Underpinning the power of remittances to drive development and in support of Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s (CBSL) efforts to optimize inward remittances to Sri Lanka, leading private sector bank HNB PLC, recognized and rewarded their top achieving customers, at a special ceremony at their premises.
The event featured CBSL Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal as Chief Guest, and CBSL Assistant Governor, Dharmasiri Kumarathunga, who together with HNB MD/CEO, Jonathan Alles and senior officers, handed cash prizes of LKR 100,000 to the awardees.
Speaking on the occasion, CBSL Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal said “We express our gratitude to every Sri Lankan working overseas who is able to send a portion of their hard-earned earnings back home. Remittances are not only a benefit for those who send and receive money, but also an immensely valuable benefit for our nation. In acknowledging these factors, we understood that it is important to offer as many privileges as we can for those who use official channels for their remittances.
These will include immediate measures from the CBSL such as offering Rs. 2 on every US dollar remitted, as well as additional tax benefits. Similarly, if they were to use these funds to start a business, additional concessions will also be provided. Every Sri Lankan who works overseas should be treated as a VIP. We are grateful for their service, and we hope that they will make maximum use of this opportunity. I also wish to thank HNB for immediately stepping forward to support our vital efforts to raise remittances, which are essential to Sri Lanka’s future development.”
Among other initiatives aimed at increasing remittance inflows, from US$ 7 billion to $ 9 billion, CBSL in collaboration with the banking sector, plans to introduce SL-Remit, a mobile app to enable migrant workers to send their earnings via a safe and secure, official channel.
At a national level, worker remittances have been on the decline in recent months with September inflows halving to US$ 353 million as compared with US$ 703 million a year ago. Remittances in the first nine months reduced by 9% YoY to US $ 4.5 billion from the corresponding period of last year.
“Migrant workers who opt to send their precious foreign currency through formal banking channels, will be treated to new privileges, at a national level as well as at bank level. Given HNB’s rich 40 year heritage in the remittance industry, we are ideally positioned to take the lead in streamlining inflows to Sri Lanka, while ensuring that the interests and well-being of migrant workers during their tenor as a migrant, and upon their return to the motherland,” HNB MD/CEO Jonathan Alles stated.
With over four decades of remittance experience, HNB has deployed officers in select locations as a regular point of contact to provide solutions and advice customers on their banking expectations.
HNB Remittance services offer customers convenience and security to transfer funds through the bank’s worldwide network of partners in every populated continent. HNB’s global network consists of more than 130 tie-ups with renowned exchange houses and banks across the world, where deposits could be made in 13 designated foreign currencies, along with LKR.
Notably, HNB recorded a significant 15% YoY increase in digital remittances in the first half of 2020 alone, following the introduction of cardless withdrawals for Lankan expatriates and the launch of the HNB RippleNet blockchain facility for enterprises, which helped ease the difficulties faced by customers. By the end of its last financial year, HNB had facilitated inward remittances in excess of LKR 203 billion inward remittances.
The bank provides several disbursement options for recipients to conveniently access foreign remittances. The bank facilitates cash pick-up over its branch counters spread across the island and encashment through ATMs using the ‘Card-less remittance withdrawal facility’ across 780+ ATMs. HNB also credits remittances to any other local bank account immediately. To ensure seamless delivery, the bank processes remittance transactions on a 24x7 basis throughout the year.
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.
CBSL Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal (fourth from right) with HNB MD/CEO, Jonathan Alles (fifth from left), CBSL Assistant Governor, Dharmasiri Kumarathunga (fourth from left) and HNB DGM- Retail and SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne (third from left) with the winners