Sri Lanka's best international bank 2019: HSBC
HSBC has been a trailblazer in Sri Lanka’s banking market virtually from the day it opened its doors in Colombo in 1892. Standard Chartered and Citi, the other viable candidates for this award, both have a solid and long-standing presence in the market. But neither can compete with HSBC, which focuses its time and resources on four areas: credit cards, premium banking, big Sri Lankan corporates and foreign multinationals working onshore.
And it is in the categories book-ending these four areas where HSBC really makes its mark. The lender has a 25% market share in credit card receivables and spend. Mark Prothero, chief executive for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, points out that it remains the go-to bank for global corporates looking to take advantage of the island’s nexus of free-trade deals with the likes of India, Europe and Singapore, as well as its open economy, pro-business environment and attractive climate.
HSBC’s strength in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, allied to its status as the most influential and omnipresent foreign bank in China – the source of most of the new FDI inflows into Sri Lanka in 2018 – means it’s likely to remain a strong candidate for this award for years to come.
Its main rival in future years could well hail not from New York or London but from Beijing, with Bank of China keen to become the biggest and best foreign lender in Sri Lanka. We will see.