HNB’s Short Term Visiting Program in Colombo

HNB hosts successful ABA Short Term Visiting Program

Hatton National Bank PLC. (HNB) successfully conducted a two-day ABA Short Term Visiting Program in Colombo, Sri Lanka on May 30-31, 2016. 16 bankers from four ABA member banks in Bhutan, Maldives, Taiwan and Vietnam attended the program.


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Mr. Damith Pallewatte, Chief RIsk Offiver, shows HNB Museum

Day One

The program, aptly titled “Introduction on HNB: History, Technology, Strategy, Agility and Transformation”, started with a brief tour of the bank’s museum. Delegates were then welcomed by Mr. Dilshan Rodrigo, HNB’s Chief Operating Officer and member of the ABA Board of Directors.

Mr. Rodrigo delivered his opening remarks and provided the delegates with a macro snapshot of Sri Lanka, the country’s banking system and a short history of HNB. Sri Lanka, according to Mr. Rodrigo is an emerging economy that has a population of 20 million people, has a GDP of US$70 billion and a GDP per capita of US$4,000. The country has 25 commercial banks, he added, of which HNB is the second largest.

In 1888, Hatton Bank commenced business in Sri Lanka’s hill country named Hatton, a town known for its tea plantation. In 1970, HNB was born from the merger of Hatton Bank with two branches of then National and Grindlays Bank Ltd. Today, HNB has risen to the premier private sector bank in Sri Lanka. At the heart of HNB’s strategy lies customer service excellence as it continues to build closer relationship with clients and strive for operational excellence.

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Mr. Dilshan Rodrigo, COO, delivers opening remarks

Mr. Damith Pallewatte, Chief Risk Officer discussed about the evolution of risk management. HNB is in the process of migrating to advanced approaches for saving capital, according to Mr. Pallewate. He emphasized on the six key drivers behind risk management namely: board and senior management oversight, integration and risk management, business line accountability, risk evaluation, independent review, and contingency planning.

He also shared HNB’s risk management architecture and structure. He concluded his presentation by presenting the challenges facing the area of risk management where he highlighted 3 areas of concern- managing asset quality, cyber risk, and grooming/retaining talents.

Mr. Asanga Uduwela, Assistant General Manager for Operations shared the bank’s operational excellence to participants. He explained HNB’s Vision 2020 which includes moving towards e-Banking and electronic platforms for all types of operations to reduce cost, improving efficiency and customer relationship. It is a transition from transaction-based banking culture to a relationship banking culture, added Mr. Uduwela. He also noted that HNB aims to increase profitability by process improvements/cost management and better sales. HNB strives to have the best trained staff in the banking sector and to obtain ISO certification for most operations, he added.

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Mr. Jonathan Ailes, Managing Director, greets ABA delegates

Mr. Janaka Epasinghe started the afternoon session with a talk on Business Process Re-engineering (BPR). He talked about HNB’s philosophy and processes being adopted, key achievements in the areas of centralization of credit and general operations, creation of a paperless office, branch target operating model and future plans.

The BPR initiatives being implemented through the leadership of Mr. Epasinghe helped HNB won 3rd Place in the National Productivity Award 2015 presented by Sri Lanka’s National Productivity Organization.

The last session for Day One was led by Mr. Sandun Hapugoda, Manager for Electronic Banking. Mr. Hapugoda spoke about Driving Digital Proposition in HNB where he focused on HNB’s product proposition, delivery channels, and digital KPIs. Because digital technology challenges traditional thinking on banking, Mr. Hapugoda said the bank should work to process changes and overcome challenges ahead.


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Mr. Sandun Hapugoda, Manager of El-Banking presents Driving the Digital Proposition

Day Two

The ABA delegates paid a visit to HNB’s Center of Excellence. The center is a project of HNB’s Business Process Re-Engineering unit which targets fast track approval and disbursement for facilities that meet set credit parameters, using an automated document workflow from branch networks to centralized credit operations (CCO). Ms. Natasha Lakmanaratchi, Executive for CCO, led the short tour and briefing about the center.


The ABA delegation proceeded to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) where they were welcomed by Mrs. Yvette Fernando, Controller of Exchange and former Director of Bank Supervision. Mrs. Fernando explained the regulatory framework and operations of the Central Bank, emphasizing its two main objectives- price and economic stability. Mrs. Fernando gave time to answer questions from the delegates.

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Mrs. Yvette Fernando, Controller of the Exchange, Central Bank of Sri Lanka

After the visit to the CBSL, the delegation headed to Lanka Clear. Formerly known as the National Cheque Clearing House, Lanka Clear has expanded its service offering to be the National Payment Infrastructure Provider of Sri Lanka. Owned by the CBSL and all licensed commercial banks, the company boasts of simple solution offerings not only for the banking sector but across all industries that are willing to adopt the latest digital technology driving Sri Lanka toward an efficient, green and paperless nation. Mr. Channa De Silva, General Manager/CEO, and Mr. Harsha Wanigatunga, Deputy General Manager for IT and Operations, gave a presentation on LankaPay, a common card and payment switch (CCAPS) which was recently launched in the country.

The two-day visiting program is a project of ABA which aims to provide member banks the opportunity to study and undergo training on specific aspects of the operations of the more advanced host banks, such as Hatton National Bank. It aims to enable visitors to enhance their technical skills and knowledge in specific areas such as international banking, treasury activities, investment, and foreign exchange in the distinct social, economic, and business environment of the host country.

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ABA delegates visits the Lanka Clear

The participants in this short term visiting program include: Bank of BhutanTshering Norbu, Desk Officer, Samdrup Jongkhar Branch; Lodre Gyeltshen, Loan Incharge, Punakha Branch; Sonam Dhendup, ATM Custodian, Paro Branch; Dechen Wangmo, Desk Officer, Tashigang Branch; Ugyen Zangmo, Desk Officer, Deothang Branch; Hari Maya, ATM Custodian, Damphu Branch; Bank of MaldivesShiyaz Mohamed Didi, Head of Business Systems Department; Mohamed Shareef, Retail Banking Director; Sahar Waheed, People and Change Director; Yamin Adam– Head of Risk and Compliance; VietcombankHo Thi Huong Tra, Deputy Director, Loan Administrations Department; Nguyen Thuy Hanh, Deputy Director, Credit Policy Department; Nguyen Thi Ngoc Chi, Deputy Director, Credit Approval Department; Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, Official, Operational Risk Management Department; Oliver Wyman- Mr. Il-Dong Kwon, Principal, Financial Services; ExIm Bank Taiwan Irene L. L. Wang, VP & Deputy General Manager, Risk Management Department.


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