Q: What are your sentiments on the occasion of World Elders’ and Children’s Day?
Director/ CEO: Pan Asia Bank is delighted to wish everyone on the occasion of the World Elders’ and Children’s Day – as two equally important segments in the country that we value immensely. On this happy occasion, I am pleased to greet our youngest and oldest customers and assure them of our fullest support and signature service at all times.
Pan Asia Bank is proud to be the Truly Sri Lankan Bank that is providing targeted financial solutions to fulfill their aspirations. Sri Lanka has a greying population and we believe a product and an exclusive service dedicated to help them continue to generate economic value is delivering benefits for them, their families and for the nation.
Pan Asia Bank’s warm and personalized service and our staff came to the fore during the ongoing pandemic, bringing us closer to our customers because our products are truly designed to cater to their needs. I am especially proud of our staff for upholding the legendary hospitality and warmth Sri Lanka is known for. We stand strong with all customers.
The Bank’s commitment to support the future generations and those in the twilight of their life is most evident in our products and services. Pan Asia offers the highest number of loans to pensioners in the private sector banking industry which reflects how we carry out our mandate as a truly Sri Lankan bank.
Q: In what way does the bank facilitates these two special segments?
Director/ CEO: Pan Asia Bank pioneered the Sammana product for pensioners in 2013 long before any other such products were in the market. Looking beyond the bottom line, we pioneered Sammana to mobilize and rejuvenate retirees to avail of loans to remain productive as we believe they still have many more valuable years to give to society and maintain their financial independence. This was our way of rewarding their immense contribution to building the nation. Loan schemes dedicated to senior citizens were largely considered too risky by other banks, but Pan Asia Bank felt compelled to help pensioners achieve their dreams. As of now we have 40,000 government pensioners in our customer portfolio.
Also when it comes to securing the future of children, a strong higher education is the best gift parents can give their children which is why we devised Daskam children’s accounts in which the bank deposits 10% of the amount parents deposit into Daskan accounts, which is a unique mechanism that encourages families to save more and afford the best higher education for their children. As the Truly Sri Lankan Bank, Pan Asia Bank wants to find financial solutions that address every need felt by every segment of customers from newborns to senior citizens.
Q: How do you see the trajectory of Pan Asia Bank?
Senior DGM: As the Truly Sri Lankan bank, we always understand the needs of our customers and continuously strive to offer them unique products while simultaneously providing unparalleled customer service. We have much to be proud about on the occasion of our 25th anniversary as we have pioneered many firsts in the banking industry in Sri Lanka. The spirit of innovation remains strong and we expect to reach many more milestones in the year ahead.
Q: Pan Asia Bank has earned a name as the preferred choice for pensioners. How did the bank gain this status?
Senior DGM: Sammana is a specialized banking services package tailor-made to government pensioners which was a pioneering product in 2013. This product was initiated mainly with the intention of bringing back the pensioners skills and contribution to the economy by providing them with financial support. Another purpose of this product is to uplift the living standards of pensioners giving an opportunity to create additional income source. Anyone earning over Rs. 6,000/- as pension can avail of this loan and is valid for senior citizens up to 75 years of age for upto Rs. 4 million. We believe senior citizens should look at life beginning at 55 and achieve dreams they couldn’t during their working life with the help of Sammana.
Despite the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka, Pan Asia Bank has sustained its momentum, pioneering new innovations. Aligned with the new government’s manifesto, ’Vision for Prosperity’, which promotes use of technology to enhance efficiency in the state sector, the Department of Pensions reached a landmark milestone recently with the introduction of a facility to enable pensioners to use their fingerprint electronically as a speedy and efficient alternative to providing a life certificate. Subsequently, Pan Asia Bank too made history on 13th of February 2020 when it became the first bank permitted to provide this facility to the pensioner community. This project was initiated alongside the 25th anniversary of the Pan Asia Bank as a ‘Truly Sri Lankan Bank’, firmly committed to uplifting the living standards of all Sri Lankans through its value-adding products and services.
Q: What is the bank’s vision as the Truly Sri Lankan bank? What are the top priorities under this identity?
Senior DGM: In order to benefit our customer across the SME, corporate and retail segments, the Bank has taken focused steps towards this by devising targeted products coupled with our warm and professional staff. Every senior citizen entering our branches is personally greeted by our managers, reflecting the local culture of hospitality and respect. A 24-hour call centre is also available for customers to call for any query.
We are simultaneously operating advanced IT platforms to bring the latest fin-tech solutions for added convenience. In order to ease the burden of the pandemic on SMEs who have been badly hit, the Bank organized a webinar to help SMEs understand strategies for a post-Covid world, in which 250 SME owners participated. Pan Asia Bank is committed to support SMEs irrespective of their scale – big or small – as it considers them to be the lifeblood of our economy.
Our top priority is always the wellbeing of our customers – even though the banking industry is also feeling the brunt of the COVID-19, we continue to support SMEs to mitigate the impact on their business. As a truly Sri Lankan bank our duty is to facilitate our customers and provide financial security.
Q: What has been the impact of Daskam? What benefits do they bring to account holders?
Senior DGM: Education for children is critical step in their future development and considering that 25% of population is 0-15 years old, this is a critical segment that needs to be nurtured well. Daskam’ children’s savings account aims to be a pillar of strength to a child when he/she enters adulthood and takes on life’s challenges such as higher education, marriage, etc.‘Daskam’ account offers a unique “deposit for deposit” feature that enables its balance to grow in greater proportions. Under this feature, every deposit made by the customer to the account will be rewarded by the bank with an additional deposit worth 10% of the customer deposit until the child turns 12 years of age.
Mithuru Max offers most attractive gifts for children in the market such as PS4 Game stations, Tabs, Self-balancing scooters, 6 models of bicycles etc. We are the only bank that issues gifts to account-holders from any one of the 85 Pan Asia Bank branches located island-wide.
We have introduced a special scheme for new born babies. The bank is willing and ready to open a free account even on the day the child is born while offering the initial deposit from bank along with a gift of a baby journal.
Even during the difficult times of COVID 19 pandemic, we reached out to the children in all possible ways by organizing a range of online activities such as virtual Bakthi gee competition and an art competition for children on the theme of “Saluting frontline workers spearheading the nation’s battle against COVID 19’.
To coincide with the Bank’s 25th anniversary, we will have an island-wide promotion during the months of October and November to celebrate world children’s day, world thrift day and the bank’s silver jubilee itself.
Q: How does the bank cater to unique and evolving needs of customers?
Senior DGM: Accelerating our journey of digital transformation, Pan Asia Bank has re-launched ‘Business Internet Banking’ as a better and improved version of the current. We also launched a no fee current account recently to facilitate customers. Technology is at the heart of our delivery and we even launched digital exams for staff so that their learning and development is not disrupted in any way.
Q: What special initiative has the bank taken in the area of Green Financing?
Senior DGM: Pan Asia Bank is a pioneer promoter of green financing in Sri Lanka and plays a pivotal role in making a local positive impact in the sphere of sustainability. Cementing its credentials as a ‘Truly Sri Lankan Bank’, Pan Asia Bank is the proud recipient of the first USD 7.75 million Green Bond launched by the Switzerland-based Symbiotics, the leading market access platform for impact investing. Being awarded this bond at such a turbulent time in the global economy, is a testament to the trust and confidence Symbiotics and SEB have placed in Pan Asia Bank and its commitment to green financing.
Pan Asia Bank was also recognized as the Runner-up in the ‘Product Innovation’ category of the #ClientInnovationAwards2020, held by Infosys Finacle. This accolade is a testimony to the bank’s commitment to drive innovation and continuously enhance customer engagement and service.
The bank took centre-stage at the high-profile ‘Presidential Environment Awards 2019’ in 2019. Pan Asia Bank is the first bank in Sri Lanka to be bestowed with the Global Climate Partnership Award.
Pan Asia has assisted local farmers with irrigation technologies and financing and in currently running a project for sugarcane farmers in Monaragala in addition to the projects in Ippalogama, Kekirawa & Beragala Ambalanthota.
Committed to adding value to its vast SME base of customers, Pan Asia Bank will be utilizing green financing to support and promote local agriculture with special emphasis on encouraging use of indigenous seeds, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector is in urgent need of adoption of sustainable practices and the Bank is at the forefront of green financing in the country.