HNB Deputy General Manager SME Jude Fernando with the award in the presence of (from left) The Asian Banker Managing Editor Foo Boon Ping, Harsha Wickremasinghe (HNB), The Asian Banker Advisory Board Member and Awards Programme Chairman Philippe Palliart, Mahinda Seneviratne and Suminda Gunawardena (HNB), The Asian Banker Advisory Board Member and Awards Programme Vice Chairman Varun Sabhlok, The Asian Banker Advisory Board Member and Awards Programme Judge Richard Hantung, Neil Dahanayake and Nirosh Edirisinghe (HNB)
Continuing an unprecedented winning streak, Sri Lanka’s leading private sector commercial bank, HNB PLC was once again awarded the Best Retail Bank for the ninth year and Best Micro Finance Product of the Year in Sri Lanka for the first time at The Asian Banker’s International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards Programme 2017.
Taking place in conjunction with the region’s most prestigious retail banking event, the Excellence in Retail Financial Services Convention, the ceremony was held at Hotel Conrad, Tokyo on March 17, 2017.
The awards were presented to HNB in recognition of its outstanding efforts to leverage cutting-edge technology to drive drastic improvements in efficiency delivering unparalleled levels of service and customer convenience through digitization and a groundbreaking approach to microfinance by offering value chain financing for micro and agro-based industries.
“Over the last decade, HNB has consistently set new benchmarks for the Sri Lankan banking industry. Our latest award from the Asian Banker is emblematic of our organisation’s overarching commitment towards establishing a new paradigm in banking facilitated by technological innovation and excellence in service,” HNB Managing Director/CEO Jonathan Alles stated.
Restructuring of branch operations together with a stronger frontline presence enabled an improved emphasis on sales and service culture for HNB during the last couple of years, a strategic decision which supported substantial growth in retail assets, operating profits and turnover, leading to one of the bank’s best performances, when profits after tax in 2016 surpassed US $ 94 million (Rs.14.1 billion).
Meanwhile, HNB’s value chain financing product has supported maize growers from across the island to gain vital access to finance, supporting organic expansions of small-medium farming ventures. These ventures were further improved through the utilization of digital channels to reach local farmers and provide debit cards to many rural growers. The bank also used the Payfast payments platform, which offered a secure online payment processing solution.
In 2016, HNB introduced new features on its electronic banking platform to improve the user experience. The bank also introduced cash management and dealer financing options for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In addition, HNB set-up bulk deposit acceptance machines, enabled real-time fund transfers through automated teller machines and online banking and allowed customers to access their Internet banking accounts using their Facebook profiles to log in.
“HNB continues to be a true pioneer in the Sri Lankan retail banking sector and this is due in no small part to our unwavering commitment to achieving the best possible product and service standards in the country. Facilitated by digital innovations, HNB has made tremendous strides in terms of providing a highly refined, convenient customer experience.
“Our latest award represents the ninth time in which HNB has been recognized as the Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka and this continues to be a source of great pride and strength for the bank. Moving forward, we will continue to craft superior products and services in order to maintain and further consolidate our leading position in the domestic banking industry,” HNB Deputy General Manager Retail and SME Banking Thimal Perera said.
Approximately 200 senior bankers from award-winning banks in 25 countries in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa attended the Excellence in Retail Financial Services Convention, which recognises banks’ efforts in bringing superior products and services to their customers.
The awards programme, administered by The Asian Banker and refereed by prominent global bankers, consultants and academics, is the most prestigious of its kind. A stringent evaluation process across three months based on a balanced and transparent scorecard determines the winners of The Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and the positions of various retail banks in the region.
The Asian Banker is the region’s most authoritative provider of strategic business intelligence to the financial services community. The company is headquartered in Singapore, with offices in Manila, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Dubai, as well as representatives in London, New York and San Francisco. It has a business model that revolves around three core business lines: publications, research services and forums.