HNB presents MSME post-COVID strategy to Asian Bankers Association

(From top left): Friedman Wang, CTBC Bank Co. Ltd. Executive Vice President; Oliver Hoffman, Erste Group Bank AG Managing Director and Head of Asia; Dr. Adrian Fenton, World Wide Fund Asia Sustainable Fund Vice President; Shirish Pathak, Fintelekt Advisory Services Managing Director; Jonathan Alles, HNB Managing Director/CEO; and Dilshan Rodrigo, HNB Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer at the virtual meeting.

Hatton National Bank’s post-COVID strategy to strengthen Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) was presented at the first Policy Advocacy Committee of the Asian Bankers Association (ABA) held on March 26, 2020.

“The last year has been especially challenging for us all, however, MSMEs were among those most significantly impacted by the challenging market conditions. As a bank with a rich history of working with MSME entrepreneurs, we continued to support our customers through this difficult period by organizing workshops, supporting supply chain linkages, encouraging digitalization and providing the necessary financial backing and technical tools to revive and restart their businesses,” said HNB Executive Director / Chief Operating Officer and Chairperson of the ABA Special Committee on Policy Advocacy, Dilshan Rodrigo.

“The lessons we have learnt in the past year are invaluable. By sharing our experiences with our peers in the region, we will be able to navigate future challenges successfully. As such, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all ABA members and representatives who shared their findings with the committee,” he also said.

Presenting the paper for HNB, Head of SME Banking, K. Indravasan, highlighted the bank’s contributions in connecting over 100,000 businesses with its customers to set the groundwork for a digital marketplace for service providers. The bank also launched a microfinance grant to support 200 small entrepreneurs to revive their business without increasing their financial commitments.

During the pandemic, HNB also supported businesses in adopting digital payment solutions such as MOMO and SOLO by rapidly onboarding customers in order to catalyze a vibrant cashless payment ecosystem and also launched new products such as HNB Appigo. Additionally, the bank overcame challenges in preparing frontline marketing and relationship managers to take on the additional role of mentor and guide.

Notably, HNB will present a separate paper focusing on its experiences in building an ecosystem amongst its customers to create new supply chains at the next meeting.

HNB Managing Director/CEO and ABA Chairman, Jonathan Alles presented the opening remarks whilst Erste Group Bank AG Managing Director and Head of Asia, Oliver Hoffman; World Wide Fund Asia Sustainable Fund Vice President, Dr. Adrian Fenton; CTBC Bank Co. Ltd. Executive Vice President, Financial Technology Development Center, Data Intelligence R&D Division Head, Friedman Wang; and Fintelekt Advisory Services Managing Director, Shirish Pathak participated in the meeting.

Representatives of ABA member banks presented their findings on a wide range of experiences from adapting to the new financial environment, opportunities and challenges of digital transformation, Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) to preparation for climate change.

The ABA aims to provide a forum for advancing the cause of the banking and finance industry in the region and promoting regional economic cooperation. The Committee on Policy Advocacy identifies critical issues for discussion, formulates policy positions and disseminates its results to national and international governments and organizations to contribute to policymaking and regulatory implementation.

The committee has done considerable work in several areas such as corporate governance, local currency bond market development, credit reporting systems and disaster preparedness.

With 252 customer centres 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 has a national rating of AA- (lka) by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd.

HNB was also declared Best Sub-Custodian Bank in Sri Lanka at the Global Finance Awards 2020, in addition to winning the coveted Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka for the 11th time at the Asian Banker Awards 2020, in recognition of its sustainable growth and continuous improvements in processes, products and services amidst a challenging macroeconomic environment.