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The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has retained its long-established status as the highest-ranked bank in the ‘Business Today’ ranking of Sri Lanka’s best-performing companies in 2020-21 and is placed third in the overall ranking this year, which for the first time comprises of 40 entities.
This is the 13th consecutive year that the Bank has been ranked among the top five companies in the country by Business Today, which assigned Commercial Bank a total score of 33.05 on a scorecard that ranged from 7.35 for the 40th ranked company to 37.25 for the company placed first in this latest edition of the ranking, released in December 2021.
Commenting on Commercial Bank’s performance in 2020-21, Business Today noted that under the astute leadership of Mr S. Renganathan, the Bank’s Managing Director/Group CEO, the Bank scored the highest ever single-year growth in deposits, thereby increasing its total asset base. The magazine said the Bank had reported a profit after tax for the year of Rs 16 billion and recorded the highest-ever single-year deposit growth of Rs 212 billion to end the year with deposits of Rs 1.265 trillion which contributed to increasing its total asset base to Rs 1.736 trillion, a remarkable increase of 25.15%.
Business Today also commended Commercial Bank for supporting the engine of the national economy by prioritising support towards the SME and Micro enterprises sector, observing that the Bank emerged as the leading lender for COVID-19 relief amongst private sector banks and initiated two major loan programs for SMEs affected by the pandemic.
According to the Ministry of Finance’s Annual Report for 2020, Commercial Bank lent Rs 163.98 billion or 21.57% of the Rs 759.7 billion in loans provided to SMEs by 19 institutions, while the 58,584 loans provided by the Bank represented 23.82% of the total of 245,883 loans granted in the pandemic-impacted year.
“As a domestic systemically important bank, Commercial Bank has been a driving force in partnering and cooperating with national economic development efforts. In the COVID-19 pandemic recovery process, the Bank has played a significant role in leading private sector banks to grant working capital loans and provide concessions to affected sectors. The Bank has implemented programs under 11 different categories for affected industries and individuals as part of its Finance Support Scheme and extended these relief measures beyond the mandated debt moratorium,” Business Today reported.
The magazine also acknowledged the landmark accomplishment of Commercial Bank in securing a private placement of shares with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) worth U$ 50 million. “This investment is significant as it is the first foreign equity placement by the Bank and collectively makes the IFC Financial Institutions Growth Fund LP (FIG Fund) and the IFC Emerging Asia Fund LP (EA Fund) the largest shareholder of the Bank,” Business Today said, pointing out that this equity placement represents one of the most significant foreign investments into Sri Lanka since the onset of the pandemic.
The Business Today Top 40 2020-21 ranking recognises companies that have made their mark solely based on their contribution to the national cause and not so much on their bidding strength in the stock market. The listing celebrates these companies for being the most ardent champions of the country’s rise through an austere period. KPMG Sri Lanka assisted the Magazine in tabulating the data.
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 11 years consecutively, Commercial Bank operates a network of 268 branches and 931 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.