Sri Lanka’s most innovative bank, HNB PLC, continued to receive enthusiastic international recognition for its pioneering efforts in promoting a new paradigm in tech-enabled banking in the island, having been crowned first among Sri Lankan banks in the prestigious Banker Magazine UK’s ranking of the Top 1000 World Banks for 2018.
Commenting on the landmark achievement of the bank, HNB Managing Director/CEO, Jonathan Alles commended the resounding efforts of his team of employees island-wide, for the unwavering commitment to HNB’s bold new vision for the Sri Lankan banking industry.
“To be ranked as first among Sri Lankan banks in the top 1000 banks globally by an institution as internationally respected as The Banker Magazine is a truly remarkable achievement and an unforgettable milestone and a testament to the remarkable transformation taking place at HNB.
“In that context, I wish to convey my heartfelt gratitude to our team of employees island-wide for their dedication and untiring efforts in elevating our service and value proposition, as we continue in our journey to partner growth with Sri Lankans from all walks of life,” he said.
HNB’s new ranking represents the most recent in a long series of local and international accolades received by the bank. Over the past year, HNB was recognized as the highest ranked bank in the country by both LMD and Business Today while being awarded as the Best Bank in Sri Lanka by the Banker magazine. HNB became the Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka for the 10th time at the Asian Banker Awards, in addition to sweeping the Asian Banker Transaction Banking Awards with three accolades for Best Cash Management Bank, Best Payment Bank, Best Foreign Exchange Bank.
Similarly, HNB also brought home the awards for Best SME Bank, Best Digital Bank, Best Cash Management Bank at the Asia Money Country Awards while also winning the coveted International Finance Magazine Award for Most Innovative Microfinance Bank in Sri Lanka. HNB’s Islamic Banking operation was recognized as the Best Shariah Compliant Window in Sri Lanka by the Banker Magazine.
The local and global international recognition that HNB continues to receive is often credited to the ambitious transformational journey undertaken by the bank from 2014 with the commencement of a series of bold initiatives aimed at realigning the bank and drastically upscaling its technological and service capabilities as part of a wider vision to lead a digital revolution in every facet of the Sri Lankan banking industry.
Over the recent past, HNB has released a flurry of product and service innovations designed to engage and delight customers, while supporting them to enhance their savings to pursue their ambitions.
Prominent among the bank’s most recent innovations was the launch of the HNB FIT Account – Asia’s first fitness-linked savings product. Similarly, HNB also launched multiple cutting-edge card-based solutions that allow for students to get familiar with the concept of cashless payments through products like HNB Wally-E and HNB Smart Pay, a specially designed NFC-enabled card for school students.
During the same year, the bank also launched its Centre of Aspiration - a new centralized unit within the bank dedicated solely to manage the bank’s debt collection operations. Situated at the bank’s Head Office in Colombo 10, the Centre of Aspiration will now be handling all collections operations that had previously been distributed across 252 branches island-wide.
The launch of the HNB Centre of Aspiration follows the opening of its Centre of Excellence, another dedicated facility set-up to centralize Credit Operational processes across the branch network, as part of a wider strategy to centralize its back-end processes. This has enabled strengthening the frontline staff efforts to engage in marketing, customer service and networking.
These back-end enhancements were further complemented by customer-facing initiatives aimed at rapidly refining the bank’s overall customer experience proposition with the launch of HNB Connect, a fully integrated omni-channel contact centre open every day for any customer inquiry into the bank’s vast range of products and services.
Powered by a dedicated team of 80 Customer Engagement Associates and Specialists, the HNB Connect team was empowered to offer speedy and effective resolutions accessible through its dedicated telephone hotline, as well as via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and HNB web-chat and email.
“Our digitally-led strategy that prioritizes digital innovation and service excellence continues to yield rich rewards for all stakeholders. This strength is ultimately reflected in our bottom-line with HNB’s emergence as the most profitable private sector banking group in Sri Lanka.
“In many ways, the paradigm shifting developments taking place at HNB today are going to be mirrored by continuous seismic changes in the Sri Lankan economy, and I believe that with the right leadership, and the correct approach and attitude, we can transform our nation, just as we continue to transform our bank and our industry in order to be a globally competitive economy,” Alles asserted.
The success of HNB’s transformative journey has been ultimately driven by its employees, and the bank continues to invest significantly in various talent and management development programmes, complemented by mentoring and coaching programmes focused on deepening employee engagement while honing performance as part of an overarching drive to provide an unmatched customer experience that sets the tone for a new paradigm in digitally enabled banking in Sri Lanka.
The success of HNB’s rapid digital evolution and strategic direction is borne out in its performance where the bank has out performed the industry in many fronts including profitability, efficiency, capital adequacy and asset quality. Over the course of 2017, the bank’s Profit After Tax rose by 16.4% Year-on-Year (YoY) to Rs. 16.5 billion while the group reported a Profit After Tax of Rs. 16.7 billion and an asset base of over Rs. 1 trillion.
Backed by an unblemished legacy of banking excellence that stretches back 130 years, HNB is Sri Lanka’s largest, most digitally innovative bank. Operating across 252 customer service centers island-wide, HNB maintains a thriving presence across retail, corporate, and SME sectors, including the country’s first and largest dedicated microfinance business managed by a private sector commercial bank.
HNB also stands as the first local Bank in Sri Lanka to receive an international rating on par with the sovereign from Moody’s Investor Services while maintaining a national long term rating of AA - (lka) from Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd.