EditorJanuary 17, 2018


Knowledge Sharing Sessions Aimed at Accelerating Adoption of Digital Payments

Colombo – January 14th, 2018 – Mastercard hosted over 210 senior representatives from banking, financial services and retail, as well as other key stakeholders at the inaugural Digital & Innovation Workshop held at The Hilton, Colombo recently. The event is part of Mastercard’s ongoing efforts to support banks and other stakeholders in consumer payments in formulating digital and payments strategies.

Welcoming partners’ representatives to the event, R. B. Santosh Kumar, Country Manager, Sri Lanka & Maldives, Mastercard said, “We share a long standing bond with Sri Lanka. We were one of the first electronic payments processing network to enter the island and have been present here since the late 80s. Over the years, we have been able to build strong relationships with all our partners and stakeholders and would like to thank them for their continued support.”

Going beyond business interests, Mastercard collaborates with its local partners on a strategic advisory level too, supporting them in driving their cards and digital strategies. Mastercard’s Sri Lanka team has dedicated resources in account management, merchant relationships and business development supporting Mastercard’s global teams and this has allowed Mastercard to work more closely with all stakeholders and serve them better.

“Inspired by the market’s passion for innovation, we strive to bring more of our emerging technologies and world class, secure payment solutions to Sri Lanka. Together, we can help accelerate Sri Lanka’s transformation into a truly cashless society. The Digital & Innovation Workshop is yet another step towards this goal,” added Santosh.

A panel of experts from Mastercard offered a sneak peek into the next wave of Mastercard powered solutions that will be rolled out in Sri Lanka together with its local partners. Sharing their learnings from around the world, these experts also sought to learn more about the local market from the audience.

Tobias Puehse, Vice President, Mastercard Labs, Asia Pacific introduced Mastercard Labs, the company’s global Research & Development arm dedicated to bringing innovative payment solutions to the market with greater speed. Satya Padhiary, Director of Digital Payments and Head of Push Payments, Mastercard, shed light on Masterpass QR – a fast, secure, convenient and cost-effective electronic payment solution that provides a viable alternative to cash. He also spoke about Mastercard Send, a first-of-its-kind interoperable global platform that enables funds to be sent quickly and securely via disbursements, domestic peer to peer (P2P) payments and cross-border P2P payments.

Varun Sakhuja, Head of Merchant Development, South Asia, Mastercard highlighted how Mastercard was bringing innovation to retail payments and shared insights on its strategic merchant partnerships. Gaurav Batra, Division Lead, South Asia, Mastercard Advisors, introduced Mastercard Advisors to the audience. It is the professional services arm of Mastercard that provides near real-time transaction data and proprietary analysis, data-driven consulting, and marketing services solutions to help clients optimize, streamline and grow their businesses.

Gautam Pande, Director of Market Product Management, Mastercard spoke about authentication and identity solutions and Krishnadas Mohandas, Director of Product Management, Mastercard, shed light on Mastercard Digital Solutions. Shubhrendu Koche, Vice President, Business Development, Mastercard apprised the audience on how Mastercard Smart Cities is making cities smarter, more sustainable and more inclusive though data driven insights, advanced technologies and its global network.

Participants appreciated the valuable insights shared by the team from Mastercard.

EditorJanuary 17, 2018


From left - Mr. D. R. S. Hapuarachchi, Senior Commissioner, Inland Revenue Department; Mr. Anura Wickramasekera, Deputy Director, Sri Lanka Export Development Board; Mrs. Ayodya Iddawela Perera, Deputy General Manager - Corporate Banking, Sampath Bank PLC; Mr. C. S. Achala Chandrasekare, Deputy Director of Customs; Ms. Kumudini Vidyalankara, Assistant Controller, Import & Export Control Department; and Mr. K. G. Jayawardane, Deputy Director of Customs

EditorJanuary 16, 2018


Activates EMV processing on LankaPay transactions

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has announced that it has enabled its entire automated teller machine (ATM) network to acquire and process ATM transactions through the EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) integrated circuit, becoming the first ATM Network to be fully EMV compliant in Sri Lanka.

Commercial Bank is also the first bank in Sri Lanka to activate its entire EMV chip card base (Debit and Credit cards) to perform secured EMV transactions through the LankaPay ATM network, making it possible for the Bank’s own cardholders to securely perform transactions using other bank ATMs connected through the LankaPay network.

EMV is a secured platform to perform ATM and Point-of-Sale (POS) transactions where transaction authentication is performed through the integrated chip, preventing counterfeiting of card data residing in the chip.

“Commercial Bank is focussed on technological innovations that deliver meaningful benefits to customers,” said Mr Jegan Durairatnam, Managing Director of Commercial Bank. “These latest developments are noteworthy because they address a primary concern on transaction security. We have once again demonstrated Commercial Bank’s superiority in the IT and digital landscape by validating our entire ATM network for EMV compliance on the LankaPay platform.”

The Commercial Bank ATM network was already EMV-certified with international card schemes such as MasterCard, Visa and Union Pay.

Mr Durairatnam said the wide spread of Commercial Bank’s ATM network, currently numbering 756 terminals, and the availability of ATMs at many off-site locations and public locations such as bus stands and railway stations, makes its integration with LankaPay particularly beneficial to the general public.

LankaPay is owned by LankaClear (Pvt) Ltd. which was incorporated in February 2002 as the National Cheque Clearing House, and is today considered the ‘National Payment Infrastructure Provider’ for the country. Owned by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and all Licensed Commercial Banks operating in the country, the company offers multiple solutions not only for the banking sector but also across all industries that are ready and willing to adopt/ integrate to the latest digital technology driving Sri Lanka toward an efficient, green, and paperless nation.

Commercial Bank achieved another first with LankaClear two years ago when it made it possible for users of the Bank’s Online Banking facility to make instant, real-time transfers of funds from their Commercial Bank accounts to accounts in other banks, via the LankaPay – Common Electronic Fund Transfer Switch (CEFTS).

The Commercial Bank ATM network is the largest owned by a private bank in Sri Lanka, and has over the years set and rewritten many records for cash dispensed during times of national celebrations such as the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and Christmas. Commercial Bank ATMs support the networks of Mastercard, Maestro, Cirrus, Visa, Plus, Amex, UnionPay, Discover and Diner’s Club, enabling tourists and other visitors to Sri Lanka to withdraw money from their overseas issued cards for spending in the country.

The upgrade of the ATM network to EMV Chip capability means that every Commercial Bank ATM accepts and processes transactions based on Smart Card Integrated Circuit (IC) data as well as magnetic strip data.

The only Sri Lankan bank to be ranked among the Top 1000 Banks of the World for seven years consecutively, Commercial Bank has won more than 30 international and local awards in 2016 and 2017 and has over the years received multiple awards as Sri Lanka’s Best Bank, Best Trade Bank, Strongest Bank and Most Respected Bank from a number of local and international institutions and publications.

Commercial Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets, Myanmar, where it has a Representative Office in Yangon, the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake and Italy, where the Bank operates its own money transfer service.

EditorJanuary 14, 2018


Friday 12th January 2018, Colombo: Sri Lanka’s #1 investment banking firm and the preferred partner in financial markets, Capital Alliance Partners Limited (CAL), enters the year 2018 on a high note. Having sealed a number of transactions across all 3 business verticals in Debt Capital Markets, Equity Capital Markets and Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) advisory, CAL consolidated its dominance as the leading Investment Bank in Sri Lanka. The transactions highlighted CAL’s ability to liaise with investors and clients alike to successfully close cross border transactions with leading entities in Sri Lanka and across the globe.

During 2017, Jetwing Symphony Limited (“JETS”), the investment arm of the renowned leisure brand Jetwing, went public by way of an Initial Public Offering, raising LKR 753mn for 10% of its shareholding. In spite of the leisure industry having a negative outlook amongst investors, CAL’s ability to forecast market conditions and understand the needs of the investors helped CAL secure two cornerstone investors, who took up 50% of the total issue value and provided confidence to other investors. The issue was oversubscribed on the opening day. It’s noteworthy that CAL introduced a formal book building process into Sri Lankan markets after an absence of nearly 10 years.

Continuing its success in Debt Capital Markets, CAL was the sole financial Advisor and Manager to the LKR 3bn Debenture issue for LB Finance PLC. CAL functioned in both an advisory and administrative capacity as managers to the issue, generating a significant demand from all institutional investors and high net worth individuals. The issue received over LKR 3.3bn in subscription before close of day, despite it being the first listed issue after many months of uncertainty surrounding tax treatment of interest income.

Notably, CAL was also a placement agent to the first Basel III compliant convertible debenture issue in Sri Lanka, for Sampath Bank. The issue generated a significant amount of enthusiasm amongst investors to be oversubscribed by 1.5 times the issue value cumulatively raising LKR 9 bn. Being the first Basel III compliant issue in the country, this issue set the benchmark for any and all future debenture issues in the country. This was the largest debenture issue for the year 2017.

Further, CAL was the sole Financial Advisor and Manager to the LKR 2.75bn Debenture issue of Lanka ORIX Leasing Company.  The issue was privately placed and the first debt introduction in the market after a significant time period, successfully completed through CAL’s expertise.

Going from strength to strength during 2017, CAL went on to advise Lanka Century Investments (LCI) PLC, on the Management backed acquisition of Millennium IT’s enterprise solutions business from the London Stock Exchange Group. LCI, with the strategic intent of diversifying into the IT solutions and services industry, provided financial backing for the acquisition to buy a 100% stake of Millennium Information Technologies (Pvt) Ltd, the enterprise solutions business of Millennium IT. CAL strategically brought together a consortium of investors (comprising of the Management of MIT ESP and LCI), structured in a way that proved beneficial to all investors. The Management consortium bought this stake of 2,755,863 shares in MIT for a consideration of LKR1.08 billion.

CAL’s M&A team also functioned as buy side Advisors to Sunshine Holdings PLC to increase latter’s shareholding to 60% in Estate Management Services (Pvt) Ltd, buying out Tata Global Beverages Limited at a valuation of LKR 9bn. CAL played a critical role in providing valuation recommendations, strategic fit of acquisition, deal structuring, negotiations with the sell-side and advice on financing of the transaction, making this the second cross border M&A transaction for the year.

Commenting on this trend of exponential growth, Ajith Fernando, Managing Director of CAL said: “The CAL team is proud to have secured and executed some of the leading deals including an IPO and cross border transactions in the past year. As a full service investment bank including equity brokering, asset management and financial advisory, CAL is uniquely positioned to offer Sri Lankan corporates the opportunity to leverage on our expertise and impeccable credentials to meet their financial objectives. Our extensive portfolio of services encompasses every expert requirement for a successful transaction, placing us distinctly at the forefront of the industry.

EditorJanuary 11, 2018


Thursday 11th January 2018, Colombo: As the official banking partner for the Fairway Galle Literary Festival to be held from 24th to 28th January 2018, DFCC Bank aims to strengthen its commitment to supporting literature and art in Sri Lanka.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Mr. Lakshman Silva, CEO-DFCC Bank and Mr. Geoffrey P Dobbs, Festival Founder of the Fairway Galle Literary Festival, in the presence of the management and team members of both organizations to seal the partnership.

Commenting on the partnership, Lakshman Silva – CEO, DFCC Bank, said: “We are privileged to partner the high profile and exclusive literary festival which provides an ideal platform to showcase Sri Lanka to the world. DFCC has been strengthening its presence in the south in recent years and we will be arranging activities around the Literary Festival to enable our customers to be a part of this event and to have an up close and personal interaction with the multitude of both international and local artists and authors who will be participating at the Festival.”

This year’s Festival reflects the rich diversity of human thought, learning and reflection on medicine, art, architecture, restoration, conservation, legal history, music, poetry, history, politics, education, drama and journalism.

The continued success of the festival has truly motivated to expand and develop key aspects of the event each year, and encourage greater levels of engagement at the festival whilst achieving greater publicity for the event at large. The 2018 festival will also feature a diverse and talented line-up of creative personalities, who will conduct readings and share their latest work with attendees.

The southern region remains one of the bank’s key areas for expansion and growth, attracting an increasing number of customers seeking reliable financial services that support their personal and business needs and specific lending requirements. The partnership will help to highlight the Bank’s growing presence in the southern region, one of its key areas for growth and expansion. Serving customers as a fully-fledged commercial bank, DFCC Bank offers a full-spectrum of products for personal, corporate and SME customers. DFCC Bank prides itself on delivering tailor-made products that are designed to meet the specific lifestyle needs of customers, attractive interest rates, structured repayment plans, easy access to all funds and fast and prompt support.

EditorJanuary 10, 2018


Colombo, Sri Lanka, January 09, 2018 – IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) to develop the country’s first National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) to promote a more effective and efficient process to improve financial inclusion across Sri Lanka.

IFC, over the course of the project, will provide technical assistance to CBSL to develop the NFIS, via an extensive development process involving consultations with members of the public sector, private sector, civil society organizations, and academia. The process provides an important opportunity to introduce an evidence-based, prioritized, better resourced, and more comprehensive approach to expanding access to financial services.

“CBSL has identified the need to develop a strategy for Financial Inclusion at the national level to achieve sustainable development and create a conducive financial environment to bring under-served segments of society to the formal financial sector,” said Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Governor, CBSL. “It will provide guidance on the directions for the country to achieve an inclusive financial system where people have effective access to a range of affordable financial services.”

The development of the strategy will be led by CBSL with the support of the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance & Mass Media, IFC and all financial sector stakeholders.

“Financial inclusion is a priority for the World Bank Group for achieving universal financial access by 2020,” said Amena Arif, IFC Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives. “This National Financial Inclusion Strategy will not only improve access to, and usage of, financial services, but will also contribute to overall inclusive growth in Sri Lanka.”

By embarking on the development of this strategy, Sri Lanka is moving towards joining more than 30 countries that have launched similar strategies.

Sri Lanka is a priority country for IFC. IFC’s committed portfolio in Sri Lanka covers projects across a range of sectors, including infrastructure, tourism, renewable energy, finance, and healthcare. IFC also provides advisory services to promote sustainable growth among small and medium enterprises by facilitating access to finance and by offering capacity-building and training opportunities.

EditorJanuary 9, 2018


The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has introduced mobile banking in the literal sense with the launch of ‘Bank on Wheels’ – a modified and branded vehicle designed to provide basic over-the-counter banking facilities to customers living outside city limits.

The mobile unit is equipped with a Cash Recycling Machine (CRM) which is an all-in-one deposit and withdrawal machine. It has an in-built banking counter that facilitates opening of bank accounts, accepts loan applications, utility bill and remittance payments. The unit also carries out marketing and customer awareness programmes.

Operating from 9.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. on weekdays, the unit will reach identified locations at preplanned times at frequent intervals and will function as a mobile bank for these locations. The scheduled visiting times for the locations on its route will be displayed on the mobile bank for the information of customers.

Commercial Bank’s Chief Operating Officer Mr S. Renganathan accompanied by Mrs Sandra Walgama, Deputy General Manager – Personal Banking cuts the ribbon to ceremonially launch ‘Bank on Wheels’

About us

Lanka Business News is amongst the leading online Business News portals in Sri Lanka, unique for its focus on contemporary business news relevant across multiple industries operating in the country. We present not only the news, but a perspective based on observations and possible implications of a prevailing news item. LBN also provides an insight to the impact of a global economic or industrial development, thus helping stakeholders make informed and calculated decisions.

Contact Us

229, Cotta Road, Borella, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka

+94 (0)11 448 7676