Best Managed Bank during COVID-19 in Sri Lanka: HNB recognised by ‘Asian Banker’
Hatton National Bank was recently recognized as the ‘Best Managed Bank During COVID-19 in Sri Lanka’ by the prestigious Asian Banker Magazine, while the Bank’s Managing Director and CEO Jonathan Alles, was received the Leadership Achievement Award for having delivered the Best CEO response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka.
“I am indebted to my staff for their sacrifices and tremendous dedication in ensuring smooth continuity of business at such a critical moment, when our customers needed us the most. Our strategy during this time was focused on providing essential support to those who were most severely impacted by the COVID crisis, while extending our assistance to all customers to rapidly transition into digital banking channels.
“We are proud to say that these efforts have been very successful. As a nation, we still have a tough road ahead, but we remain optimistic that if we continue to work together, we can overcome any challenge and support a grassroots recovery in key sectors of the national economy,” Alles stated.
HNB stepped in to provide essential relief to over 85,000 customers, covering approximately 40% of the bank's lending portfolio, through moratoriums and has thus far approved working capital financing of approximately Rs 24 billion under the Central Bank relief schemes. The Bank also setup a Rs 5 billion fund to support the SME customers who were not eligible under the CBSL schemes. This scheme was launched utilising the bank’s own funds.
Recently HNB launched a Rs 20 million fund to provide assistance by way of a grant to 200 microfinance customers. The grant will enable customers who have been affected by the on-going COVID pandemic to revive their businesses.
HNB’s strategic focus on being future ready and early adoption of digitalisation enabled the Bank to support the customers within the social distancing guidelines. The customers were offered the convenience of carrying out their routine transactions such as balance enquiry, bill payments, fund transfers, opening fixed deposits etc. from any location, through the e-banking platform, which is being revamped currently. The support required continued to be provided through the 24x7 Contact Centre.
Additionally, the bank’s digital payment options including MOMO – mobile POS, SOLO – QR based payment app and the internet payment gateway proved to be timely as it provided the businesses the ability to accept cash-less payments. Launching Appigo platform amid lockdown, the bank enabled the merchants to create a comprehensive and fully functional online store from scratch in a very short period of time. In order to facilitate transactions with vendors who were unable to accept card or online payments, HNB launched the doorstep mobile ATM service during lockdown. Despite the challenges brought about by COVID, the bank also pursued critical technology enhancement projects under the bank’s transformation roadmap. Accordingly, the bank’s Finacle core banking solution was upgraded to the most up-to-date version available in Sri Lanka.