HNB strengthens commitment to Microfinance Sector, eyes growth of Agri Portfolio

Sri Lanka’s leading private sector bank, HNB PLC, further strengthened its commitment to the
microfinance sector, with a series of enhancements to its offerings, with a key focus on the
agricultural sector recognizing its vast-untapped potential as a driver of growth in the country.
HNB reinforced its extensive range of microfinance services with special programmes and strategies
for customers delivered through capacity building projects and additional banking programmes.
These new initiatives complement HNB’s long-standing ‘Gami Pubuduwa’ (village awakening) support
scheme for village-level entrepreneurs. In addition, efforts are being made to introduce technology-
based digital banking products across HNB’s extensive product portfolio for microfinance clients.
“We are confident that these new measures will support many of our microfinance clients, as they
seek funds and assistance to re-start operations and recover from the devastating economic impact
of the COVID-19 pandemic,” HNB Head of Micro Finance Vinodh Fernando said. “HNB remains
strongly committed to further enhancing our offering to the microfinance sector, and the
enthusiastic response from our customers indicate that we are very much on the right track.”
At present, approximately one-third of the bank’s microfinance portfolio is in agriculture with Gami
Pubuduwa entrepreneurs making up a significant portion of the customer base. HNB intends to
grow the share of agriculture within the portfolio by the end of 2021. This would provide an infusion
of low-cost capital to the pandemic-affected sector while also enabling agricultural entrepreneurs to
expand their operations and projects by obtaining microfinance lending products.
Notably, the addition of new services and facilities is an extension of those offered under one of the
bank’s most successful microfinance programmes, Gami Pubuduwa. The Bank has tailored the
scheme not only to ensure that it meets the social and economic needs of the country but also that
it continues as an economically sustainable project.
Beyond agriculture, other microfinance sector clients stand to benefit from HNB’s latest series of
enhancements to its microfinance offering. The bank recently introduced new products (such as
micro leasing to the Agri sector), enhanced the skills and increased the division’s staff, and
introduced client capacity building programmes.
In addition, the bank focused on technologically empowering microfinance customers by introducing
digital banking products (such as mobile and internet banking), promoting the importance of savings
via special programmes and focused on the infusion of more low-cost funding to microfinance and
particularly agriculture sectors.

More than 800 facilities have already been provided under the microfinance leasing facility launched
by HNB in March 2021, indicating a positive response from clients. The launch of this product
resulted from the bank’s leasing and microfinance divisions collaborating to provide clients with a
superior offering via greater synergy.
With 254 customer centres across the country, HNB is one of Sri Lanka’s largest, most
technologically innovative banks. It has 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 Head of Micro Finance Vinodh Fernando

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *