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Regulator notices JKH and Central Finance to reduce their NTB stakes

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The Monetary Board has noticed both John Keells Holdings and Central Finance that they should reduce their group holdings in the Nations Trust Bank to a maximum of 20% by the end of next year and 15% a year after.

This requirement is to conform with the law that individual and aggregate related party holdings in commercial banks be restricted to a maximum of 15% although time-bound extensions, some granted as long as 10 years ago, have been allowed.

At Hatton National Bank for example, Harry Jayawardena related parties including Stassen, Milford and Distilleries, have been restrained from exercising voting rights in excess of the 15% cap by the non-registration of shares they continue to own. This is regularly reported in the HNB Annual Report.

In Stock Exchange filings last week, both JKH and Central Finance said that the Director of Bank Supervision of the Central Bank had conveyed to them that in terms of a Monetary Board decision both the JKH and Central Finance Groups “have been granted further time to reduce their shareholdings in NTB to 15% each.”

JKH has been granted further time till Dec. 31, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2022 to reduce its shareholdings in NTB to 20% and 15% respectively. The previous requirement was to meet the 20% cap by the end of this year.

Central Finance too has been granted further time till Dec. 31, 2021, to come down to 15%, JKH’s Stock Exchange filing said.

JKH currently holds 29.52% of the voting shares of NTB and 51.76% of its non-voting shares. Factoring non-voting shares, it currently holds an economic interest of 32.5% of the bank, it disclosed.

Central Finance’s group holding of NTB voting shares is 19.74% and together with its non-voting shares it has an economic interest of 21.38% in the bank, the company disclosed.

Analysts said that the options before shareholders holding more than the permitted cap would be to sell down or seek further extensions of the time limits granted to acheive permissible levels.

There was no clear indication whether they will be permitted to continue holding their present stakes enjoying dividends and other shareholder rights except voting rights.

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HNB promotes cashless transactions; joins CBSL’s ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ campaign

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Chief Guest for the event Money and Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal, CBSL Deputy Governor and National Payments Council chairperson Yvette Fernando, and CBSL Payments and Settlements Director D. Kumaratunge with HNB Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo as he completes a transaction via HNB SOLO at a merchant stall

HNB PLC, partnered with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to promote the Colombo-leg of ‘Rata Purama LANKA QR’ campaign at Diyatha Uyana, to raise awareness and encourage the public towards cashless payments.

Having already linked LANKA QR to its digital payment app HNB SOLO, the bank was among other financial institutions and telecommunication partners in joining efforts to make cashless QR-code based payments the standard for mobile phones and digital payments countrywide, in moving towards a cashless and digitally-savvy Sri Lanka.

“We are entering a new era of financial technology, where almost all of our daily transactions will require no physical banknotes, but just a smartphone and internet connection with our bank account integrated to a digital payment app.

The Central Bank’s national directive for banks and financial institutions to adopt and integrate LANKA QR into their existing digital payment solutions has prompted an aggressive onboarding of merchants to the new payment solution across the country. With our extensive customer base, SOLO is no doubt a significant contributor to this innovative initiative,” HNB Deputy General Manager – Retail and SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne said.

The Colombo-leg of the ‘Rata Purama LANKA QR’ campaign raised awareness regarding SOLO’s many facilities, including zero human interaction, efficiency, and eliminated risks that influenced many vendors to come on board.

 

(HNB)

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Sri Lanka Insurance posts a staggering revenue of Rs. 55.2 billion during 2020

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Amidst the turbulent and challenging year Sri Lanka Insurance has closed year 2020 on a positive note recording phenomenal revenue growth with exceptional service innovations.

Sri Lanka Insurance the premier insurer to the nation recorded stellar performance in 2020 to record Rs. 55.2 billion revenue for the year, a marked improvement on the Rs.48.6 billion in the year 2019, a press release said.

It adds – In the year of 2020 Sri Lanka Insurance reported 30 % growth in life insurance premium increasing to Rs.19.2 billion whilst general insurance reported 7% growth in premium grew to Rs. 20.1 billion. The company achieved a combined Gross Written Premium (GWP) growth rate of 17 % during the year. General insurance contributed 51% towards the total GWP whilst Life Insurance contributed 49 %.

‘In continuing with its tradition of leadership, Sri Lanka Insurance in 2020 surpassed its own record to declare a sum of Rs.8.2 billion as bonus to policyholders. The cumulative life insurance bonus paid out during the past 10 years tops a massive Rs.54 billion making the SLIC bonus payout unmatchable.

‘As the national insurer we have witnessed yet another challenging year and the consequences brought out by pandemic outbreak urged us to conduct our business operations in a more empathetic manner. SLIC has always taken the lead to protect the nation and during this difficult time Sri Lanka Insurance launched many initiatives to sustain country’s health defenses while ensuring our customers receive uninterrupted insurance service.

‘As the pioneering insurance company in Sri Lanka we are in the forefront to inculcate the importance of insurance to the masses as a national responsibility on our shoulders. We will further strengthen internal capabilities to serve the nation through innovative and affordable insurance solutions which cater to all Sri Lankans under the ‘Insurance for All” concept. Even though the times are defining we will continue protecting our nation turning obstacles into opportunities.’ noted .Jagath Wellawatta, chairman of SLIC.

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Bank of Ceylon empowering nation with Lanka Q

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The Bank of Ceylon in its mission to assist the government initiative to empower Sri Lanka through digital technology is joining the customer awareness campaign of Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s Lanka QR digital platform.

Bank of Ceylon had its most recent major awareness programs in Borella and Maharagama along with the other branches in Colombo District in line with the Central Bank’s main program held in “Diyatha Uyana” with the participation of all Lanka QR certified banks on the same day.

Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has organized a series of awareness and promotion campaigns for popularizing Lanka QR with the participation of all Lanka QR certified financial institutions throughout the country with the aim of speeding up the customer adaptation process towards digital banking.

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