Sri Lanka’s largest retail bank, HNB PLC, achieved another important milestone in its transformation journey, after once again securing its ranking in the prestigious UK based- The Banker Magazine’s Top 1,000 World Banks for the fifth year in a row.
The magazine is the world’s premier banking and finance resource, providing global financial intelligence since 1926. The Banker’s Top 1000 World Banks ranking has set industry benchmarks since 1970, providing comprehensive intelligence about the health and wealth of the banking sector.
Over the past year, global and local economic networks have been challenged with unprecedented intensity. In an environment of crisis and constrained economic activity, the impetus for strategic responses that support customers while leveraging technology to deliver banking products and services in new, innovative and – above all – efficient – ways has grown even greater.
“We are proud to state that HNB demonstrated leadership, strength and stability in each of these areas. This sustainable performance helped us to once again earn our place among the Top 1,000 world banks for the fifth consecutive year. This achievement stands as further validation of our team’s resilience and unwavering commitment to excellence,” HNB Managing Director/ CEO Jonathan Alles said.
Notwithstanding the challenging macro conditions, the bank continued to progress on its ambitious transformation journey. HNB’s pivot to digitally-enabled products and services continued to gather momentum, as the bank provided customers with convenient, comprehensive and secured options to transact remotely.
HNB experienced unprecedented growth, especially in the digital payment sector, as Sri Lankans switched to digital banking channels. Compared with 2020, the volume of transactions on digital channels grew by a remarkable 158% Year-on-Year (YoY) in 2021, while the value of digital transactions increased by a corresponding 153% YoY.
Notably, during the past year, the bank also supported the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) to promote the ‘Rata Purama LANKA QR’ campaign across various locations to raise awareness and encourage the public towards cashless payments.
Having already linked LANKA QR to its digital payment app HNB SOLO, the bank was among other financial institutions and telecommunication partners in joining efforts to make cashless QR-code based payments the standard for mobile phones and digital payments countrywide, in moving towards a cashless and digitally-savvy Sri Lanka.
Being a true partner in progress, HNB adopted a proactive approach in providing essential support to its network of retail, corporate and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) clients negatively impacted by the COVID pandemic. Moreover, to finance a grassroots revival of the Sri Lankan economy, the bank launched a COVID relief fund to provide working capital loans at a concessionary interest rate directly to the bank’s substantial portfolio of SME customers.
The accomplishment follows in the steps of HNB’s other notable accolades, including recognition 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 awarded the Leadership Achievement Award for having delivered the Best CEO response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With 252 customer centers across the country, HNB is one of Sri Lanka’s largest, most technologically innovative banks, having won local and global recognition for its efforts to drive forward a new paradigm in digital banking. HNB has a national rating of AA- (lka) by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd.
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill