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The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has been ranked as ‘Market Leader’ in Sri Lanka in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and SME Banking under the Euromoney Market Leaders 2022 Accreditation Programme launched by the prestigious publication this year.
Euromoney also accorded Commercial Bank a ‘Highly Regarded’ accreditation for its offerings in ‘Investment Banking’ and ‘Digital Solutions.’
The Bank’s success was recognised across these four categories at a national level at the inaugural accreditation programme that was introduced to compliment the existing Euromoney and Asiamoney awards by providing a comprehensive global ranking of banking and finance brands across several key segments.
“An accreditation programme of this nature is very welcome because it goes beyond the format of the evaluation for awards with a grading methodology,” Commercial Bank’s Managing Director and CEO Mr Sanath Manatunge said. “This allows multiple players to be graded in different aspects of performance, and motivates those with lower accreditations to strive to progress to the next level of recognition. We are delighted to be ranked Market Leader in both CSR and SME banking, two high priority areas for Commercial Bank.”
Commercial Bank received the ‘Market Leader’ranking in CSR for completing over 600 projects under the categories of education, healthcare, community, culture and heritage, and environment by the close of 2021. The Bank has donated 248 IT Labs to date, benefitting over 220,000 students, and has continued its support to initiatives in education with projects such as Digital Citizens, Smart Schools, Math Labs, STEM Classrooms, Coding Clubs and Vocational Training. The Bank also donated essential medical equipment for the treatment of COVID-19 patients to 25 state hospitals and contributed towards a number of community initiatives to solve problems of access to safe water and sanitation. It also embarked on the third phase of a Mangrove planting project around the Koggala Lake to prevent erosion, extended support towards the conservation of sea turtles and continued to promote environment management among clients by encouraging and funding green businesses.
Commercial Bank’s efforts to uplift the local SME segment with facilities such as its ‘Biz Loans’ and ‘Agri Gold Loans’ schemes, capacity building initiatives for SMEs, support to women entrepreneurs in the country, continuous deployments of the ‘Bank-on-Wheels’ operation and disbursement of COVID-19 support loans contributed towards its Market Leader ranking in ‘SME Banking.’ In 2021, the Bank’s SME loans portfolio grew by 10% in value to Rs 210.967 billion. The Ministry of Finance had declared Commercial Bank as the largest lender to Sri Lanka’s SME sector among all state-owned, private and specialised banks in the country in 2020, accounting for more than a fifth of all loans in terms of value and number. The Bank maintained this momentum in SME lending in 2021 too, during which it notably secured a US $50 million loan from the CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, to further facilitate lending to SMEs and support climate projects in Sri Lanka.
The Bank’s ‘Highly Regarded’ status in offering Digital Solutions in the country can be attributed to a series of innovative apps, facilities and systems launched to enhance the customers’ digital experiences. These include enhancements to the Bank’s integrated online banking platform, ComBank Digital, to enable payments to government institutions and group payments for ComBank Digital business users. In 2021, the number of customers using ComBank Digital increased by 55% compared to the previous year. Additionally, Commercial Bank became the first bank in the country to accept digital signatures, relaunched its corporate website in all three languages, and launched Viber and WhatsApp banking, among others.
The Bank’s key projects in investment banking included the arrangement of facilities to the value of Rs 10 billion for a leading listed company, structuring and arranging term financing to the value of Rs 2 billion for a customer in the healthcare industry, financing four ground-mounted solar projects and a mini hydro power project with capacities totaling 8MW which is expected to reduce GHG emissions by 9,730Co2e, and raising funds to the value of Rs 8.595 billion via a Commercial Bank debenture issue in 2021.
Commercial Bank was also crowned the ‘Best Bank in Sri Lanka’ for the seventh time by Euromoney at its Asia Awards for Excellence 2021 and was adjudged ‘Best Bank for SME Banking’ and ‘Best Bank for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)’at the 2022 Asiamoney Best Bank Awards.
The Euromoney Market Leaders programme is an independent assessment of the leading financial service providers across key banking categories in each market. These rankings are an extension of Euromoney’s world-renowned awards programmes to recognise a financial institution’s achievements and capabilities beyond a 12-month period. Assessments are based on awards submissions, industry interviews, in-house data, and proprietary research. In each category, Euromoney Market Leaders offers up to three ranking tiers: Market Leader (Tier-1), Highly Regarded (Tier-2), Notable (Tier-3).
Sri Lanka’s first 100% carbon neutral bank, the first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World and the only Sri Lankan bank to be so listed for 12 years consecutively, Commercial Bank operates a network of 268 branches and 940 automated machines in Sri Lanka. Commercial Bank is the largest lender to Sri Lanka’s SME sector and is a leader in digital innovation in the country’s Banking sector. The Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.
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