he Commercial Bank of Ceylon has been crowned the Best Bank in Sri Lanka in 2020 by Euromoney, one of the world’s leading financial magazines, at its Asia Awards for Excellence.
This is the sixth time that Commercial Bank has been honoured with this prestigious accolade by Euromoney.
The Euromoney awards are based on detailed submissions from market participants and extensive year-round research into the banking and capital markets in the region by the magazine’s editors, journalists and research team.
Other criteria included the size of the organisation, although size was not the emphasis, profitability, the ability to demonstrate growth, out performance of peers and the ability to adapt to changing market conditions and client needs.
Each Bank was required to highlight its performance over the 12 months in consideration and its demonstrated ability to meet strategic targets, and provide updates on reaching milestones in previously announced initiatives.
Alongside financial performance, banks were asked to include details of their digital banking strategies and their approach to issues such as cybersecurity and corporate social responsibility.
Contributing factors to Commercial Bank’s win included the Bank ending 2019 with total assets of Rs 1.4 trillion, gross income of Rs 150 billion, net profit of Rs 17.4 billion, a deposit base of Rs 1.07 trillion and net loans and receivables of Rs 930.7 billion.
Commercial Bank also achieved the highest profitability, highest credit rating, highest deposit base, largest lending portfolio, and the highest return on average shareholders’ funds amongst all private sector banks in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, it was the largest private sector bank in Sri Lanka in terms of assets, the bank with the highest market capitalisation and the best CASA rating in the country, and was the third largest listed entity overall in 2019.
Additionally, the Bank launched 12 new products and services in 2019 of which seven were the first of their kind in Sri Lanka. Innovations in the year included the launch of UnionPay Cards, ‘WeChat Pay’ acceptance, the QR-based payment app ComBank Q+, the mobile app ‘ComBank RemitPlus’ for users of its remittance services, and global Wi-Fi to World Mastercard holders for the first time in Sri Lanka. It was also the only Bank in Sri Lanka to be PCI-DSS certified.
The Bank also launched 11 different programmes offering concessions and facilities to help businesses and individuals recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It launched two separate bank-funded support loan schemes for SMEs and micro enterprises, special payment relief schemes for existing borrowers, special Card repayment plans and slashed interest rates across the board on all categories of loans.
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 10 years consecutively, Commercial Bank is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The Bank, which won more than 50 international and local awards in 2019, operates a network of 268 branches and 873 ATMs in Sri Lanka.
Commercial Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Representative Office in Yangon and a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.