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Organisational overview

Strategic highlights

The Strategic Highlights for 2023 given below are structured according to the Bank’s four Strategic Imperatives given on page 64. While the Financial Highlights outline the essential aspects of the Bank’s financial performance, the Strategic Highlights illustrate how this performance was realised within the framework of the Bank’s overarching vision for the future.

Prudent Growth

  • Total assets of the Group grew to Rs. 2.656 Tn.
  • High level of diversification in its income and portfolios across a multitude of parameters.
  • The Bank’s deposit base grew by 8.92% Year-on-Year (YoY) to Rs. 2.085 Tn., while the Bank’s CASA ratio stood at 39.23% at end of 2023, the best in the Banking Sector.
  • Overseas operations accounted for 17.1% of the assets and made a significant contribution to the pre-tax profits.
  • Impairment (Stage 3) to Stage 3 Loans Ratio (Stage 3 Impairment Coverage Ratio) improved to 43.22% as at end 2023 from 39.60% in 2022.
  • The Rs. 12 Bn. debenture issue further strengthened the
    Tier II capital base of the Bank, bridged maturity mismatches in the assets and liabilities and will help expand the lending portfolio, especially in the SME segment and export-oriented industries to support the national economy.
  • The Bank won the IFC’s CAFI award for recording the highest number of climate finance transactions in South Asia in the past two years, for meeting the IFC's stringent climate eligibility criteria.
  • The Bank entered into an exclusive long-term bancassurance partnership with AIA during the year, that will enable the Bank to draw on AIA’s best-in-class capabilities and AIA to leverage the Bank’s meaningful connections with the local communities.
  • Launched of two new Green products catering to individuals via the “Green Home Loan” and also the SME and Corporate customers through the “Green Building Loan”.
  • The Bank’s Green Financing portfolio has so far contributed to reduce 233,918.20 tCO2e GHG emissions by end 2023.
  • Green Finance Policy was approved by the Board during the year.

Customer Centricity

  • Established a Customer Experience Unit, which prioritises surpassing customer expectations and fostering loyalty through passionate service.
  • The Ministry of Finance, Sri Lanka, recognised Commercial Bank as the leading SME lender for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022, underscoring the Bank’s dedicated focus and commitment to the SME Sector.
  • Recognised as the “Best SME Bank” by the UK-based Global Business Outlook for the fifth occasion in 2023.
  • Development Credit Department of the Bank conducted 50 awareness programmes for over 2,200 Micro-SMEs (MSMEs), Women SMEs (WSMEs) and prospective SMEs.
  • Launched a Digital Business Ecosystem named “Commercial Bank LEAP GlobalLinker”, an industry first initiative. This innovative digital business ecosystem is designed to enhance the global reach of SMEs and MSMEs, connecting them with markets spanning over 150 countries.
  • The number of members of the “ComBank BIZ Club” now exceeds 5,600, representing half of the Bank’s SME customer base.
  • The Bank offered concessions to individuals and businesses by restructuring and rescheduling loan facilities, particularly those emerging from moratoriums,
    to support during challenging times.
  • Launched the “Combank Trade Club”, an ecosystem designed to stimulate business growth for trade customers. This platform provided exporters with access to innovative trade solutions, expert advice and networking opportunities.
  • The Bank launched the “Diribala Export Grooming Programme” with the aim to enhance the export capabilities of businesses and strengthen the export value chains across various sectors, recognising the vital role of the export segment in the economy.
  • In collaboration with LankaPay, launched a national credit and debit card with international acceptance. This is the first launch of LankaPay Credit Cards in Sri Lanka and the first time five variants of LankaPay cards (three credit cards and two debit cards) were launched by a Sri Lankan Bank. This National Card Scheme is an initiative implemented by LankaPay in partnership JCB International Co. Ltd.

Leading Through Innovation

  • Invested over Rs. 2.6 Bn. in IT infrastructure.
  • Over 335,000 existing customers migrated to digital channels.
  • “ComBank Digital” offers a comprehensive range of services, including the integration of “Widgets” for added convenience, the ability to create “Savings Objectives” to assist users in achieving their financial goals, automated redemption of eFDs (electronic fixed deposits), creation of secondary accounts such as eSavings and eMoney market accounts.
  • eFDs opened during the year represented 50% of total FDs opened during the year 2023.
  • Launched ‘Flash FAM’– Sri Lanka’s first Teen Digital Bank account to encourage parents to foster financial independence and responsible money management skills in their children.
  • “Flash” was selected as the Best Digital Account by Global Retail Banking and Innovation Awards 2023 by The Digital Banker Magazine Singapore and also represented Sri Lanka at APICTA Awards 2023 held in Hong Kong.
  • Automation of CRIB reports analysis through robotic process automation (RPA) for efficient decision-making.
  • The Bank ranked second in overall card acceptance in
    Sri Lanka,
    according to both Mastercard and Visa. The Bank’s Point-of-Sale (POS) network has earned recognition from Visa for having the highest coverage in Sri Lanka.
  • Introduction of a state-of-the-art treasury software system, developed in collaboration with the esteemed international software service provider, Quantum. This innovative solution, currently undergoing rigorous testing, signifies a critical leap forward in enhancing efficiency and responsiveness.
  • The Treasury FX Portal has significantly reduced turnaround times for FX rate requisitions.
  • Commenced onboarding corporate customers to host to host (H2H) connectivity enabling them to connect their ERP systems to the Bank.
  • The Bank was the top facilitator of CEFT transactions in
    Sri Lanka,
    with over 19.2 million transactions worth
    Rs. 2.361 Tn. in outward CEFT and over 25.9 million transactions worth Rs. 2.307 Tn. in inward CEFT transactions.
  • The Bank’s digital banking retail customer base grew by 45% YoY and its digital banking business customer base grew to over 72,000 users.

Operational Excellence

  • Transformed strategically to ensure Bank’s readiness to offer uninterrupted services to its stakeholders through the implementation of the Business Continuity Management framework.
  • Remained committed to maintaining the loan book's quality and managing interest rate risk, while enhancing compliance in order to reduce reputational risk.
  • Made considerable use of the Early Warning System, focusing more on machine learning models and real-time data.
  • Continued to engage in cordial relations with the CBEU, with negotiations fueling dialogue between the two, delivering two-way rewards to the Bank as well as the members of the employee union.
  • Offered an array of training and development programmes to guarantee that staff members are stewards of continuous education and strategic self-improvement, which can serve as avenues for self-actualisation. Recorded a significant increase in eLearning hours through the Learning Management System.
  • Enabled on-boarding of new customers with Digital KYC through “Flash”
  • Commenced implementation of a queue management system in branches.
  • Placed a strong emphasis on maintaining employee safety and morale in a volatile workplace to protect their livelihoods, health and well-being while highlighting the power of the workforce as a whole.