The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has been declared the ‘Best SME Bank’ in Sri Lanka and the ‘Best Foreign Bank’ in Bangladesh in 2021 by the UK-based Global Business Outlook (GBO) magazine which recognizes and rewards excellence in businesses around the world, across industries.
This is the fourth occasion that Commercial Bank has been recognized with awards by Global Business Outlook magazine. In 2020 the Bank was adjudged the ‘Best Commercial Bank’ in Sri Lanka and the ‘Best Foreign Bank’ in Bangladesh by the magazine.
Global Business Outlook Awards are presented to private and public sector businesses of all sizes that make their mark in terms of performance, innovation and drive to create industry value. They honor companies that perform in exceptional terms, create great value and achieve business edge and market recognition.
The ‘Best SME Bank’ award was presented to the Commercial Bank for its efforts in recognizing the needs of the hour of small and medium enterprises in the country and for providing tailor-made products and services to cater to this segment.
Meanwhile, the ‘Best Foreign Bank’ award presented to Commercial Bank Bangladesh recognises growth achieved in new accounts, deposits and advances, services offered to corporate and personal banking customers, new products and the growth of the Bank’s Online Banking services in that market.
Despite stiff competition among international and large local banks, CBC Bangladesh has recorded a consistent growth in business especially by catering to multinationals and large local corporates by offering better services and commitment.
Commenting on these awards, Commercial Bank Managing Director, S. Renganathan said, “We are delighted to receive awards for both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It is particularly pleasing to be recognized for our support to SMEs, especially during these pandemic-linked economic conditions which are very tough to navigate. Commercial Bank has consistently proved that it is with them in good times as well as bad. We are also elated to once again be adjudged the best foreign bank in Bangladesh, which is a very competitive market”.
In terms of its commitment to the SME sector in Sri Lanka in 2020, Commercial Bank supported SMEs affected by the global pandemic with among others, the disbursement of a substantial amount in COVID-19 support loans by the close of the year under multiple relief schemes to provide working capital loans to affected businesses. These included loans provided under the Central Bank mandated ‘Saubagya COVID-19 Renaissance facility’ program as well as the Bank’s own support schemes.
The Bank completed its SME Banking Transformation operation in 2020 which included the launch of a Centralized Credit Processing Unit that paved the way for Commercial Bank to become the largest lender to the SME sector among private sector banks in 2020 via the ‘Saubagya’ scheme.
The Bank also launched ‘Arunella’ – a Financial Support Scheme that included 12 initiatives designed to assist and provide concessions to SMEs. This included a moratorium scheme, relief to non-performing borrowers, reduction of lending rates, concessions for Credit Card holders, concessions and fee waivers, and free digital services, to name a few. It also included two special loan schemes, one for SMEs affected by COVID-19 and the other the ‘Dirishakthi COVID-19 Support Loan’ scheme to assist micro enterprises disrupted by the pandemic.
Commercial Bank is one of the largest lenders to the SME sector in Sri Lanka. Apart from specialised savings accounts, loan products and personalised service offered to SME customers, the Bank has taken the initiative to launch an exclusive Credit Card for SMEs and also launched ComBank Biz Club, with the objective of providing SMEs with extensive networking opportunities, support beyond lending and a range of other benefits including special bank concessions and a personalised Biz Club Debit Card.
The club’s 4,000 plus members also receive economic updates and alerts on new business developments via email and SMS and free registration for Online Banking facilities.
Additionally, Biz Club members are entitled to free financial advisory services and invitations to exclusive business seminars which are beneficial to the development of their businesses.
Commercial Bank also continued with its ‘Bank on Wheels’ initiative to encourage banking habits in remote areas and to provide convenience to existing customers. It introduced a ‘Automated Field Cash Collection’ process to accept deposits and loan repayment proceeds in the Jaffna Peninsula.
Further, it conducted three Entrepreneur Skills Development programs in the North, East, and Southern provinces with the participation of over 300 customers and reached its SMEs, women entrepreneurs, and export clients via webinars.
Four other programmes were hosted sharing the Bank’s insights in to handling the pandemic and its effects and how the Bank could assist customers with COVID-19-specific challenges.