Sri Lanka’s leading private sector bank, HNB PLC, continued to showcase its market leadership in International Trade Services after being declared as the ‘Best Service in Trade Finance’ for the 3rd consecutive year by the Euromoney and Asiamoney Magazines and also as the ‘Market Leader (Asian Banks) – Sri Lanka’ for the 3rd consecutive year by the Asiamoney Magazine.
Rounding out the bank’s outstanding performance at this year’s awards, HNB was also declared ‘Market Leader in Trade Finance’ for 2019 and 2020 by Euromoney Magazine, demonstrating its unmatched superiority in consistent service excellence.
“Especially at a time of historic uncertainty that we witnessed over the past 2 years, our team was able to deliver best-in-class trade finance services to clients, which in turn provided critical support to the national economy. Particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic, these services became absolutely essential.
“We therefore express our gratitude to the entire Trade Finance team for the remarkable commitment they have continuously displayed in successfully navigating this unprecedented complexity to drive value-creating partnerships,” HNB Managing Director and CEO, Jonathan Alles stated.
Euromoney Magazine is widely recognized by the world’s leading corporates, bankers, brokers, investors, regulators and policy makers as being among the most prestigious and globally influential financial publications, and serves as a leading authority on finance, banking, investment, and treasury.
The Euromoney Trade Finance Survey recognizes the leading providers of trade finance products and services on a global, regional and country level based on an annual survey of over 25,000 corporates, cash managers, treasurers and finance officers worldwide.
The survey is designed to give participants valuable information on the global trade finance market and the opportunity to rank trade finance providers across a selection of categories and an overall global ranking of providers as rated by their clients.
These awards are a testimony to HNB’s resilience and robust solutions to its valued clients which are complemented by a dedicated team of Relationship Managers, qualified trade practitioners and frontline staff who understands customer requirements.
Certified as ISO 9001 2015, HNB Trade is a one-stop-shop trade services provider with a fully-fledged International Trade Services arm under the bank’s Wholesale Banking Group (WBG) vertical.
HNB adopts a unique model to service its clients through a three pronged approach where customer facing, centralized assessment of credit/compliance and centralized processing are seamlessly integrated to provide an unparalleled customer experience. The bank’s extensive island-wide brick and mortar branch network serves as the first point of contact for trade customers. These operations are supplemented by a multitude of alternate channels such as online trade, internet banking and secure communication providing both customer convenience and expeditious transaction processing.
In order to provide the utmost in convenience to customers seeking to complete import or export documentation within the shortest possible time-frame, HNB’s Centralized International Trade Services Department is located at Janadhipathi Mawatha in close proximity to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the Import and Export Control Department, Sri Lanka Customs, Shipping and Logistics providers and other regulatory and statutory authorities.
A key ingredient in HNB’s advanced capabilities is its team of highly experienced and qualified professionals that drive its International Trade Services department. HNB has the largest pool of Certified Documentary Credit Specialists among banks in Sri Lanka. These highly skilled individuals combine innovative technology with unmatched technical expertise in order to provide simple, user-friendly solutions even for complex transactions, risk mitigation and trade finance, encapsulating the end-to-end process of a trade transaction, leading to greater confidence amongst the bank’s Trade customers.
The segregation of customers under Corporate Banking, Emerging Corporates, Small and Medium Enterprises and Retail Banking enables customized services to each of these segments according to their unique needs.
“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 to our customers’ entire supply chain.
Our uniqueness further extends to our ability to provide solutions through our deep insights to customer requirements. This is underpinned by our reputation among leading global banks who collaborate with us to provide tailored solutions to all stakeholders in the value chain. Our 900+ correspondent banking network that includes all top tier banks in the world gives us the dynamism to be a true partner in progress in all our customers’ international trade requirements,” HNB Deputy General Manager – Wholesale Banking Group, Damith Pallewatte stated.
He noted that these capabilities have resulted in HNB being consistently selected as the preferred bank for guarantee re-issuances by foreign counterpart banks when their customers carry out projects in Sri Lanka.
Similarly, Sri Lankan conglomerates who carry out overseas projects choose HNB as the preferred guarantee issuance bank, further reinforcing HNB’s position as the leading provider of Trade services of highest standard.
Among the bank’s more recent milestone projects was Sri Lanka’s first Waste-to-Energy power plant which was recently commissioned at Kerawalapitiya for which HNB served as the lead bank of the syndicate arrangement.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the declaration of banking as an essential service, HNB immediately resumed services at all trade counters under stringent new health guidelines. As a result, the bank was able to ensure that clients were still able to clear consignments of essential cargo, pharmaceuticals and perishables.
During this period the Bank also partnered with the Export Development Board and other external parties to conduct customer awareness programs by educating exporters on industry best practices, risk mitigation methods, and financial solutions.
“We look to the future with a great deal of optimism as trade is poised to grow post the pandemic. The downgrading of the country’s sovereign rating has had many ramifications to the banking industry especially international trade transactions and its ripple effects are felt by almost all industries in Sri Lanka.
“However, HNB remains fully geared to capitalize on post pandemic opportunities through its transformative approach that focuses on four critical elements; people, technology, processes and data. The pandemic has fast tracked and forced technology adoption at all levels, and HNB having foreseen the importance of digitalization started investing in technology years ahead of competition. This is why we are able to thrive on digital channels,” HNB Head of Trade & Financial Institutions, Rozanne De Almeida stated.
Moving forward in its strategic expansions HNB will also be establishing dedicated “Trade Desks” at selected strategic locations considering the need to support economic growth and opportunities post the pandemic. These strategic desks will be established to provide customer convenience, especially to those who are located at Special Economic Zones.