Climbing Up

Feb. 16 (LBO) – State owned People’s Bank is hoping for a credit upgrade in the near future, a top official said. General Manager Asoka de Silva says a recent capital injection has strengthened its balance sheet, and profitability remains on track.

“We are hoping that our rating would go up by at least one notch,” de Silva said.

Fitch Ratings has given People’s Bank a BBB+ (sri), and a one-notch upgrade would give the bank a rating of A- (sri).

People’s Bank has been on the path to profitability since its management was overhauled five years ago and political interference minimised.

But a capital deficiency brought on by bad lending in earlier years has weighed down the bank.

Though the bank is now profitable, it has not been able to generate enough capital internally to match its growing balance sheet.

Late last year the government started injecting capital, using Asian Development Bank financing.

ADB agreed to inject Rs. 6 billion or US$ 60 million, on condition that the bank meets its performance targets.

The first tranche of Rs. 2 billion was transferred to the bank dur