HSBC Sri Lanka celebrated its 120th year of successful operations in the country on 1 July.
Initially set up in Colombo in 1892 as a bank to facilitate trade finance with China, the entity has evolved over the years to become a full service bank that encompasses commercial and personal banking solutions for a diverse profile of clients. Globally, HSBC serves over 89 million customers in 80 countries and territories.
Since it was established in Sri Lanka in 1892, HSBC has surmounted many economic upheavals locally and globally and sustained its commitment to partnering the growth of the country. HSBC has become one of the most profitable international banks in the country today, helping Sri Lankans fulfill their hopes whilst promoting entrepreneurship and stimulating economic activity.
Over the decades, HSBC has pioneered world-class banking in Sri Lanka as the first bank to computerize operations and the first to set up ATM machines, amongst many other firsts. The bank offers an attractive mix of business, retail banking, trade and payment services and investment banking, all of which make a substantial contribution to bottom line growth.
The Bank has launched its key propositions - HSBC Premier and HSBC Advance providing customers with a comprehensive solution and a superior banking experience covering its international network. HSBC credit cards continue to lead the market with over 45 per cent share of all credit card spend in Sri Lanka.
The recently launched HSBC Visa Signature Credit Card, targeting the high-end travel segment has had an overwhelming response, with HSBC now commanding over 85% of the Signature market share. HSBC Visa Signature will continue to provide best-in-class travel offers specially targeting frequent travellers. HSBC Lifestyle loans continue to be very popular among the mercantile sector executives and with mobile sales teams offering door to door service, it has become a much sought after product for its convenience.
The Bank has recently upgraded both its exclusive HSBC Premier Banking centres at Flower Road and Maitland Crescent to the latest international standards so as to give its valued customers the same banking experience as in London or Singapore. Most branches too now have HSBC Premier dedicated areas and Relationship Managers located onsite to support Premier customers. This committed and personalized service culture has resulted in a loyal and discerning customer base. HSBC intends to add further value to its product and service propositions via new investment related products such as structured products and insurance options on a referral basis.
On corporate banking, in addition to its ‘bread and butter’ business of trade and payments services, HSBC has expanded into non-traditional areas, rising to a dominant position in providing custodial and trustee services to international investors in Sri Lanka’s capital and equity markets. It aims to continue to focus on its key markets both locally and globally, with greater emphasis on capturing international trade flows and connectivity using Trade Financing, Project and Export Finance and Debt Capital markets businesses. Trusted implicitly by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) for its dedication to partner national economic growth (with over US$ two billion of infrastructure finance raised over the past four years) HSBC has been the only bank to be featured on all past GOSL bond issuances and has recently been selected as the Joint Lead Manager (JLM) in the latest proposed sovereign bond issue. In addition the Bank was mandated as JLM in the very successful Bank of Ceylon international bond that raised US$ 500 million and was seven times over subscribed. The Bank hopes to leverage on this prominently accorded status to develop its reach in capital market activities further, and bring more Sri Lankan debut bond issuers to the international markets.
Moreover, HSBC is a strategic partner for leading businesses and sectors in Sri Lanka, operating as a major working capital financier to the garment, tourism, tea and rubber sectors, as well as most multi national companies operating in the country.
As the concept of electronic banking becomes popular, HSBC is ideally poised to cater to this new generation of customers, since it possesses a sophisticated electronic platform and has been repeatedly selected as the best internet bank in the country. The Bank continues to innovate and recently launched HSBCnet Mobile, a new Android phone platform that enables corporate customers to check their balances and statements and authorize payment instructions and receive payment alerts using their smart-phone.
HSBC engages in a range of corporate sustainability initiatives that demonstrates its long term commitment to the citizens of the country. Education and environment being the key areas of focus, the Bank also concentrates on supporting communities at large and preserving the Nations culture and heritage, with many programmes having been launched in support of these initiatives. Building the ICT and English education skills of young people through scholarships and courses; donating equipment to underprivileged schools; sponsoring arts and cultural events, restoration of water reservoirs, park clean-up projects and refurbishment of the National Museum are but a few of its recent corporate sustainability efforts.
The Bank has been able to provide best in class product propositions together with excellent customer service and grow its business over the decades by leveraging on the capability and dedication of its staff, representing the best and brightest in the country, who have endured hardship and overcome various obstacles over the years to continue to provide such service to our customers. Proud of its 120-year-old legacy in Sri Lanka, HSBC reiterates its ongoing commitment to the nation by being the first foreign bank to set up a branch in Jaffna in 2010, and the opening of the HSBC Galle branch in 2011 which has received an overwhelming response. As further demonstration of the Banks’ commitment to Sri Lanka, it has just commenced a full internal refurbishment of its historical Headquarters Building in Fort, at a cost of US$ seven million. HSBC will strengthen itself through the greater provision of products and services that will entrench the institution further into the fabric of the nation, whereby it will be positioned at the forefront of the nation’s banking industry into the next century of operations.
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited is the founding and a principal member of the HSBC Group which serves around 89 million customers through four global businesses: Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets, and Global Private Banking. The HSBC Group's network covers 7,200 offices in 80 countries and territories in six geographical regions: Europe, Hong Kong, Rest of Asia-Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, North America and Latin America. With assets of US$2,556 billion at 31 December 2011, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.