Sri Lanka's best digital bank 2018: Hatton National Bank
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Sri Lanka's best digital bank 2018: Hatton National Bank

Hatton National Bank

Jonathan Alles, MD and CEO, Hatton National Bank (HNB).jpg
Jonathan Alles, Hatton National Bank

Asiamoney met every big lender in Sri Lanka in February, and each one discussed at great length its digital banking credentials. Most Sri Lankan lenders now possess a pretty credible online banking platform, but Hatton National Bank garners not just the support of its clientele for its offering, but also the respect of its peers.

“The best at digital banking,” says a senior executive at a rival lender.

HNB’s success under chief executive Jonathan Alles lies in building up its expertise over time, adding layers as it goes. In an island where cash remains a large part of the economy, HNB has been notable in its ability to convince customers to use multi-functional ATMs rather than physical tellers: in 2017, 82.5% of withdrawals and 20% of deposits were processed via the bank’s cash machines.

To its online banking services, it has added a sophisticated mobile banking app. At the end of 2017, it had 85,000 electronic banking customers, up 85% from the previous year, with online banking volumes rising SLRs17 billion ($110 million) over the same period.

Next up in 2018: the opening of four digital bank branches, the rollout of a QR code payments system and, from June, a Hatton bank-badged mobile wallet.

Finally, there is the bank’s Smart Pay service, a near-field communication debit card that caters to schoolchildren, allowing them to pay for goods at permitted retail outlets, and providing parents and teachers with a full picture of where they shop, eat and drink.

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