Sri Lanka's best international bank 2020: HSBC
For a relatively small country, Sri Lanka has a large number of banks. Domestic banks have reached most parts of the country’s population, seizing market share that once belonged to internationals. But HSBC has refused to be muscled out.
The bank has had a presence in Sri Lanka since 1892 and still has a strong foothold, particularly in commercial banking, global banking and markets, as well as wealth management and personal banking. It reported total assets of SLRs471 billion ($2.6 billion) in Sri Lanka at the end of September.
As the leading international bank, competing with formidable rivals such as Standard Chartered and Citi, HSBC has become the go-to bank for foreign entities looking to access Sri Lanka.
Thanks to its history in China, it has helped to bring businesses to Sri Lanka as part of the Belt and Road Initiative. It has also worked in the opposite direction, helping local corporations to expand internationally. This will become increasingly important as Sri Lankan firms try to expand in the neighbourhood, for example in India and Bangladesh, or even further afield to the US.
Last year, HSBC celebrated 25 years of credit cards in Sri Lanka, yet another space in which the bank has dominated. Since 1994, HSBC had led the way in credit card development in the country, partnering with top merchants to bring the first chip-enabled cards to market. The bank can brag about its position holding the largest credit card payment network in Sri Lanka, with more than 1,200 outlets around the island.
The bank’s global initiatives around sustainability have also reached Sri Lanka. In December, HSBC and the International Union for Conservation of Nature announced a strategy to make Sri Lanka’s apparel industry, one of the country’s largest export sectors, low carbon.
HSBC has been a key, supportive bank for the garment industry in Sri Lanka as the sector has become a global player, and its influence on sustainable practices is an important one.