Institutional capital comprises knowledge-based, intangible, non-financial aspects of an organisation which can collectively create value and enhance performance, when managed systematically. DFCC Bank’s institutional capital encompasses accumulated knowledge, systems and processes, procedures and protocols, corporate culture and values, as well as brand values, business ethics and integrity, which contribute towards its unique work style and culture.
Over the years, the Bank has accumulated a body of knowledge comprising systems and processes, procedures and protocols which have shaped a specific way of functioning within a distinctive corporate ethos. These can be categorised as “tacit” knowledge, as they are not recorded or written down in any way, but their existence can be felt in the way the Organisation carries out its operations and formulates its strategies. In the case of DFCC Bank, its organisational knowledge helps it to remain true to its tagline: “Keep Growing”.
Such accumulated knowledge is reinforced, perpetuated and put to good use by in-house experts who educate and mentor staff on various aspects and intricacies of banking operations, technical details and strategy, together with “Our way” of doing things. Through such collective learning, senior staff members are encouraged to mentor and pass on their knowledge to the next generation.
The Bank’s intranet, “WECONNECT” functions as a repository of policies, knowledge, procedures and regulatory guidelines, which staff members can access in order to acquaint themselves with such information.
Corporate Culture and Values
The core values of ethics and integrity, as well as being customer-centric, innovative, professional, accountable, team-orientated and socially responsible, form the distinctive corporate culture at DFCC. New recruits are given a thorough orientation and induction programmes that instil in them the essence of the Bank’s corporate values and behavioural expectations. Regular programmes are conducted to reinforce these values and expectations. Rewards and recognition mechanisms are also in place to guide the Bank’s staff members to “Live the Brand” and drive its values in their day-to-day interactions with colleagues, customers, and other stakeholders. For 2022, in line with our future focus and priorities, two new values were introduced, namely, stewardship and diversity, equity and inclusion.
The Bank encourages collective professional growth, and emphasises a work culture that is inclusive, open and supportive. The culture actively encourages diversity of opinion, acceptance of alternate viewpoints, and an open-door policy that makes Senior Management freely accessible to all. Such communication is facilitated through mechanisms such as open days, town-hall meetings, multiple grievance escalation mechanisms and various other means.
Business Ethics and Integrity
DFCC Bank’s culture and ethos are underpinned by ethics and integrity, which are strictly adhered to in all business dealings and relationships. This also orients application of the principles of honesty and fairness across all functionalities and relationships of the Bank, including those with colleagues, business partners and customers. Aspects such as honesty, integrity, accountability, trust, loyalty, fairness, and respect for others are embedded with the Bank’s business practices and operations.
A Whistle-blowing Policy outlines how employees convey instances of wrongdoing or breaches of ethics and integrity to the HRD or the Internal Audit Department. Cross-functional committees including the Grievance Committee and Reach-out Committee have been formed, in addition to other systemic mechanisms to provide our employees with multiple avenues to surface issues.
The lockdown had the inadvertent effect of boosting DFCC Bank’s drive to become a leading digitally-enabled and digitally-driven Organisation. Due to the non-availability of conventional channels of communications and carrying out transactions, customers embraced the digital platforms in which the Bank had made strategic investments. The digital platforms also enabled staff of the Bank to rapidly adapt to the “New normal” of carrying out efficient operations remotely, without the need for face-to-face interactions with customers and colleagues. The newly installed core banking systems stands at the epicentre of the Bank’s digital infrastructure, guiding all its activities.
Digital Banking, Strategy and Innovation
DFCC Bank has structured its digital strategy offering along six pillars: digital channels, digital payments, digital operations, digital services, digital analytics and DFCC Agile, the innovation centre of excellence (Introduced in 2021). These six pillars form the basis and launching pad of a number of products introduced over the years. The Bank’s digital strategy roadmap aligns with the Bank’s goal to be the most customer-centric and digitally enabled bank by 2025. Strategies and methodologies to implement this roadmap keep evolving with the emergence of new technologies to support ever evolving customer needs.
DFCC Agile – Innovation centre of excellence was launched in August 2021 to develop an innovation roadmap with external partners and the Bank’s identified team members through multiple iterations and reviews. The Bank partnered with Innovation Quotient (IQ) in this endeavour. The hub will function as a strategic think tank and creative engine and the operations will trickle down throughout the organisational structure at DFCC Bank, acting as a hub for incubation and testing. This will ensure that new and innovative ideas, products, services, and design thinking principles will go through an innovation management process before implementation.
DFCC Bank’s Cash Recycler Machines (CRMs) allow customers to perform their cardless/card-based cash deposits and withdrawals from a single unit. This service has been expanded to 65 locations during year 2021 and plans to increase to 100 by year end 2022. The Bank partnered with MAS Unichela Koggala and introduced an offsite ATM and overall expanded the offsite ATM/CRM network to 25 allowing customers 24x7 access to their accounts. Cash deposits to CRMs grew by 266%. Cheque deposit kiosks have been expanded to 25 machines and intend to increase to 50 in the year 2022. Cheque deposits to the kiosk grew by 484%. The Bank also partnered with Mega Pay Private Limited and expanded the Pay&Go kiosks to 33 and plan to increase to 45 by year end 2022. This allows customers to top-up their mobile phones and pay up to 60 types of bills, including utility bills. The Bank expanded the MySpace locations to 45 and intends to adding another 20 locations during the year 2022. By introducing these channels, the time saved at branches enabled staff to focus more on value adding activities.
The Bank recently introduced the state-of-the-art new online banking platform built on Temenos Infinity for its retail banking customers with new features, user interface and self-service features such as 3600 view on accounts/deposits/loans/credit cards and leases, viewing the entire banking portfolio in a single page, manage credit cards and make payments, transfer funds immediately to any bank account via CEFT/SLIPs and option to open savings accounts, fixed deposits, goal setting savings digitally and many more. A new lifestyle mobile banking app will also be introduced in year 2022. The launched digital bank will integrate to new ecosystems and provide frictionless, invisible banking experience to its present and future customers.
DFCC Virtual Wallet (hybrid mobile banking app) is an innovative product that enables customers to perform a multitude of banking functions using their smartphone. DFCC Virtual Wallet is similar to a wallet with built-in mobile banking features, with an interface that enables customers to use in Sinhala, English, or Tamil. The Bank introduced nearly 40 new billers, enabled the app to the Huawei app store, and improved a few user interfaces. DFCC Virtual Wallet is the online hybrid wallet and banking app in the market with trilingual options for customers to select and use. During the year 2021 the Bank integrated with mCash biller platform to enable users to pay additional billers, institutions, etc.
The app has been adopted very well by customers and transactions grew by nearly 203% and bill payment transactions increased by 203% and 65% of all CEFT transactions were routed through the DFCC Virtual Wallet in 2021. DFCC Virtual Wallet was recognised as the best “Digital Wallet in Sri Lanka in 2021” by Global Banking and Finance Review.
The “Mobile Teller” doorstep banking service will be continued with more features introduced in the future to add more value to customers. Through this channel, nearly 105 branches actively provide the services to customers.
Digital services have been greatly enhanced in keeping with the Bank’s vastly improved digital capabilities, following the installation of the core banking system. DFCC Alerts SMS service continues to be upgraded, with more services being added on – including Junior Children’s Savings and Teen Account holders. Customers can interact with the interactive, conversational DFCC chatbot in a language of their choice through Facebook Messenger, Viber or the corporate website. For complex inquiries which can’t be handled by the chatbot, customer will be directed to a live chat with a Contact Centre agent. The bot was revamped and a new flow based chat and search feature was introduced while the option to chat with live agent was embedded to the main chat window. The DFCC Video Chatz feature helps customers to interact with a Contact Centre agent, through video, for digital products support and customer on-boarding. The Bank’s website continues to support key banking functionalities, in addition to customer relations and communications efforts. All branch locations were listed on Google to support local search and were optimised for Google Maps. New features introduced in 2021 were:
- Non-Face To Face (NF2F) (implementation of digital on boarding and Account Opening Process)
- Dynamic Pinnacle page with relationship manager details
- Speed optimisation for an improved user experience and compliance to Google's core web vitals
- Credit card comparison upgrade with new products (Master Card, Affinity Card to compare and choose the most appropriate card type)
- Micro site for Aloka Product Page (to empower Sri Lankan women with exciting offerings)
- Dynamic page for Virtual Wallet with wallet merchant page
The Bank carried out the following communication campaigns to promote its digital offerings, using traditional and social media vehicles:
- DFCC Virtual Wallet Awareness Campaign
- DFCC Virtual Wallet – Enabling Huawei Harmony O/S Awareness Campaign
- DFCC Virtual Wallet Benefits and mCash Biller Integration Campaign
- Digital Channels Awareness Campaign
- Geo Fencing Campaign for Offsite LIOC ATMs and DFCC CRMs
- All-in-one Digital Properties Awareness Campaign in ATL, BTL and Digital medium
Core banking system
DFCC Bank’s new core banking system has the avowed aim of substantially enhancing productivity and operational efficiency, bringing down operational costs, utilising less manpower, ensuring greater accountability of the customers, simplifying banking processes, and expanding the outreach and accessibility of the Bank. The new system will accelerate the adoption of digital processes, as the integration of several Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) will create a more agile platform that will enable the Bank to respond faster to the changing business environment. The new core banking system offers the Bank a distinctive competitive advantage, which can be leveraged to great effect over the next decade or so. It also aligns with the Bank’s goal of increasing its customer-centric focus.
The Bank views its customer service and experience in a holistic manner. All incoming customer enquiries and complaints from multiple channels encompassing the corporate website, email, telephone, social media, or letters are handled by the centralised Customer Experience Unit. This enables increased quality of service and shorter response times.
Customer Services Ambassadors have been appointed across all branches. They have been tasked with driving the importance of consistent and sustainable customer experience across the branch network. The Customer Experience Unit utilises mystery shopper surveys as well as complaint management mechanisms to identify gaps in service, which are addressed through various training programmes to ensure that higher standards of service are maintained. Data analysis is being increasingly used to identify customer-related issues, so that they can be addressed and resolved more effectively.
Tea Integrated Payment System
Taking an industry-specific approach, DFCC Bank’s Tea Integrated Payment System (TIPS) platform offers a dedicated, streamlined and scalable system to the tea industry. This system integrates tea smallholders, factories, and financial institutions, in order to support the tea industry which is among the leading Forex earners for Sri Lanka, while also generating considerable employment opportunities. The system automates several manual processes such as tracking the collection of tea leaves and issuing payments to various stakeholders. This is carried out through the integration of technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC), Radio Frequency ID (RFID), and Bluetooth. The system also helps to improve the financial inclusion of a large number of people engaged in this sector, while increasing transparency and efficiency of the industry.
Payments and Cash Management System
DFCC Bank is a market leader in the Payments and Cash Management proposition, which offers our customers a range of solutions to add efficiencies to their daily transactional banking needs. The highlight of this proposition is the fact that our subject matter experts perform a deep dive into the needs of the customer and offer a customised Payments and Cash Management solution that meet their requirements. DFCC iConnect is the electronic banking platform and is a fully integrated Payments and Cash Management system that enables our customers to perform all their transactions through a secure channel.
The iConnect portal offers solutions to customers that enable them to step into the new digital era by having access to a vast range of transactional banking solutions. This system can also be accessed through any smart device via the iConnect Mobile App version. It gives our customers the flexibility to authorise payments and perform other important transactional activities on the move.
One of the newest solutions that we have introduced under the iConnect offering is an end-to-end, straight through Financial Supply Chain Management solution. This module gives our customers the ability to digitalise the distributor/supplier financing needs of their Company. Through this feature, customers can now create a credit line and extend it to their distributors/suppliers, make payments, issue invoices, and obtain short-term loans. The main aim of this product was to improve the visibility, manage cash better and improve the turnaround time of our customers’ total eco-system.
We are delighted that our customers have voted us as the Market Leader, under the Best Cash Management Bank category in 2021, awarded by the prestigious Euromoney. This accolade further justifies the market recognition, dominance and the ability of our Payments and Cash Management proposition to provide effective solutions to our customers.
Business Processes and Operational Efficiencies
Staff members have been wholehearted in adopting the Google Workspace, which has played a crucial role in the Bank’s efficient response to the new paradigm imposed by the pandemic. Staff members were also given access to more tools which afforded increased visibility into their data, in order to work more efficiently in their functional areas. Several different workflows were created in order to break down the functional silos that existed between various departments. This has resulted in greatly enhanced cross-functional collaboration.
A data-driven culture is essential for progress in the future, which the Bank is developing internally. The Business Intelligence Unit continues to provide the Bank’s staff with a holistic overview of its customers. The Business Intelligence Steering Committee performs a key role in enhancing value, quality, security, and adaptability of institutional data. Staff members have been given access to dashboards which provide a real-time view of key data and KPIs, while offering predictive analysis, which will enable them to understand customer needs better and respond to them in a proactive manner.
With the increasing adoption of virtual banking, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has taken on an important role in streamlining a wide variety of the Bank’s back office processes, and addressing internal process bottlenecks, while reducing the need for human involvement. This has helped DFCC to increase productivity by engaging and responding to customers in real-time. This has also allowed the Bank to shift staff from task-oriented roles towards more productive, value-adding roles.
The provision of moratoriums resulted in major changes in customers’ contracts and repayment schedules. Shifting this process to RPAs helped the Bank in completing the work in days, compared to weeks it would have taken with manual processes. This effort was recognised by SLASSCOM and won the “Best Post-COVID Innovation Award” in the Business Continuity category at the RPA Awards 2020. In addition to RPA, the Bank also introduced a new workflow for credit card application processing to streamline and fast-track application processing and the approval process.
Security and Infrastructure
Banks, as a rule, are intensely focused on online security risks posed to their systems, as well as to data integrity. The shift to work from home for most of the Bank’s staff greatly intensified the need to be extra vigilant, as they carried out operations online, which elevated the prospect of security threats. Additional layers of security were added to the Bank’s internal systems to enable staff members to connect to the Bank’s systems from home. Adoption of Google Workspace by the Bank played a key role in helping staff members to carry out their functions efficiently, in a streamlined manner.
The Bank launched the Visa Secure platform to make online transactions more secure for its customers and signed up with Visa for its fraud detection system. The Bank also commenced its Point of Sales (POS) acquiring business, which has quickly grown to over 600 units, and launched the “DFCC Pay” app, the first mVisa-supported mobile app in the country.
The brand equity over the years has increased with the heightened awareness level that DFCC is a full service commercial bank – the bank for everyone!
In spite of the adverse economic conditions that were faced, the Bank was successful in adopting a communication strategy with greater emphasis on digital thus building on the existing equity of the DFCC brand. The Bank made use of this opportunity to shift its marketing communication strategy towards a greater usage of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter. This resulted in vastly improved customer interaction and engagement, in addition to the continuous communications with customers and all other stakeholders. The top of mind recall for the DFCC brand increased and helped further reiterate the Bank’s focus on being a full service commercial bank.
This approach facilitated the precise targeting of clearly defined customer segments, continuous brand presence, and measurable engagement with customers on a range of products and services, using varied social media networks and digital platforms such as Google Display Network, Search Ads and Programmatic Ads on third party website and Apps. The key insight was the ability to measure the success rate of such campaigns run on digital platforms which made the marketing efforts more fruitful with clear evidence on the marketing return on investment.
As a result, the DFCC brand was able to attract a significant number of followers, increasing video views on the Bank’s products and services, as well as more impressions of brand-related content. Despite taking a “digital only” approach on a number of campaigns, customer engagement reached hitherto unmatched results.
Though communication challenges remained, new products and services were introduced from time to time. The DFCC brand has continued to be ranked among the top 100 most valuable brands in Sri Lanka by Brand Finance. The Bank has also retained its position among Business Today’s Top 40 Corporates, which is a commendable achievement.
Source – Business Today Dec 2021
Numerous campaigns with different objectives for distinct target audiences were launched during the year including a proposition exclusively for women – DFCC Aloka; along with various online and public relations initiatives. This played a key role in increasing mind-share of the brand and driving top-of-mind-awareness, helping the brand’s messages to reach out to multiple segments across the country.
The brand presence in social networks played a pivotal role in 2021 as the Bank evolved to become one of the best digitally enabled banks. Hence, DFCC Bank executed a holistic content strategy including Digital Films, Social Media competitions, Engagement driven campaigns in order to catch the eye of Digital Media users towards the Bank’s social presence and enhance brand engagement. Further, aggressive follower growth campaigns were executed on Facebook and Instagram in order to increase the brand awareness. As a result, as of 31 December 2021 the Bank achieved the following statistics on the main social media channels. As the latest addition to DFCC Bank Socials, the new TikTok content strategy will commence in January 2022.
In the year 2021, the Bank released over 60 PR articles and gained 1,230 impressions on both Press and Digital mediums. The Bank ranked the 7th position amongst all banks in terms of the Press impressions and 2nd position in the Digital space. The summary of the PR KPIs are as follows:
|Total number of released articles||64|
|Print – Language Breakdown||E-372/S-82/T-48|
|SOV – Print||7%|
|Rank – Print||7|
|SOV – Online||13.42%|
|Rank – Online||2|
Source – Annual PR Statistics Report 2021
|Impressions/Number of Video views (YouTube)||50.3 Mil.||4.4 Mil.||735,064||999,041|
|Reach||40.5 Mil.||3.3 Mil.||285,462||N/A|
Source – Annual Social Media Statistics Report, Fanpage Karma (2021)
Notable recognition and awards
DFCC Bank’s Brand Rating
|DFCC Bank’s Brand Rating|
|Position||Rating||Value LKR Mn|
Source: Brand Finance Sri Lanka 100 – 2021
Awards and Citations
DFCC Bank received recognition from the following bodies in 2021:
- Top 100 Most Valuable Consumer Brands in Sri Lanka – 2021. DFCC Bank has been ranked 27th in the survey conducted by Brand Finance Sri Lanka. This is a rise of one notch from last year.
- “Most Trusted Retail Banking Brand in Sri Lanka” by the Global Brands Magazine, UK, for the year 2021, under the category of “Banking and Finance”.
- “Best Customer Service Banking Brand in Sri Lanka” by the Global Brands Magazine, UK, for the year 2021, under the category of “Banking and Finance”.
- Merit award at Outstanding Development Project Awards, Category 8 by the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP), for DFCCs Supplier Financing Scheme for Export Agricultural Crops project.
- Special award for DFCC Bank’s corporate website by the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP).
- Silver award for “Best Banking Website” in English, Sinhala, and Tamil, by LK Domain Registry, Best web.lk Competition.
- “Most Innovative Corporate Banking App Sri Lanka” at the Global Banking & Finance Awards 2021, organised by the Global Banking & Finance Review magazine. This award was for the DFCC “iConnect” app, which was launched in 2018. The app was previously awarded “Market Leader in Cash Management Sri Lanka (Domestic Banks)”, and “Best for Services in Cash Management – Sri Lanka” at the “Asiamoney Awards”.
- “Best Digital Wallet Sri Lanka”, at the Global Banking & Finance Awards 2021, organized by the Global Banking & Finance Review magazine. The Bank received the award for its revolutionary “Virtual Wallet”, the first mobile wallet launched in Sri Lanka, as far back as 2015.
- One of the Top five Honourable Mentions for the “Most Admired Companies in Sri Lanka” by Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (ICCSL).
- Merit award for “Outstanding Business Sustainability Achievement” for incorporating sustainability in its corporate strategy and its business processes.
- Merit award in “Sustainability Leader of the Year” by Global Sustainable Finance Conference, City of Karlsruhe, Germany for Mr Lakshman Silva, former CEO, DFCC Bank PLC to recognise his exceptional leadership in driving the business performance of the Bank through creating social, economic, and environmental values.
- “Market Leader in Cash Management Sri Lanka” at the recently concluded Euromoney Awards. This award was for DFCC iConnect.
Anti-bribery and Corruption
The Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy (ABC Policy) of the Bank which is timely revised through the approval of the Board of Directors regulates the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Framework which is monitored by the Fraud Risk Management Committee (FRMC). ABC Policy covers the Directors, employees and all others who are authorised to act on behalf of the Bank. Plus, the scope of the ABC Policy extends to prohibiting Bank’s officials conducting business and maintaining relations with those who are known, associated with or else vulnerable to bribery and corruption.
In keeping with the Bank’s zero-tolerance approach towards bribery and corruption, the FRMC regularly conducts reviews based on Audit, Compliance and HR findings to ensure that the relevant policy stipulations are rigorously adhered to. Employees and other stakeholders are encouraged to report bribery and corruption concerns as per the provisions under the Whistle-blowing Policy of the Bank or any other communication channels available within the Bank and are also required not to make facilitation payments and political contributions in the course of business. Parameters of employee conduct with regard to multiple areas including bribery and corruption is covered in the Employee’s Handbook too which governs and regulates employee conduct and behaviour at work.
DFCC Bank conforms to all applicable environmental and other statutory laws and regulations existing in Sri Lanka. During the year under review, there have been no incidents of non-compliance pertaining to the Bank’s operations, marketing, labelling, loss of consumer data, and other processes, except for the penalty of Rupees one million (LKR 1,000,000/-) imposed by the Financial Intelligence Unit levied for an operational violation over a removal of a restraint order in an account under a freezing order. Bank reiterates the commitment to uphold and comply with all laws and regulations including FIU regulations and directions and has further strengthened controls through systems as well as awareness of staff on the importance of adherence to laws and regulations applicable.