Seylan eyes aggressive growth plans and innovative products in 2016: CEO

Kapila Ariyaratne

Seylan Bank, ‘the bank with a heart’, identified as one of the six systemically important banks in Sri Lanka by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka believes their best brand ambassadors are their customers.

Perceived as a friendly and caring bank, Seylan saw further expansion as a whole in 2015. The branch network grew up to 159 branches and the ATM network more than 180, exclusive of its student saving centers, island wide.

The bank’s SME, minor savings, retail, corporate and credit card clientele had grown significantly during this year. The bank has fared very well due to the collective efforts of its employees who have stepped up to ensure enhanced performance, across all aspects of banking.

The renewed focus on the credit card segment during the past couple of years and new initiatives have helped Seylan stay on par with others in the market. Seylan Travel cards, the pioneer in Sri Lankan travel banking, provides the opportunity to carry five different currencies in one card for the customer’s foreign currency usage.

Another pioneer product of the bank, Seylan Tikiri has seen tremendous growth and was recognized by SLIM under ‘Turn around brand of the year’ category in 2014 after being re-launched in June 2013. The branches have weekend activations such as Tikiri Pola providing fun and basic knowledge of commerce and banking to its young customers. The bank maintains continuous customer engagement and keeps on evolving the Tikiri product, based on customer feedback, lifestyle changes of kids, etc.

Mr. Kapila Ariyaratne, Director/Chief Executive Officer of Seylan Bank commenting on the bank’s future plans and challenges said, “We are very positive about the future and have aggressive growth strategies planned.  We will continue to innovate, and 2016 will see a range of innovative products from Seylan which will further enhance the bank’s image and create value to its present and future customers.

The main challenge is to adapt to the changes in the way customers do banking and to keep up with that. The technological changes require quite a lot of investment but it is essential in order to stay relevant to the market. Plans are ahead to launch new channels and services that will further enhance and strengthen the image of the institution.”

Seylan believes that expatriate Sri Lankan workers should be looked after in a special way and has expanded their global remittances network during this year. The systems have been improved and constant interactions with the exchange houses, have made processes easier for customers and staff. The bank has spread out to mature markets such as France and Germany, Dubai, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia through Tempo, Cash Express, CIMB and Al Jaseera respectively for the benefit of the customers in Sri Lanka and overseas.

Seylan leasing, another key product in the bank’s portfolio, has grown remarkably with relative to the Sri Lankan vehicle market. Even though the new national budget will have adverse effect on the leasing sector, the bank is ready to face the situation and figure an alternate solution as leasing is important for the bank’s corporate and retail customers.

According to Mr. Ariyaratne, Seylan bank has always been in the forefront when it comes to innovation both in its products and processes believe that digital is the way forward and has taken action to deliver new ways of banking, relevant to the new generation. “The bank is very active on its social and digital media with high engagement of youth.

Due to this, Seylan has been recognized as the ‘Most socially engaging bank’ throughout the year and have won several awards for innovation in terms of social and digital media solutions, globally.” Mr. Ariyaratne mentioned. Understanding the needs of their valuable customers, Seylan has continuously provided with innovative value additions to their products such as Seylan Tikiri’s timely gifts, Seylan Travellers card etc. Seylan has also innovated in the way they work to have a quick turnaround time and efficient service to both customers and staff.

The future of Seylan Bank seems promising and the management and staff of the bank are confident that the strategies planned will take the bank to the next level. The discerning Sri Lankan customer can look forward to more innovative financial offerings from Seylan Bank in 2016.