary of global e-commerce giant, the Alibaba Group. These include zero-interest instalment plans up to 48 months with attractive discounts for HNB Credit and Debit Cards and 10% off site-wide on Daraz for all HNB Credit Cards on purchases made during Saturdays. In addition, HNB tied up with Daraz for its 11:11 and Black Friday sales, which provided HNB Cardholders access to a range of offers and massive discounts.

HNB has been a pioneer in Sri Lanka’s banking industry in the digital banking and digital payments space. These include the launch of digital wallet and payment app, HNB SOLO and introducing Asia’s first-ever fitness-linked savings product in the form of the HNB FIT Savings Account.

With 254 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. HNB has a national rating of AA- (lka) by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd. The bank was also ranked among the World Top 1,000 Banks list compiled by the prestigious UK-based Banker Magazine for five consecutive years. HNB was also declared Best Sub-Custodian Bank in Sri Lanka at the Global Finance Awards 2020.

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