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.
Sri Lanka Tourism commands attention at World Routes 2021
Sri Lanka made a huge splash at the 26th World Route Development Forum (World Routes 2021), which took place in Milan, Italy, recently. By making its presence felt at the forum, Sri Lanka pitched its destination for global airlines to consider it as one of the top holiday destinations for the upcoming winter season and beyond. Sri Lanka Tourism officials were able to directly engage with decision-makers from the global route development community, including world’s air services, while taking advantage of dedicated in-person and virtual event days combining extensive meeting opportunities, exclusive industry insight and first-class networking opportunities.
The Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism, Ms. Kimarli Fernando, expertly leveraged on the platform provided by World Routes 2021 to highlight Sri Lanka’s 5-year global campaign and growth potential. Her keynote presentation was followed by a panel discussion and a Q&A session with attendees in collaboration with Major General (Rtd.), G.A Chandrasiri , Chairman, Airport and Aviation Services. Through the duration of the Forum, Sri Lanka Tourism was present on all social media platforms for driving brand awareness, pushing Destination Sri Lanka to the front and centre of global travel and tourism operators present.
With the Sri Lankan Government declaring this a growth decade, Sri Lanka Tourism has been aligned to the government’s vision as enshrined in the 10 pillar strategy document. Over the last two years, Sri Lanka Tourism has advanced the industry across various factors to bring prosperity to all stakeholders and to ensure Sri Lanka tourism fulfills its potential. Concurrently, with a high vaccination rate, Sri Lanka has opened up to fully vaccinated tourists, offering them a safe and exciting stay.
One of the key pillars has been connectivity and the efforts made have been fruitful – with several European and regional airlines resuming direct flights, new routes being established and increased frequency of flights to Sri Lanka which will boost tourism for the upcoming peak season.
Apart from elaborating on the strategy, Kimarli Fernando engaged in an absorbing Q&A session with global airline industry stakeholders. During her keynote speech she elaborated on Sri Lanka’s biodiversity, UNESCO sites and other cultural and nature offerings. One of the highlights of her speech was tourist investment. Tourism has been attracting substantial investment despite the challenges emanating from the pandemic. Between March 2020 – June 2021, the Government of Sri Lanka has attracted over US$950 million in investments, received 64 project proposals and approved 38 projects to the value of $102.38 Million. These ventures will be executed under the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA). In order to attract strategic investors, the Investor Relations Unit was launched as a single point of contact for all tourism investments. In addition, the Government of Sri Lanka is extending a host of financial incentives and fast-track processes to get projects off the ground within the shortest possible time.
Given the recent tie-ups with France tourism operators and a similar push in more key western markets, the brand awareness of Sri Lanka is growing in strategic markets.
ComBank wins Daraz award for ‘Best Engaging Overall Cards Base’
The Commercial Bank of Ceylon was presented the award for ‘The Best Engaging Overall Cards Base’ at the recent ‘Payment Partner Performance Awards 2021’ of Daraz, South Asia’s premier online shopping marketplace.
The Bank was awarded this title for empowering the Daraz platform by generating the highest number of transactions by both credit and debit card bases and the highest number of unique buyers’ engagement during the financial year 2020-21. This is the second consecutive year that the Bank was honoured with this award.
The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has been an Internet Payment (IPG) service provider to Daraz from 2018, and has since partnered with the online retailer to power ‘Daraz 11.11,’ the world’s biggest online sale.
The two organisations are working together to offer diversified and unique offers to customers with a view of offering them attractive value additions, the Bank said. Commercial Bank cardholders can enjoy periodic discounts at Daraz with the offers structured by the Bank, and the convenience of Easy Payment Plans of up to 60 months.
Launched in 2012, the Daraz eCommerce site has an active presence in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Nepal. The marketplace has over 2.5 million products in diverse categories such as consumer electronics, household goods, beauty, fashion, sports equipment, and groceries. It was acquired by the Alibaba Group in 2018.
Commercial Bank Credit and Debit Cards offer year-round promotions covering a wide variety of services. Commercial Bank was the first bank to offer loyalty rewards for both Credit and Debit Card holders under its Max Loyalty Rewards Points scheme. The Bank was also a pioneer in extending promotional discount offers which were traditionally only offered for Credit Cards to its Debit Cards.
Commercial Bank cards are the fastest growing cards in Sri Lanka and enjoy market leadership in Credit and Debit Card cumulative point-of-sale usage. The Bank offers a variety of Credit Cards in the Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers of Visa, Mastercard and UnionPay Cards, as well as Visa Signature, World Mastercard, Visa Infinite, UnionPay Asia Prestige Platinum and UnionPay Asia Prestige Diamond Cards in the premium segment. The cards are equipped with ‘Tap ’n Go’ NFC technology and are backed by a strong NFC Point-of-Sale (POS) network.
Sri Lanka’s first 100% carbon neutral bank, the first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World and the only Sri Lankan bank to be so listed for 11 years consecutively, Commercial Bank operates a network of 268 branches and 931 automated machines in Sri Lanka. Commercial Bank is the largest lender to Sri Lanka’s SME sector and is a leader in digital innovation in the country’s Banking sector. The Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.
Banks’ Chief Internal Auditors’ Forum appoints new committee for 2021/22
The Chief Internal Auditors’ Forum of Banks appointed its 5th committee recently. The inaugural committee meeting was held on 17th November 2021 subsequent to the AGM held on 3rd November 2021. Charitha Jawawickrama of Sampath Bank was appointed as the President, Numair Cassim (Amana Bank) as Vice President and Nirosha Perera (Union Bank) as Secretary. Others in the committee include Varuna Koggalage (Seylan Bank), Dulan Abeyratne (HSBC), Dhanjaya Dayananda (SDB), Jayan Fernando (DFCC), Kushlaini Allis (NTB) and Gamini Jayaweera (NSB). The outgoing committee included Maduwantha Liyanage of BOC (Immediate Past President), John Premanath (Commercial Bank) and Chandima Samarasinghe (Cargills Bank).
The Forum was established to build strong relationships amongst the Licensed Commercial Banks and Licensed Specialized Banks in dealing with new developments and challenges pertinent to the industry. It also supports Internal Audit professionals to enhance comradeship and encourages participation of Banks to share knowledge and industry best practices. Since re-establishing in 2015, the forum has become an integral body that supports and assists Banks with regard to common audit related concerns in the industry.
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