Interviewed By Editorial
Jonathan Alles, managing director and CEO at Hatton National Bank, received Leadership Achievement Award for Best COVID-19 Response in Sri Lanka at the Leadership Achievement Awards Virtual Ceremony 2020 presented by The Asian Banker.
Jonathan Alles, managing director and CEO at Hatton National Bank, received Leadership Achievement Award for Best COVID-19 Response in Sri Lanka at the Leadership Achievement Awards Virtual Ceremony 2020 presented by The Asian Banker. Hatton National Bank was awarded Best Managed Bank during COVID-19 in Sri Lanka during the ceremony.
Hatton National Bank provided digital solutions to customers while ensuring maximum safety
Through the proactive calls and support provided by its 24-hours, seven-days-a-week omnichannel call centre, the bank saw new registrations in e-banking increased by more than five times during the lockdown compared to a normal month.
The bank’s digital product range – which covers mobile point-of-sale as well as internet payment gateway-based and quick response-based payments – supports the government’s social distancing initiative in delivering essential items to people’s doorsteps. Its QR-based payment app gained significant traction with the number of merchants growing by 12% during the six-week period until the lockdown was relaxed. Meanwhile, IPG usage was up by nearly two to three folds during the period.
Intensified the focus on management of liquidity risk and credit risk
Under the leadership of Alles, the bank intensified the focus on liquidity management and thus its liquid asset ratio remained over 31%, well above the statutory requirement of 20%. The bank also issued new policy guidelines on credit underwriting which are being reviewed periodically based on the macro factors. Additionally, a Special Asset Management unit was set up to manage the asset quality.
Various steps have been taken to support its customers and community
Alles led the bank in creating a $27 million fund to support customers who were not eligible for the central bank’s relief package. The bank also helped clients to avail of the central bank’s credit guarantee and subsidy scheme where funds were lent out of its own treasury. It supported nearly 50,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) affected by COVID-19 through moratoriums and working capital finance totalling over $543 million.
In addition, the bank donated 64 fire extinguishers to protect medical stores at the Infectious Diseases Hospital which is the main hospital treating COVID-19 patients. It also supported the installation of plastic water tanks for a supplementary water distribution system to wards and improved air flow by providing insulated flexible ducts.
Alles in his acceptance speech said, “Our commitment and alignment with national vision and the people of the country tell us that we need to come up with new product development, new packages, new entrepreneurship models, in order to support the nation and its people”.
For video of the Leadership Dialogue and Leadership Achievement Awards Virtual Ceremony, please click here.
About Leadership Achievement during COVID-19 Awards
The Asian Banker conducts the annual Leadership Achievement Awards programme that focuses on the performance of CEOs/chairmen and boards in the financial services industry in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. This year, the Awards are specifically aimed at evaluating the performance and response of CEOs/chairmen and the banks that they lead during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the initiatives implemented to help customers and society at large through the crisis. Shortlisted candidates and institutions were evaluated on the level of digitalisation of operations and processes; risk management capabilities, especially around credit and liquidity risk management; how they deploy their own funds in a manner relevant to the societies they serve; and how they create social capital, the means by which they justify their value through the contributions to the communities they serve.