Innovation drives Sri Lanka’s growth

As the island nation realigns its economy in the aftermath of the prolonged civil war, the banking and finance sector must innovate quickly to catch up for lost growth

August 23, 2011

Leading the way is Nations Trust Bank, Sri Lanka – the recipient of the World Finance award for Most Innovative Bank in Sri Lanka. In an age when banks and financial institutions are constantly placed under the microscope in terms of transparency, ethical behaviour and sound business planning, winning an award that judges all these aspects and more is a noteworthy milestone.

The culmination of the judging period for the award is preceded by intense valuations and assessments carried out by experts in capital markets, risk management, trading, technology and corporate governance issues across regional markets. The analytical process identifies business and branch leaders, individuals, teams and organisations that in the course of the year have made significant progress in their area, and whose achievements create new standards and new practices in the world of finance and business.

The evaluation process is based on transparency with shareholders and stakeholders; financial disclosures with regard to strength, size, soundness, profits, and performance; solution and optimisation of the bank’s products and services; and innovation, flexibility, leadership and geographical spread.

As the winner of this prestigious award, Nations Trust Bank believes that it has truly lived up to its vision of being the benchmark of innovation in the Sri Lankan banking and finance industry. Such innovation comes in many shapes and sizes. The bank prides itself on being the pioneer in the 365 day banking concept, as well as 24 hour contact centres and mini branches within supermarkets.

With Nations Trust Bank it isn’t just products but also services that are thoughtfully aimed at differentiating and enhancing the banking experience of customers, by consistently providing innovative and value added services.

Epitome of dedicated service
One such product is the ‘Bank at your Doorstep’ service. It allows Nations Trust Bank customers to simply call the bank hotline and request services such as cash withdrawal, cash transfer and delivery. Within an hour, a bank representative will arrive at the customer’s doorstep – be that at home, the office or even a restaurant – and personally take care of the request. Cash deliveries of up to LKR 100,000 (around $900) are undertaken in this manner.

This service epitomises and redefines the manner in which the bank serves its customers. Furthermore, specific departments such as IT, and products such as the American Express card, have won awards and recognition in their own right.

The employees at Nations Trust Bank play a vital role in securing this acclaim for the bank. All bank employees are continuously trained to ensure a consistently efficient and effective service that is both client oriented and customer friendly. In this aspect, front office personnel and other employees directly involved with customers receive additional special training. Back and middle-office staff are trained to ensure an unbroken chain of value addition is linked to the front office, in order to provide a wholesome service to the customer.

Having witnessed a 76 percent growth in post tax profit in the first quarter of 2011 over the same period in 2010, Nations Trust Bank is one of the fast expanding banks in Sri Lanka. Despite its relatively small size of 1,600 employees and 44 branches, the bank is focused on delivering a tangible, people-centred service to its customers – no matter where they are.

The fortune of peace
As a leading bank in Sri Lanka – and moreover as an innovative one – Nations Trust Bank realises the potential that the post- civil war peace dividend offers in lifting the economy. Furthermore, it is urging others in the banking industry to be committed to this journey of growth, within a regulated environment, at a brisk pace to catch up for lost time.

The post war macroeconomic conditions have certainly provided an unprecedented impetus for the economy, especially in private sector credit growth. In this backdrop, Nations Trust Bank has placed in motion a plan that seeks to expand branch presence, swell capital and balance sheet footings, and engage in enhanced employee activities.

All in all, Nations Trust Bank is committed to providing customers with a comprehensive and fully integrated banking service. Its network is constantly monitored, evaluated and changed to suit varying needs, trends
and developments.