HNB to focus on SME sector | Sunday Observer

HNB to focus on SME sector

HNB officials at the investor forum   Pic: Chaminda Niroshana
HNB officials at the investor forum Pic: Chaminda Niroshana

The Hatton National Bank (HNB) will support government endeavours to develop the SME sector of the country and envisages the growth in the sector to continue and sustain with banking activities.

“As a financial institution, HNB will focus on the SME sector to fuel the growth as well as support the sector where its contribution is essential for the socio-economic development of the country. SMEs are considered to be a growth sector in the Bank’s portfolio and the Bank will concentrate on the challenges in the industry sectors of agriculture, tourism and construction in going forward,” HNB Managing Director Jonathan Alles said.

Stressing the importance of venturing into other areas of agriculture as well, he said that Sri Lanka is seen diversifying from paddy. It is necessary that the country gets away from paddy and looks in to other crops. What we like to see is that our farmers go in to other crops with the use of technology, he said, speaking at the investor forum held in Colombo last week.

The Bank is under going major process improvements and centralization of operations is taking place at present. The centralization has resulted in reducing back office staff and has enabled the Bank to release more staff to drive business.

“We believe that there is scope for growth. The Bank could achieve growth in the middle and top lines by introducing technology. The corporate sector has the opportunity for growth by involving in new projects. Overall the business environment is favourable for the banking sector to perform reasonably well,” he said.

Banking paradigms are changing. Banks need to be more flexible and adjusting to face the situation. The banking sector should introduce more digital products for the greater convenience of the customers. The emerging sectors of the economy will contribute more towards the Bank’s cash flows, Alles said.

With a strategy framework in place together with eight cross functional teams the Bank is poised for growth in the coming years as well.

The HNB recorded an impressive performance for the financial year ended 2017. It is considered that the Bank recorded the highest income and profit per branch in the banking sector for the last year.