ComBank named Sri Lanka’s Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year

  • Honoured by Asian Banking and Finance for innovation, exceptional service and resilience in pandemic-impacted year

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has been recognised as Sri Lanka’s ‘Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year’ at the 2021 Asian Banking and Finance (ABF) Awards under the ‘Wholesale Banking Awards’ category that honours banks that have successfully handled significant deals or launched innovative initiatives to deliver exceptional services for their clients.

This significant accolade was bestowed on Commercial Bank for its initiatives to strengthen customer relationships, improve service standards, deliver innovative solutions and for being resilient, resisting disruption, and emerging with a stellar performance in the year reviewed, despite the debilitating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bank’s accomplishments in trade finance are underscored by its performance related to key indicators including (trade) market share, turnover, revenue, credit facilities granted for trade, and trade loans obtained.

Commercial Bank’s product innovations contributing to the award include the launch of a new Trade Finance product with the discounting of Usance (or differed) Domestic Letters of Credit and being instrumental in designing a digitalised-screening IT platform. With the aim of providing innovative trade solutions, the Bank also proposed and convinced the regulators to accept e-Documents and made special arrangements to facilitate the clearance of motor vehicles under permit.

These innovations not only benefit the Bank’s trade customers but also the country as they help foster international reputation through honouring letter of credit presentations even in the event of force majeure, the Bank said.

Further, the Bank facilitated business expansion projects with custom-designed trade solutions to enhance business turnovers and reduce financial cost and enabled a large-scale investment project via intricately structured trade terms. In the realm of sustainable initiatives, it also extended its support to a green project that enabled significant greenhouse gas reduction.

The advanced trade tools that contributed towards Commercial Bank winning this award included Reimbursement Authority (RA) Financing, Domestic Letter of Credit bills discounting under special arrangement of Acceptance Financing and Avalyzation of collection of DA billsWith the intention of improving the services offered to this segment, the Bank employed novel, technically advanced, and complex international trade tools, some of them never-before-seen in the Sri Lankan banking industry.

To further support its trade finance customers, the Bank also conducted a series of training sessions for clients and staff with a view to enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of trade deals, and to improve the productivity of both the bank’s and client’s business activities.

Moreover, as a member of Global Trade Finance Programme of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Asian Development Bank (ADB), Commercial Bank, the most awarded Bank in the country, was able to gain better pricing while expanding its capacity based on credit ratings of “AA-.” The Bank maintains a worldwide correspondent bank network that exceeds 1150 banks in more than 100 countries. Nostro banking spans over 56 banks beyond 15 currencies. All these factors contributed towards winning the ‘Domestic Trade Finance Bank of the Year’ award.

Recognised as a leading publication for banking and finance executives in Asia, the Asian Banking and Finance magazine evaluates the most outstanding practices and innovative strategies in Asia’s wholesale banking sector as well as banks that stand out with groundbreaking products and services in the retail banking sphere despite the various challenges their sector faces.

All submissions for the awards were judged by a committee of esteemed industry experts on the uniqueness, innovation, effectiveness, impact, and dynamism of the entered products and services, based on nominations received. Only products and services launched within the past year could be entered.The Asian Banking and Finance Wholesale Banking Awards programme was launched in 2012.

Sri Lanka’s first fully carbon neutral bank, the first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World and the only Sri Lankan bank to be so listed for 11 years consecutively, Commercial Bank operates a network of 268 branches and 931 automated machines in Sri Lanka. The Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.

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