In a bid to celebrate the achievements of unique and exceptional local entrepreneurs, HNB PLC announced the launch of ‘A Banker for every Sri Lankan’.
Launched across all of HNB’s social media handles, the campaign will showcase the achievements and journey of exceptional entrepreneurs across its substantial SME client base.
“As a sector that produces for more than half of all GDP and accounts for 45% of all employment, SMEs are the lifeblood of this nation’s economy. Given that HNB holds one of the largest portfolio of SME clients and has the longest running engagement among private sector banks in this space, we felt it was our responsibility to provide as much assistance as possible,” HNB DGM Retail and SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne stated.
“With this campaign, our intention is to create a virtual space to showcase the journey of some of Sri Lanka’s most successful enterprises, so that we can elevate their brand awareness and help these businesses to sustain their growth, while also holding them up as an inspiration to others with dreams of starting their own business. These are challenging times, but the SMEs that can find their feet in this moment could well be this nation’s next generation of blue chip corporates. And we will be with you every step of the way,” he also stated.
In 1989 HNB became the first private sector bank to establish dedicated products and services specifically catered to the SME sector under the banner of HNB ‘Gami Pubuduwa’.
While extending vital financial services to underserved communities across the island, the bank also sought to empower its SME clients with the knowledge and skills necessary to sustain their businesses over generations.
In addition to advisory services, the bank also offers further support for clients to capture business from local and export markets alike.
As a result, HNB continues to receive local and global accolades in recognition of its efforts to leverage its extensive financial resources and technological capabilities towards delivering sustainable financial solutions to critical segments of the economy.
In the wake of the COVID pandemic, HNB launched a Rs. 5 billion relief fund to provide SMEs with working capital support. The fund complemented the Saubagya COVID-19 Refinance Loan set up by the government to assist enterprises.
Applicants who were unable to secure government-funded loans were offered the option of securing a working capital loan from the HNB COVID relief fund at a concessionary interest rate.
In this manner, HNB utilised its own internally generated funds to support Government objectives of ensuring that as many viable SMEs are provided priority access to funding to support them through the disruptions caused by the pandemic.
Recently, the bank also announced a landmark agreement with Proparco, the private sector funding arm of the French development bank, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), to secure US$ 60 million in funding for SMEs.
Given the bank’s role as a proven leader in technological innovation, HNB was able to extend prompt support in the form of comprehensive digital banking services to guarantee uninterrupted service to the sector throughout the lockdown period. These include its low-cost Bluetooth enabled card payment devices, MOMO, and HNB SOLO – the pioneering QR-code based mobile payments app that provides users with the ability to safely and securely enter into contactless transactions.
Additionally, the bank fast-tracked development of services like Appi Go – a platform facilitating businesses with end-to-end e-commerce capabilities – enabling businesses to join a plug-and-play e-commerce revolution taking place across Sri Lanka.
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.
Over the recent past, the bank was ranked among the World Top 1,000 Banks list compiled by the prestigious UK-based Banker Magazine. HNB’s long-term national rating was revised upward by two notches to AA+ (lka) recently by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd.