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People’s Bank expands balance sheet by close to LKR 350.0 billion during 9M-21



People’s Bank announced the results for its nine months period ended September 30, 2021 reporting asset and deposit growth of LKR 349.7 billion and LKR 276.6 billion, respectively – a record high growing by 15.7% and 15.1% during the said period. Growth in net loans and investment in treasury securities was LKR 167.4 billion and LKR 191.4 billion, respectively.

On a standalone basis, the Bank accounted for close to 20.0% of the Banking sector’s asset and net loan growth during the twenty one month period ended September 30, 2021; which is a feat self attesting to the contribution made by the Institution to the national cause and the Government. At September 30, 2021 – close to 50.0% of the Bank’s gross loans were to the State and other State Owned Enterprises.

During the said twenty one month period ended September 30, 2021 – the Bank introduced multiple loan schemes in view of supporting its customers. These included, amongst other, over LKR 60.0 billion in credit to support Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, over LKR 160.1 billion in home loans to over 9,000 customers, over LKR 6.0 billion to retired and disabled officers of armed forces and over LKR 560.0 million to artists of varying disciplines. In addition, Bank extended LKR 750.0 million to support the development of a Techno Park in Galle, over LKR 485.0 million to support women entrepreneurship and over LKR 260.0 million to University Students to purchase laptops.

Looking at some of the nine month 2021 highlights, net interest income rose by 38.9% whilst total operating income grew by close to 30.0%. Impairment charges rose by 10.7% Non personnel operating expenses were maintained at near LKR 11.6 billion without any increase. The Bank’s gross stage 3 loans as a function of total gross loans was close to 8.1% at September 30, 2021 whilst its gross non performing loans excluding SOEs was 6.1%. Total taxes and dividends to the Government during the said period was LKR 9.7 billion. The Bank’s Tier I and Total Capital Adequacy was 10.2% and 15.5%, respectively at end September 2021 compared with a minimum 8.5% and 12.5%.

Commenting on the results, the Chairman of People’s Bank – Mr. Sujeewa Rajapakse stated that: “We are pleased with the role and contribution of the Institution more so during a time of extraordinary challenge, change and need. We remain of service to the country in a time it needs us the most and are committed to the Government’s long term Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor initiatives. We measure our success not by a typical top or bottom line but by our contribution to safeguard the pandemic stricken economy and our role to assist in its revival. It also demonstrates our efficiency and productivity even during the most challenging circumstances thereby debunking any myth to the contrary. Above all said, with our job being far from over, we remain committed to continuing to play our part to help the country navigate through these unchartered waters”

The Chief Executive Officer/ General Manager of People’s Bank – Mr. Ranjith Kodituwakku stated that: “2021 is a year unlike any seen. The year to date period has put to test our continued commitment, our continued access, our digital capabilities, our customer centricity and our ultimate ability to rise to our national duty. Notwithstanding the many challenges, including those beyond our reasonable control as seen in recent past, our delivery remains testimony to our strength, resilience and collective capability. Fully aware of the many challenges which lie ahead, we look forward to the future with a great degree of hope and optimism”

People’s Bank is the country’s Premiere Licensed Commercial Bank with Sri Lanka’s largest banking foot print comprised of 741 branches and service centers island wide. With a history spanning 60 years, the Bank benefits from a staff strength of close to 8,000 serving more than 14.0 million customers and over 19.0 million account relationships – which is by far the largest for any Financial Services provider in country. Established under the People’s Bank Act No. 29 of 1961, the Bank carries a National Long-Term Rating of “AA – (lka/ Stable)”; by Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd.

With a view to bring the benefits of digitalization to the entire nation, People’s Bank embarked on a digital transformation journey back in 2015 by taking a pioneering role in digitization and customer engagement. Since then a host of diversified digital banking solutions have been launched that deliver enhanced convenience, speed and efficiency, and convenience to customers at every point in their interactions with the bank. People’s Bank is the first and only Bank in Sri Lanka to be accredited with the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification; the highest international accreditation for information protection, and security.

People’s Bank prides itself in being at the forefront of facilitating digital-financial services penetration into the rural hinterlands of the country and has recorded unmatched levels of success in supporting the nation’s evolution into a digital society.

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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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