Sri Lanka's best domestic bank 2019: NDB Bank
NDB Bank’s evolution into Sri Lanka’s best-run lender didn’t happen overnight. The bank started life as a development lender in 1979, and was privatized and listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange in 1993.
Each year since, it has taken another step forward, establishing itself as a firm member of the country’s elite banking fraternity. It isn’t the largest lender (a few of its peers claim a higher market value), but for many years it has been the fastest-growing bank of scale.
In the nine months to the end of September 2018, NDB’s net interest income grew at a faster annualized pace than at any of its three main commercial banking rivals; that was also true of its rate of growth for pre-tax and post-tax profit. It reported a higher return on assets than any of its peers over the same period and, at 2.6%, a lower ratio of non-performing loans to total lending. Customer deposits rose 20.2% year on year in the third quarter of 2018, nearly twice the rate of its nearest competitor, while total loans expanded 19.2%.
Dimantha Seneviratne, group chief executive, tells Asiamoney that being Sri Lanka’s most profitable bank “matters, but so does our high morale, the roll-out of new initiatives, and everyone working toward one goal”.
One such initiative is NDB Neos: the first of these fully digital and paperless branches was unveiled in Colombo, and NDB plans to roll out more around the country.
At the heart of its ‘Transformation 2020’ plan – which aims to reinforce its position as a systemically important lender – are its small and medium-sized enterprise clients, with NDB extending complex services, including supply chain finance, to smaller firms.
Its premium banking division also enjoyed a triple boost in 2018, courtesy of a 24% year-on-year increase in deposits, the opening of three new dedicated high net-worth branches and the launch of Islamic banking services that adhere to Shariah law.