Sri Lanka’s private sector bank with the largest microfinance portfolio, HNB PLC, has disbursed Rs.
20 million in grants to 200 micro entrepreneurs and businesses across the country, providing them
much-needed support as they seek to rebuild their livelihoods from the devastation caused by
The timely intervention in support of HNB’s microfinance customers is part of the ‘HNB Oba
Venuwen Api’ initiative launched by the Bank to assist the country in recovering from the pandemic.
The Bank disbursed grants among 117 microfinance customers under the first phase of the initiative
last year. Under the second phase of the project, HNB supported 83 microfinance customers this
“Both the human and the economic cost of the pandemic has been enormous and the brunt of this
has been felt by small businesses and entrepreneurs,” HNB Managing Director and CEO and HNB
Sustainability Foundation Chairman, Jonathan Alles said. “As a bank with a long history and extensive
expertise in serving the SME sector, HNB is ready to partner in the progress of entrepreneurs in
their time of need.”
These grants provide up to Rs. 100,000 to each beneficiary, for the purposes of reviving and
continuing their business, re-affirming HNB’s enduring commitment to the Micro, Small and Medium
Enterprise (MSME) sector. The grants are drawn from a fund established by HNB’s Sustainability
Foundation and are provided in two phases to a selection of microfinance customers significantly
impacted by the pandemic.
The funds provided through the grants will be utilised primarily towards funding urgent working
capital requirements, which had been severely depleted due to disruptions resulting from the
The initiative is also one of several from HNB’s Sustainability Foundation aimed at delivering on the
Bank’s role as a leading corporate citizen. The Foundation also focuses on four strategic pillars:
education, healthcare, empowering entrepreneurship and the environment. With assistance from the
Bank’s Customer Centres across the island, the Foundation also undertakes location-based CSR
projects involving the community and staff.
HNB has been closely linked to the growth of Sri Lankan enterprises since its establishment and by
the 1980s, became the first private sector commercial bank to enter the MSME sector with the
specific purpose of fostering growth and wealth creation in Sri Lanka’s rural economy.
Utilizing its extensive network of ‘Gami Pubuduwa’ officers stationed across Sri Lanka, HNB has
successfully pioneered a vibrant model for microfinance that hinges on the cultivation of trusting and
long-lasting relationships with grassroots entrepreneurs. These extend beyond access to capital to
include vital advisory services and training programmes designed to enhance financial literacy,
strengthen enterprises, and facilitate export opportunities.
01. Head of Micro Finance, Vinodh Fernando handing over funds to Micro Finance customer,
M Nallavairan in the presence of (from left) Regional Business Head- North Western, Rajeev Perera,
Udappuwa Customer Centre Manager, Suranga Mihidukulasuriya and Relationship Officer – Micro
Finance Udappuwa Customer Center, Chaminda Kekulawela
02. Regional Business Head – North Central, Bandula Monnekulama handing over funds to
Micro Finance customer, A. N Fernando in the presence of (from left) Relationship Officer – Micro
Finance (Kuliyapitiya) Panduka Huruggamuwa and Head of Recovery- North Central Region, Asanga
03. Relationship Manager (Northern Region) – Micro Finance, S Senthuran handing over the
funds to micro finance customer Christian Jinsalton in the presence of (from left) Mullaitivu
Customer Center Manager, M Belamine, Customer Center Operational Manager, Ramesh and
Customer Center Relationship Manager, S. Vijithan
04. Ambalangoda Customer Center Manager, Sameera Gunathunga handing over funds to
Micro Finance Customer M. J Prassana in the presence of (from left) Relationship Officer,
Chathuranga Weliwita and Customer Center Operations Manager, Samantha Wijesinghe