Viable Proposition

Oct 18, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Hatton National Bank aims to increase lending under its micro-finance portfolio as it has been found to be good business although misunderstood by many, chief executive Rajendra Theagarajah said. “Micro-finance is part of the ‘DNA’ of HNB, even though it accounts for only two percent of our balance sheet,” he said.

“We are increasing the proportion of this balance sheet towards this sector, not as charity but as a viable business proposition.”

Micro-finance helps ensure more people, especially the poor, have access to funding, he told a news conference held alongside the Asia Microfinance Forum 2010 in Colombo.

The forum, organised by the Banking With the Poor Network and the Foundation for Development Cooperation, examined the role of microfinance in ensuring that poor and low-income people have access to reliable financial services.

Theagarajah said there was still a great misunderstanding about micro-finance especially among commercial banks.

“Many commercial banks are now saying they want to down scale into micro finance.”

Banks like HNB were trying to build partnerships between small entrepreneurs and big corporate clients, Theagarajah said.

“We are tryi