Overseas Outlook

Mar 13, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Hatton National Bank (HNB) said it is going ahead with overseas expansion in South Asia and the Middle East despite a global economic crunch and political turmoil. HNB had gone into Oman to push remittances through Majan Exchange LLC, which is 40 percent owned by the bank.

“We have just completed regulatory formalities for two more similar operations in the UAE and Canada with the launch of commercial operations due to begin in the first half of 2009 for both,” HNB managing director Rajendra Theagarajah told shareholders.

HNB has also signed a deal with City Union Bank of India to start investment banking there, and was awaiting the nod from the Reserve Bank of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

“We believe the economic meltdown permeating across the region slows regular processes but we have ample faith that we will get the necessary approvals and clearance to start operations soon as HNB has met the required criteria,” Theagarajah said in the bank’s annual report.

Bank officials said HNB has invested around 60 million rupees in the Oman venture which is already functioning.

HNB has also invested a similar amount for a 2