Adding to its growing prestige, Sri Lanka’s most innovative bank, HNB PLC, was presented with a total of four awards at the internationally acclaimed Asiamoney Best Bank Awards 2019.
Organised with a view to showcasing excellence among leading banks in the Asia Pacific region, this year’s awards were presented following stringent evaluation of financial performance and strategic business models together with customer and competitor feedback.
This year, the continuing success of HNB in driving financial inclusion, socio-economic empowerment, and supporting entrepreneurial development helped push HNB ahead of the competition to be declared Best Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Bank and Best CSR Bank in Sri Lanka.
HNB Deputy General Manager – SME & Midmarket Jude Fernando stated that “There is a great deal that separates HNB’s approach to SME banking from our peers. As one of the first private sector banks to enter the field, HNB’s strategy focuses on delivering immediate and lasting value to SME customers while providing extensively personalized support over the long-term. In this manner we are able to guide SMEs as they grow, and become thriving members of Sri Lanka’s established corporate sector.”
Each year, HNB adds many new services that cater specifically to its clientele, and tweaks and improves a dozen more. HNB boasts 10 hubs for small enterprises dotted around the country, employing 39 dedicated relationship managers and serving 51,000 SMEs.
This type of holistic, value-focused approach is deeply ingrained into every aspect of HNB’s business model and also carries over to the bank’s CSR strategy which is squarely focused on creating partnerships that drive socio-economic progress.
Commenting on the bank’s unique approach to sustainability, HNB Chief Transformation Officer / CHRO, Chiranthi Cooray noted: “Social responsibility is at the very core of HNB’s corporate DNA and is an element that transcends from mere philanthropy to a holistic and cohesive component of the long-term corporate strategy, which in turn is reflective of strategic national priorities. We view sustainability as an enabler of national development, an avenue for wealth creation and as a means of inclusion. Moreover, it also provides us the opportunity to express the Bank’s commitment to a range of wider objectives including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals - particularly as they relate to the areas of education, health, inclusion and environment.”
“Social responsibility is at the very core of HNB’s corporate DNA and is an element that transcends from mere philanthropy to a holistic and cohesive component of the long-term corporate strategy, which in turn is reflective of strategic national priorities. We view sustainability as an enabler of national development, an avenue for wealth creation and as a means of inclusion. Moreover, it also provides us the opportunity to express the Bank’s commitment to a range of wider goals, in particular the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals especially in the areas of education, health, inclusion and environment.”
Such initiatives include the measuring of internal power consumption and carbon dioxide emissions generated by day-to-day operations. In the two years to the end of 2018, power consumption fell by 17% as HNB increased the number of branches powered by renewable energy from 52 to 69. Further efforts are raised to build enthusiasm for sustainable business and lifestyles, enabled by the HNB Green Pledge. Over the past year, this resulted in several notable initiatives including a single day when all HNB employees left their vehicles at home and walked, cycled, used public transport or electric vehicles in their morning commute in a bid to further minimize the bank’s carbon footprint.
HNB has joined up with the education ministry and the United Nations to create awareness among school children of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It also runs a host of other projects including biodiversity classes, a drive to make people aware of the importance of organ donation and financial literacy courses in schools in economically deprived areas.
Similarly, the bank’s award winning Trade Finance and Cash Management operations also continued to attract praise and acclaim at the Asiamoney Awards 2019.
“HNB offers some of the most advanced, streamlined and reliable Trade Finance services in Sri Lanka – from complete structuring of Trade Financing facilities, issuing of Letters of Credit and Negotiation of Export documents to issuing of Shipping Guarantees and the facilitation of Entrepôt trade business. While this is an extensive array, we always seek new ways to add value, and so HNB places an equal emphasis on advisory services, awareness building workshops and networking of clients locally and globally, as we believe in partnering with our customers to provide well-thought through Trade Financing solutions.” HNB Assistant General Manager, Trade and Financial Institutions, Janath Ilangantileke explained.
Rounding out HNB’s growing cluster of accolades at this year’s event was the bank’s Cash Management operations which was presented to HNB following an independent survey in which participants conclusively voted in favour of the bank.
“HNB has always been a pioneer in that we have always created partnerships built on value. Over the past year as well, we have continued to be innovative, becoming the first local bank to offer a Web-based, fully integrated Payments and Cash Management (PCM) platform in the form of HNB Online. Together with the expertise of a dedicated team that is comprised of the best talent in the domestic industry, we have successfully catered to the needs of a diverse array of corporates from multinationals, to large local conglomerates, mid-market enterprises, financial institutions as well as entities in the NBFI business,” HNB Deputy General Manager, Corporate Banking, Ruwan Manatunga explained.
Operating across 250 customer centres across the country, HNB stands as Sri Lanka’s leading bank, having been recognized by several renowned international and local institutions for excellence in diverse fields. Rated AA- (lka) by Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd, HNB remains the most profitable private sector banking and financial services group in Sri Lanka.