The Strategic Highlights for the year 2021 are organised around the Bank’s four Strategic Imperatives ( Refer Strategic Imperatives for further details). While the Financial Highlights captures the key details of the Bank’s financial performance, the Strategic Highlights encapsulates how this performance was achieved in the context of the Bank’s long-term vision. The Financial Highlights provide the reader of this report with a snapshot of the Financial Review , while the Strategic Highlights are a summary of the Management Discussion and Analysis, which is similarly structured around the four Strategic Imperatives.
- High level of diversification in its operations across many parameters.
- Increased the provision for impairment to Rs. 24.692 Bn. for the year 2021, the highest ever annual provision in the history of the Bank.
- The Bank’s deposit base grew by 13.99% YoY to Rs. 1.443 Tn. resulting in the Bank’s CASA ratio improving to 47.83% in 2021 from 42.72% in 2020, the best in the Banking Sector.
- Overseas operations now contribute 12.4% of the assets and 18.6% of the pre-tax profits of the Group.
- First bank in the region and the 4th bank in the world to introduce a tool (approved by the UNEP) for its retail customers to measure the environmental impact of their spending via its Flash Digital Bank Account App.
- The Bank’s Green Financing portfolio has contributed to reducing 225,847.33 tCO2e emissions to the atmosphere.
- Board-approved prudent dividend policy in place.
- Disbursed 1,208 green financing loans and leasing facilities to support customers to transition to a low-carbon economy.
- The Bank proactively managed the Foreign Currency liquidity by adopting new strategies in managing Foreign Currency trade flows, working closely with its corresponding banks and its trade finance customers to manage and address the concerns and requirements.
- Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Policy was approved by the Board during the year.
- The “Q+ Payment App” of the Bank, which is the first app to be certified and launched under the LANKAQR standards of the CBSL, reached over 100,000 customer registrations in 2021.
- Increased membership in BizClub by 19.38% to 4,866.
- Established a Centralised Credit Processing Unit, completed the SME Banking Transformation operation and became the largest lender to the SME sector among private sector banks via the “Saubhagya” scheme.
- Secured a USD 50 Mn. loan from the CDC Group, UK and supported underserved SMEs directly to boost jobs and promote economic and social inclusion.
- Launched the exclusive Women Banking vertical named “Anagi Women Banking” and added a range of new financial and non-financial products and services for women.
- ComBank website was launched as a trilingual resource with a series of cutting-edge enhancements.
- Re-launched a dedicated loan scheme named “Diribala Green Development Loan” Scheme targeting financing of Solar Power Systems of SMEs/ Business clients.
- Launched the Agri Gold Loan facility during the year to support those engaged in agriculture, fisheries, and livestock farming.
- Dirishakthi Value Chain Development Program’ was launched to strengthen rural value chains, focusing on segments such as dairy, tea small holders, coir, spices and ground nut.
- Debit and credit card usage grew by 59% and 30% respectively.
Leading through innovation
- Became the first bank in Sri Lanka to accept digital signatures from business customers using LankaSign, improving the customer experience of the Bank’s retail and corporate customers.
- Launched the first LANKAQR supported android POS device, allowing the processing of transactions via VISA, Mastercard, UnionPay, LankaPay and JCB cards as well as QR-based wallet payments under LANKAQR.
- The Bank became the first in Sri Lanka to deploy EMV 3DS fraud prevention technology for authenticating payments made by credit, debit and pre-paid cards in collaboration with Visa.
- Set up Mini Digital Experience Zones to help customers gradually migrate into digital channels.
- Invested over Rs. 1.2 Bn. in IT infrastructure.
- Over 212,000 existing customers migrated to digital channels, a growth of 35%.
- Became the first bank in Sri Lanka to link the Import and Export Control Department (IECD) to a digital platform with LankaPay, enabling customers to pay their license fees to the IECD conveniently.
- A dedicated YouTube Channel was launched to increase customer awareness about ComBank Digital in addition to user guides.
- Number and the value of transactions initiated through digital channels increased by 60% and 70% respectively, YoY.
- IPG usage in terms of volumes and merchants increased by 65% and 37% respectively, YoY.
- First Sri Lankan Bank to become fully Carbon Neutral.
- Achieved improvements in all productivity and efficiency ratios, recording the best performance over the past five years.
- All branches operating in Bank-owned buildings are commissioned with solar power.
- Implemented a range of operational measures, including: splitting teams and working at alternate sites and from home; providing food, lodging, transport, and personal protective equipment for the safety of all staff; and outfitting branches with partitions, sanitisers and instituting other best practices for social distancing and hygiene, and deployed the Call Tree Notification System.
- Signed Collective Agreement with the Bank’s branch of the Ceylon Bank Employees’ Union for a further 3-year period.
- Solar power generated 14.14% of the Bank’s energy consumption, a fourfold increase since 2018.