HNB PLC sealed its reputation as Sri Lanka’s undisputed leader in retail banking, having been crowned as the Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka for the 12th occasion at the prestigious International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards 2022 hosted by the Asian Banker Magazine.
Considered among the most rigorous, prestigious and transparent awards programmes for consumer financial services in the world, the awards are designed to showcase regional institutions that establish new benchmarks in stability, innovation, digital enablement and process re-engineering towards unleashing rapid, sustainable growth.
Commenting on the landmark achievement, HNB Managing Director/CEO, Jonathan Alles said: “HNB was founded on the principle that true partnerships built on integrity and service can only lead to progress. Over 134 years, we have carried this legacy forward with an equal sense of pride and responsibility to build upon the progress of generations. These values have led the bank to constantly transform its capabilities, and evolve with the times, in order to be of service to as many Sri Lankans as possible in good times and bad.
To be recognized for the 12th occasion as Sri Lanka’s Best Retail Bank, is of course an incredible validation of this legacy, and the dedicated efforts of our entire team. Looking ahead, we face unprecedented challenges but within these issues, are also the seeds of a better future. The entire HNB team remains steadfast in our commitment to serve the people of Sri Lanka as a true partner in progress.”
Retail banking is a flagship segment for HNB, which caters to the needs of over 2.5 million Sri Lankans island-wide. In addition to the bank’s extensive customer service network of 255 branches and 795 Self Service Machines, HNB has also been a pioneer in leveraging digital banking products, services and channels to provide customers with convenient, comprehensive and secured options to transact remotely.
Parallel to these efforts, the bank has been driving pioneering improvements in its customer service capabilities, which have been scaled up by the implementation of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to establish automated chat services. This enables customers to gain easy access to information about HNB’s extensive range of products and services, including extensive assistance and support on any issues they may run into.
Over the past year, the bank delivered another strong and stable performance despite significant challenges, as reflected in the bank’s strong growth in Current Account, Savings Account (CASA) deposits. Meanwhile, the bank added 3 new products to its retail banking portfolio including a Premier Current Account, Investment Plans for adults and children and a Teen + savings account with the linked debit card allowing teens to manage and track their finances.
The bank’s leadership status in tech-enabled banking has resulted in the launch of a series of breakthrough platforms like HNB SOLO – a frictionless, one-stop-shop for digital payments linked through bank accounts, credit, or debit cards that is rapidly gaining popularity – particularly in the context of a post-COVID landscape.
The app functions as a versatile e-wallet which provides the ability to make payments through scanning of Lanka QR codes, in addition to providing SOLO users with access to a range of exclusive deals, and gift coupons through merchants, as well as the option of paying utility bills directly through SOLO. New features have also been added to SOLO in recent months, including Peer-to-Peer (P2P) transfers, wallet features, and card-less ATM withdrawals.
Meanwhile, HNB’s Digital Banking app continues to gain ground, with more than 300,000 active users now on board, and the app itself being among the highest rated banking applications in Sri Lanka. HNB is also constantly refining the app’s robust capabilities including the most recent addition of a new feature for opening and closing of fixed deposits.
Moving forward, HNB is aiming to further consolidate its leadership in digital banking through the implementation of a multipurpose Digital Layer that allows the bank to launch Digital Banking products swiftly to the market. This has enabled the bank to work closely with Fintechs for rapid roll out of new tech-enabled products and services.
“With the commencement of our state-of-the-art back-end transformation, HNB is rapidly gearing up for the expansion of our service capabilities. This will also bolster the bank’s ability to support the revival and rejuvenation of the national economy, in turn empowering our customers to pursue their dreams. The investments we have committed towards technology, and building the expertise of our people, are laying the foundation for a drastically more reliable, responsive, remotely accessible banking experience that fulfills our promise to deliver seamless banking solutions to our customers wherever they are,” HNB DGM – Retail and SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne said.
HNB is among Sri Lanka’s most awarded banks, having been being ranked among the Banker Magazine’s Top 1,000 Global Banks for five consecutive years as well as being adjudged Best Retail and SME Bank at the International Finance Awards 2021, and as being ranked among Sri Lanka’s Most Admired Companies for the 4th consecutive year.
Most recently, the bank’s dedicated fitness related product, HNB FIT, was crowned the ‘Best IoT initiative’ at the Asian Digital Finance Forum and Awards. Hosted by the Asian FinTech Academy (AFTA), the forum recognised and awarded organisations and impactful individuals who drive innovation in the digital sphere.
The digitally-savvy bank further consolidated its position at the LankaPay Technnovation Awards 2022, where it bagged four top awards. HNB was awarded the prestigious Bank of the Year for Financial Inclusivity and Bank of the Year for Excellence in Customer Convenience titles, in addition to being presented with the Silver award for ‘Financial Institution of the Year for Best Digital Payment Strategy’ and Bronze for ‘Overall Award - Excellence in Interbank Digital Payments’ (Banking Institutions) this year.