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Operating Environment

Connecting with Stakeholders

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As evident from the developments around the globe, proliferation of the social media from instant messaging and blogs to social networking sites with its enormous “word-of-mouth” impact has made it possible that anybody can be a stakeholder, making the selection and prioritization of stakeholders to engage with difficult and also, changing the manner corporates communicate with them. While compounding these difficulties, the unprecedented conditions that prevailed in the recent past have created an acute need to engage deeply with stakeholders to clearly identify their concerns and aspirations and appropriately engage with them.

Accordingly, the Bank considers those that have the potential to make an impact on its value creation process and those who are affected by its activities as its stakeholders that need to be constantly engaged with. Based on the above, we have identified the following groups to be our key stakeholders (Table 02) considering their power and their interest in our business model and we have presented them in the order of their ability to affect our operations from high to low.

The diagram given below (Figure 02) demonstrates the stakeholder engagement process in place at the Bank which reflects our ethos of having the best interest of all the stakeholders at heart – Bank’s tag line – “Our interest is in you” which has enabled us to maintain continuous and open engagement through multiple platforms, thereby strengthening collaboration with stakeholders. This process has paved the way for us to incorporate their legitimate concerns and expectations in to our strategy and deliver value to and, in turn, derive value from them, leading to sustainable value creation.

Table 02: Our Key Stakeholders

Stakeholder group Level of priority and the reason Engagement strategy
Investors High – due to the difficulty in raising fresh capital to meet the capital management objectives of the Bank given the lackluster performance in equity markets consequent to the adverse economic environment Highly engaged
Customers High – because the ability to operate as a “going concern” depends on how best and effectively their expectations are met Highly engaged
Employees High – they connect the Bank and the customers Highly engaged
Government institutions and regulators High to moderate – since we are operating in a highly regulated industry and being a top tier Domestic Systemically Important Bank Keep satisfied
Business partners High to moderate – due to the dependence on critical to less customized solutions by vendors Keep informed
Society and environment High to moderate – due to the obligation to operate responsibly to secure its social license Keep informed

As depicted in Table 03, multiple formal mechanisms are in place to connect with our stakeholder groups, to address their expectations. Responsibility for such engagement is shared across the Bank at every stakeholder point of contact.

The changes brought about by the pandemic affected the way, the level and the frequency of engagement with our stakeholders. Following the movement restrictions and lockdowns during the year, we resorted to digital mediums more and more in engaging with our stakeholders.
Our stakeholder engagement process enables to better adapt ourselves to meet the evolving challenges, sustain and improve our business model, drive innovation, and gather invaluable insights for our strategic planning process.

Table 03: Mode and frequency of stakeholder engagement

INVESTORS CUSTOMERS
Engagement mechanism and frequency

Engagement mechanism

Frequency

Annual Reports and AGMs

Annually

Extraordinary General Meetings

As required

Interim financial statements

Quarterly

Investor presentations

As required

Press conferences and releases

As required

Announcements to CSE

As required

One-to-one discussions

As required

Corporate website

Continuous

Feedback surveys

As required

Engagement mechanism

Frequency

Customer visits

As required

Complaints received

As required

Complaints resolution officer, relationship managers

As required

ComBank Biz Club

Continuous

Branch network and call centre

Continuous

Media advertisements

As required

Corporate website

Continuous

Customer workshops

As required

What are the key topics raised and
feedback provided
  • Financial performance
  • Governance
  • Transparency and disclosure
  • Business expansion plans
  • Risk management
  • Sustainable growth
  • Resilience to the effects of the pandemic
  • Rising NPA and impairment charges
  • Dividend payments
  • Economic slowdown due to lack of policy consistency
  • Achieving sustainable business growth against accepted risks
  • Sharp drop in the FCY reserves and successive sovereign downgrades
  • Swift service
  • Customer security and privacy
  • Service quality
  • Affordability of services and convenience
  • Grievance handling mechanism
  • Financial education and literacy
  • Financial support for revival of business
  • Access to financial services
  • Enrolment to digital platforms
  • Operationalising of CBSL directives
  • Growing interest in sustainable investing among private sector
  • Need of Financial support for women entrepreneurs
How did the Bank respond to stakeholders
  1. Robust Risk Management Framework
  2. Optimum levels of liquidity and maximising profitability by optimal usage of liquid assets
  3. Maintained comfortable levels of capital adequacy
  4. Worked closely with its corresponding banks and its trade finance customers to manage the foreign currency liquidity
  5. Reached out to new funding partners and established new funding lines
  1. Adjusting the ways of working and service delivery channels and providing the necessary infrastructure to support customers
  2. Set up Mini Digital Experience Zones, to help customers gradually migrate into digital channels
  3. Extended relief to diverse customers affected by the pandemic through moratorium schemes, relief to non-performing borrowers, reduction of lending rates
  4. Non financial support to SMEs and Micro Businesses - Com Bank Biz Club launched grew by 830 to 4866 members in 2021. An initiative was taken to launch an exclusive Credit Card for SMEs and members were enabled to receive economic updates and alerts on new business developments via email and SMS
  5. The Bank has assisted SME customers with financial literacy programmes
  6. A range of new financial and non-financial products and services were launched including the Anagi Business Loan for women SMEs, Anagi Instant Loan for salaried women, Anagi Credit Card, insurance for women customers and entrepreneurship skill development programs for women
Read more Joint Message from the Chairman and his Successor, Managing Director/Group Chief Executive Officer's Review, Management Discussion & Analysis, Financial Statements.
EMPLOYEES SOCIETY REGULATORS AND POLICY MAKERS
Engagement mechanism
and frequency

Engagement mechanism

Frequency

Managers' Conference

Annually

Town hall meeting

Annually

Regional review meetings

Quarterly

Branch marketing meeting

Monthly

Training programmes

As required

Intranet

Continuous

Special staff events

Annually

Trade union discussions

As required

Employee satisfaction survey

As required

Engagement mechanism

Frequency

Delivery channels

Continuous

Press releases, conferences
and media briefings

As required

Informal briefings and communications

As required

Public events

As required

Corporate website

Continuous

Engagement mechanism

Frequency

Supplier relationship management

Annually

Directives and circulars

As required

Meetings and consultations

As required

Press releases

As required

Periodic returns

As specified

Submissions to policymakers

As required

Responses to consultation papers on Directions and other regulations

As specified

What are the key topics raised and feedback provided
  • Performance and reward management
  • Training and development
  • Career advancement opportunities
  • Work-life balance
  • Retirement benefit plans
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Safety at workplace
  • Stable performance of the Bank
  • Responsible financing
  • Commitment to community
  • Financial inclusion, recruitment
  • Microfinance and SME
  • Ethics and business conduct
  • Environmental performance
  • Employment opportunities
  • Compliance with directives and codes
  • Microfinance and SME development
  • Stability of the financial system
  • Migration to cashless payment platforms
  • Supporting economic recovery and growth
How did the Bank respond
to stakeholders
  1. A group of identified potential branch Managers were enrolled to a Leadership Development Program conducted by the Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM)
  2. Special Virtual training programs were conducted targeting Branch Managers, Assistant Branch Managers, and Junior Executive Officers covering technical and soft skills
  3. Work from home arrangements were facilitated for employees by providing necessary IT infrastructure and implementing guidelines on remote working
  4. All employee engagement and development programs were migrated to digital platforms, ensuring collaboration and ongoing interaction
  5. The Bank remains committed to the principles of equal opportunity irrespective of gender, age, race, disability or religion in all its HR management processes
  6. All expectant mothers across the Bank were granted special leave from May 01, 2021 onwards, to ensure their safety against the third wave of the pandemic
  7. The Collective Agreement with the Bank’s branch of the Ceylon Bank Employees’ Union (CBEU) was renewed in 2021 for a further 3-year period
  1. Launched “Agri Leasing” facilities at low rentals and flexible payment plans, taking into consideration the seasonal income patterns of farmers and cultivation months to support the agronomy of the country
  2. The Bank has further expanded its portfolio of green buildings to include the Jaffna Branch and the Trincomalee branch
  3. Financial literacy programmes for SMEs and Micros
  4. Donation of 253 fully-equipped IT laboratories to schools and other institutions and partnering the “Smart Schools Project” to introduce a comprehensive digital Learning Management System (LMS) to 65 schools in the country
  5. Donation of critical medical equipment to government hospitals
  1. Remaining compliant with regulatory requirements by maintaining internal capital targets that are more stringent than the regulatory requirements
  2. Timely submission of regulatory reports and press releases
  3. Timely payment of tax payments and furnishing of tax returns
  4. Adhering to the Ministry of Health guidelines and protocols to ensure the safety and wellbeing of customers and employees
  5. Re-launched a dedicated loan scheme namely Diribala Green Development Loan Scheme targeting financing of Solar Power Systems of SMEs/ Business clients to support the Government’s strategy towards promoting the renewable energy sector
Read more Joint Message from the Chairman and his Successor, Managing Director/Group Chief Executive Officer's Review, Management Discussion & Analysis, Financial Statements.