SDB Bank celebrates 25 years of service


SDB Bank, one of the key players in Sri Lanka’s SME-banking landscape, has achieved the historic milestone of 25 years of service to Sri Lanka,while helping all Sri Lankans grow and adapt to a changing world. The Bank’s 25th Anniversary celebrations commenced with an official press conference, which was held in grand style at ‘The Balmoral Ballroom’ at The Kingsbury, Colombo on 17 August 2022, where the keynote speakers, Chairperson of SDB Bank, Dinithi Ratnayake and Acting CEO of SDB Bank Niranjan Thangarajah addressed the gathering, recounting SDB Bank’s historic 25-year journey, and outlining the future vision and outlook of the Bank.

While the Bank remains fundamentally true to its founding principles to date, its ethos and purpose have grown and evolved over time. Today, SDB Bank has emerged as a futuristic, value-based, tech savvy and contemporary bank with a key strategic focus on the areas of SME Development, Women’s Empowerment and Digital Inclusion. Thus, while the Bank remains grounded by its founding principles, SDB Bank is now driven by its values, and a burning desire to empower all stakeholders, equitably.

The Bank’s rise as a leading facilitator of national economic development, and a trusted authority on small-scale entrepreneurial and personal finance growth, has garnered SDB Bank a strong reputation for continuous digital banking expansion, and as a preferred employer, all of which have contributed towardsthe Bank, receiving numerous accolades recently. These include atop 50 spot amongstSri Lanka’s 100 Most Valuable Brands 2020, as ranked by Brand Finance.

Listed on the Main Board of the Colombo Stock Exchange, with a Fitch Rating of BB + (Stable), and a growing island wide network,presently totalling 94 branches, SDB Bank’s ascendancy as a leading national bank can be attributed to its differentiated retail, business, and development banking models; multi-segment customer base across rural, SME and urban groups; digitalisation of banking infrastructure; and a differentiated employee value proposition.

These factors have led to the collective interest of the global investor community, allowing for strong, long-term investor partnerships with top local and international finance organisations and investors, including the Nederlandse Financierings Maatschappij Voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V (FMO), Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO), International Finance Corporation (IFC). Active support of this nature from top-tier organisations has helped to strengthen SDB Bank’s standing among facilitators of SME development in Sri Lanka; a critical sector accounting for upwards of 50 per cent of the country’s total GDP.

SDB Bank began its journey as a development bank in 1997 and founded on the principles of the Cooperative Movement, which seek to empower people at the grass-root level and transform rural societies through credit and savings, and development financing. Since then, the Bank’s sphere of influence and scope of operation have grown, along with its vision and commitment to empowering all Sri Lankans.

In 2007, the Bank celebrated its 10th anniversary, having expanded its branch network to over 25 locations across the Island. In 2012, listed as a publicly traded company on the Main Board of the Colombo Stock Exchange. SDB Bank successfully conducted its first rights issue of shares, which was heavily oversubscribed in 2014.

Embracing the digital banking revolution, 2019 saw SDB Bank speak to digital natives and the public at large through its acquisition of UPay, a next-gen digital banking platform, and the launch of SDB Mobile, the Bank’s very own mobile banking app. In 2020, SDB Bank made history by becoming the first in Sri Lanka to ever conduct a digital rights issue, reflecting the Bank’s gravitation towards digital banking and technology, with the rights issue being heavily oversubscribed. Last year, in 2021, SDB Bank received a tranche of USD 40 million in from the USD International Development Finance Corporation to pursue its goal of transforming Sri Lanka’s SME-banking landscape.

To commemorate the historic milestone of 25 years of service, SDB Bank has planned a number of activities. Most notably, in keeping with its commitment to sustainability, SDB Bank will inaugurate its 25th Anniversary Forest Restoration Project in Ududumbara, underscoring its commitment to environmental and social sustainability. This initiative, which will take place on 24August 2022, will see the planting of a large number ofnew tree saplings on the day, and will be an ongoing project, with over 25 hectares planned and demarcated for reforestation, supported by SDB Bank.

Today, the bank is strongly positioned, financially, and in terms of expertise, experience and other resources, to fuel economic development in Sri Lanka, with a keen focus on the SME sector. SDB Bank has joined hands with prestigious global financiers and organisations that share its vision for an empowered and equitable society. In the present environment, creating new economic opportunities for all Sri Lankans and supporting export-oriented businesses, along with businesses that create value for Sri Lanka, will be focus areas. Working together withlike-minded partners, SDB Bank ismoving to further its goal and vision to develop Sri Lanka’s SME sector.

A future-ready bank, providing holistic, 360-degree support to its customers, SDB Bank is constantly catering to ever-changing needs, through a combination of financial support and value additions to life and business through mentorship and knowledge-sharing focusing on areas such value chain enhancements and financial management. SDB Bank is also committed to a sustainable business model in terms of environmental, social and governance sustainability. This commitment is reflected in the Bank’s financing activities, giving preference to businesses and initiatives that take a sustainable approach, over those that do not. SDB Bank has established itself as a financier that values every customer equally, and supports the development of individuals and SMEs with a special focus on women empowerment and digital inclusion.