HNB supports rural businesses: revives Gami Pubuduwa Pola to showcase successful MSMEs

Celebrating over three decades of service and support to grow microfinance customers across the
island, Sri Lanka’s leading private sector bank HNB PLC, revived its annual trade fair and exhibition
for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) The Gami Pubuduwa Pola 2023.
Organised by the bank to showcase up-and-coming businesses in its portfolio, the trade fair returns
after a two-year hiatus following the disruptions brought on by the pandemic and the economic
crisis. HNB MD/CEO Jonathan Alles, graced the event as the Chief Guest at the ceremonial opening
of the trade fair, accompanied by Guests of Honour, CBSL Director Regional Development
Department M. S. K Dharmawardena, Ministry of Finance, Project Director- SMELoC, Vasanthi
Wijerathna, together with HNB Executive Director/COO Dilshan Rodrigo, HNB Deputy General
Manager, Wholesale Banking Group Damith Pallewatte, HNB Head of Microfinance Vinodh
Fernando, as well as the Corporate and Senior management of the bank.
“I am thrilled to share the success of the recently concluded annual Gami Pubuduwa Pola 2023,
where we showcased the incredible achievements of our microfinance customers. Over the past 34
years, we have remained committed to supporting businesses at the grassroots through the many
challenges we have faced over the past two years. This event is a testament to our unwavering
dedication to their growth and development.
“The initiative is a platform for our microfinance customers to shine. It was truly inspiring to witness
the diverse range of businesses that have flourished with our support. From agriculture to
handicrafts, retail to services, our microfinance customers have displayed remarkable
entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, and hard work. We are grateful for their trust in us and are
committed to continuing our support, tailored to their unique needs. We believe that uplifting small
businesses at the grassroots is crucial to reviving the economy and creating sustainable growth,”
HNB MD/CEO Jonathan Alles said.
Drawing on its experience of more than three decades, the bank successfully supported over 473
microfinance customers to achieve SME status over the past two years.
HNB further supported microfinance customers to face the challenges brought on over the past
three years across different platforms, from offering grant funds and moratoriums while rescheduling
and restructuring loan facilities. Key among these initiatives is HNB’s flagship ‘Oba Venuwen Api’
grant fund project which has supported 400 microfinance customers rejuvenate their businesses with Rs. 40 million over the past two years. HNB further strengthened rural businesses by creating
and facilitating new marketplaces and organising workshops to improve financial literacy. Several
beneficiaries of the grant fund also showcased their products at the Gami Pubuduwa Pola.
Similarly, the bank was also selected as a partner financial institution by the Asian Development Bank
(ADB) to disburse a component of the USD 13.5million in funds allocated to the SME-Line of Credit
(SMELoC) Emergency Response Scheme. The initiative aims to support and strengthen Sri Lankan
MSMEs affected by the ongoing economic crisis with working capital credit facilities, with a special
emphasis on agriculture, tourism and export sectors.
“Our experience in the microfinance segment has given us a unique perspective and a strong
connection to the grassroots of Sri Lanka. We understand the challenges and opportunities faced by
our microfinance customers, and we have been offering customised financial solutions. The Gami
Pubuduwa Pola 2023 celebrated their resilience and perseverance, and we are proud to play a role in
their achievements,” said HNB Head of Microfinance Vinod Fernando.
With 256 customer centres, HNB is one of Sri Lanka’s largest, most technologically innovative
private banks. Consolidating its legacy in sustainability, good governance and corporate excellence,
HNB was crowned the Best Corporate Citizen for 2022 at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Best
Corporate Citizen Awards. The bank secured four additional accolades, including being among the
Top 10 Best Corporate Citizens and taking home the Governance category and Sustainability
Champion for the Finance sector titles.
Additionally, HNB was ranked among the World’s Top 1,000 Banks list compiled by the prestigious
UK-based Banker Magazine for the sixth consecutive year in 2022, in addition to being crowned the
Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka for the 13th occasion at the prestigious International Excellence in
Retail Financial Services Awards 2023 hosted by the Asian Banker Magazine.

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