From left: NTB Chief Operating Officer Thilak Piyadigama, NTB CEO Renuka Fernando, NTB Chief Marketing Officer Shaan Wickremesinghe and NTB Chief Innovation Officer Dinesh Thomas
Pic by Damith Wickramasinghe
By Harshana Sellahewa
Nations Trust Bank PLC (NTB) recently launched Sri Lanka’s first innovation centre in the financial sector, named ‘Kaffeine Lab’ located at Gregory’s Road, with the first initiative being Sri Lanka’s first ever fintech hackathon organized in collaboration with the IT Faculty of the University of Moratuwa and the Sri Lanka Association for Artificial Intelligence (SLAAI).
Nations Trust Bank was established in July 1999, when it acquired the Colombo branch of Overseas Trust Bank Ltd. The over-subscription of the Initial Public Offering (IPO) was a significant highlight of NTB’s market entry. Today, the bank is headed by Chairman Krishan Balendra who was appointed to the Board of Nations Trust Bank in December, 2009.
Speaking on the launch of the Kaffeine Lab and the fintech hackathon, Nations Trust Bank CEO Renuka Fernando said: “The reason as to why we set up Kaffeine Lab, our innovation centre, is because we want to institutionalise innovation, change and disruption as one of our most important strategic erections. We have four objectives for our Kaffeine Lab. Firstly, they have to solve real problems of our customers. Not just incrementally bring a solution, but create unparalleled customer experiences that ‘wow’ the customer while creating a frictionless journey in managing all financial transactions. Secondly, within our own organisation, banks are very traditional in the way we do things, the way we handle clients- we want to disrupt ourselves, challenge the status core of what we believe. Thirdly, we want to institutionalise the culture of innovation within our organisation. Our people have to stop thinking banking, and start thinking the big picture- what can we give our customers? It must come from the grassroots level. There has to be disruptive thinking in every employee of our organisation. The last objective which is a very important one is about being the catalyst in the financial services sector, to bring different groups of people who have nothing to do with banking to one place, and open up our infrastructure for
them to create.”
The fintech hackathon, a first of its kind in Sri Lanka will be held at 10th November at the Kaffeine Lab. The event will see geeks and tech professionals from different backgrounds bring their ideas together to compete and create meaningful solutions. The focus of the event will be conceptualising real life problems in the financial services sector and coming up with solutions to them.
The Nations Trust fintech hackathon will see 10-15 teams competing for three significant cash prizes of Rs.250,000 (First place), Rs.150,000 (Second place) and Rs.75,000 (Third place), with attractive lending propositions of up to Rs. 1 million for the best team, to help them finance their ideas and build
NTB aims to help people and businesses achieve today’s goals and tomorrow’s aspirations, with a mission to work ‘Smart’ (Speed, More with less, Adaptable, Responsible, Tech-savvy) to be the most respected financial