ComBank biggest lender to Sri Lanka’s SMEs for 4th consecutive year

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon was the biggest lender to Sri Lanka’s small and medium enterprises (SME) sector by a huge margin in 2023, accounting for nearly a third of the value of the loans disbursed by a total of 17 state and private sector lending institutions, the Ministry of Finance has confirmed.

According to the Ministry’s Final Budget Position Report (Annual Report) for 2023, Commercial Bank lent Rs 231.655 billion out of the total loans of Rs 704.142 billion to SMEs, accounting for 33% of the total in value terms. 

This is the fourth consecutive year that Commercial Bank has been the biggest lender to the country’s small and medium enterprises, which, according to the Ministry of Finance, contribute 52% of the country’s Gross Domestic Production (GDP), 45% of employment, and 20% of exports. 

Commenting on the Bank’s commitment to the SME sector, Commercial Bank Managing Director/CEO Mr Sanath Manatunge said: “Small and Medium Enterprises are the backbone of our economy, requiring substantial support in the current volatile economic conditions. Since the early 1970s, Commercial Bank has strategically focused on the holistic growth of this sector. Our efforts have positioned us as the largest lender to SMEs for the fourth consecutive year. Our lending to SMEs has grown from Rs 163.9 billion in 2020 to Rs 231.6 billion in 2023, establishing the Bank’s steadfast commitment to the sector.”

Commercial Bank objectively assesses the financial requirements of SMEs and seeks lending opportunities in targeted segments such as exports, local manufacture, women-led businesses and import substitution industries, to which financial assistance is extended through the concessionary credit lines secured by the Bank. In order to revitalise businesses that are under-performing due to various reasons, the Bank setup a Business Revival and Rehabilitation Unit in 2020 to proactively support businesses that show early warning signals. 

The Bank has also made significant contributions to develop the businesses of SMEs by conducting capacity building programmes titled ‘Viyapara Diriya,’ by creating value chains and networking opportunities, conducting trade fairs and encouraging SMEs to go digital. This includes the Bank’s comprehensive Business ecosystem branded ‘Commercial Bank LEAP GlobalLinker’ – a digital platform designed to help businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, to transition to the global market by digitizing and networking with other businesses across borders. Built in compliance with international standards and powered by GlobalLinker, the platform makes it possible to create online stores for SMEs to promote their products and services, and expand customer networks, investors, and suppliers domestically and internationally, in order to grow and to be competitive in the global landscape.

Sri Lanka’s first 100% carbon neutral bank, Commercial Bank is the largest private sector bank in Sri Lanka and the first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World. The Bank is a leader in digital innovation in the country’s Banking sector, operates a strategically-located network of branches and 966 automated machines island-wide, and has the widest international footprint among Sri Lankan Banks, with 20 outlets in Bangladesh, a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, and a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake in the Maldives.

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