Adjudged Sri Lanka’s ‘Best Bank for SMEs’ and ‘Best Bank for CSR’
The Commercial Bank of Ceylon (ComBank) has won the awards of ‘Best Bank for Small and Medium Enterprises’ and ‘Best Bank for Corporate Social Responsibility’ for the second year in a row from Asiamoney Magazine, the top-ranking publication and authority on banking and capital markets in Asia.
The award for ‘Best Bank for SMEs’ recognises Commercial Bank’s efforts in identifying the importance of small and medium enterprises to the economy of the country and the products and services put in place to empower this segment, while the ‘Best Bank for Corporate Social Responsibility’ award is a tribute to the Bank’s nationally-significant contributions via its CSR Trust, to the spheres of education, healthcare, environment and community development.
The Bank clinched the first award for its persistent efforts to support small and medium businesses (SMEs) affected by the pandemic in 2020, with among others, the disbursement of a substantial amount in COVID-19 support loans by the close of the year under multiple relief schemes to provide working capital loans to pandemic affected businesses, including loans provided under the Central Bank mandated programme as well as the Bank’s own support schemes.
The Bank launched ‘Arunella’ – a Financial Support Scheme that included 12 initiatives designed to assist and provide concessions to SMEs. This included a moratorium scheme, relief to non-performing borrowers, reduction of lending rates, concessions for Credit Card holders, concessions and fee waivers, and free digital services, to name a few. It also included two special loan schemes, one for SMEs affected by COVID-19 and the other the ‘Dirishakthi COVID-19 Support Loan’ scheme to assist micro enterprises disrupted by the pandemic.
Commercial Bank is one of the largest lenders to the SME sector in Sri Lanka. Apart from specilaised savings accounts, loan products and personalised service offered to SME customers, the Bank has taken the initiative to launch an exclusive Credit Card for SMEs and also launched ComBank Biz Club, with the objective of providing SMEs with extensive networking opportunities, support beyond lending and a range of other benefits including special bank concessions and a personalised Biz Club Debit Card. Members also receive economic updates and alerts on new business developments via email and SMS and free registration for Online Banking facilities. Additionally, Biz Club members are entitled to free financial advisory services and invitations to exclusive business seminars which are beneficial to the development of their businesses. Commercial Bank has also assisted over 9000 SME customers to date with financial literacy programmes.
The CSR award is a tribute to the Bank’s continued support to community projects, despite the pandemic. In 2020, Commercial Bank donated Rs 10 million to the National COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund and joined forces with the Sri Lankan Army’s ‘Thuru Mithuru’ project focused on driving Sri Lanka towards self-sufficiency in essential food. Persisting with its contribution towards IT education in Sri Lanka, the Bank donated its 200th fully-equipped IT laboratory and set up Coding Clubs in 50 schools and initiated a project to establish 100 STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) classrooms in 100 schools. Furthermore, in the year in review, the Bank funded projects to set up math labs in schools and to enhance vocational training opportunities for students that do not qualify for higher education. The Bank also pledged to reforest 100 hectares of land in the dry zone of Sri Lanka.
Commercial Bank contributes up to 1% of its post-tax profits every year towards its CSR Trust.
Established in 1989, Asiamoney is a financial publication of the Euromoney Institutional Investor Group. Asiamoney reports and offers analysis on the financial and investment markets for capital issuers, borrowers, institutional investors and senior corporate and government monetary decision makers with business interests in Asia Pacific.
The first Sri Lankan Bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World and the only Sri Lankan bank to be so listed for 10 years consecutively, Commercial Bank operates a network of 268 branches and 890 ATMs in Sri Lanka.
Commercial Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.