The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has been adjudged the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB’s) ‘Leading Partner Bank in Sri Lanka’ at the 2021 edition of its Trade and Supply Chain Finance Programme (TSCFP) Awards that recognise banks that support trade in Asia and the Pacific.
The award was conferred upon Commercial Bank for recording the highest number of transactions in the trade and supply chain finance sphere between 1st July 2020 and 30th June 2021. In this period, the Bank collaborated with the ADB for coverage of trade transactions of small and large deals for corporate and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) clients.
Commercial Bank was recognised for its continuous efforts to increase its trade financing capacity, operational efficiency, financial health and risk management while strengthening customer relationships, improving service standards, delivering innovative solutions, and being resilient. Despite the many disruptions of the period, the Bank achieved stellar performance in 2020-2021.
The Bank’s trade finance initiatives not only benefitted its clients and their beneficiaries but also enabled the country to gain international reputation by honouring presentations of Letters of Credit (LCs) even in the event of declared force majeure, the Bank said.
Representatives of more than 200 partner banks participated in the virtually conducted TSCFP Awards ceremony at which 27 banks were recognised globally in 21 categories.
Commercial Bank entered into an Issuing Bank Agreement with ADB in February 2021 which empowered the Bank to increase its credit lines, expand relationships with correspondent banks, reduce cash collateral requirements, enhance the ability to maintain and attract new clients, and provide critical support during times of crisis as an issuing bank of LCs.
Commenting on the Bank’s approach to trade finance, Commercial Bank’s Managing Director/Group Chief Executive Officer Mr S. Renganathan said: “Banks are undergoing a fundamental shift in financing trade; as the nature of trade evolves, Fin Techs and digital banks are eyeing global trade market share. However, conventional banks have an opportunity to re-invent their intermediary role to remain sustainable. The pandemic has reshaped many aspects of our business environment, compelling us to transform by seizing new opportunities to stay profitable. As a benchmark trade bank in Sri Lanka, Commercial Bank is confident that banks can dominate global trade with a clear-cut strategy in trade transformation, digitalisation, effective capital management, next-generation compliance and data analytics.”
The Asian Development Bank’s Trade and Supply Chain Finance Programme Awards are some of the most prestigious accolades in the banking and financial industry in Asia, presented to institutions that work passionately to foster economic growth through sustainability measures. The Awards recognise outstanding contributions of TSCFP partner banks that boost trade and supply chain finance in Asia and the Pacific. The TSCFP fills market gaps for trade finance by providing guarantees and loans to banks to support trade. Backed by its AAA credit rating, the programme works with partner banks to provide companies with the financial support they need to engage in import and export activities in Asia’s most challenging markets.
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.