ComBank becomes biggest lender to SME sector disbursing Rs. 195.8 billion
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): One in every three loans provided to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Sri Lanka by lending institutions in 2022 was by the Commercial Bank of Ceylon, recently released official Government figures reveal.
This emphatic reaffirmation of Commercial Bank’s status as the largest lender by far to the country’s SME sector comes in the 2022 Annual Report of the Ministry of Finance, which shows that the Commercial Bank accounted for 34.2% of the total loans provided to the SME sector by commercial and specialised banks.
Commercial Bank lent Rs. 195.852 billion out of Rs. 619.891 billion in loans provided to SMEs by the 18 institutions in 2022, while the number of loans granted by the Bank was 43,427 from the total of 126,899 loans granted in the reviewed year.
Commercial Bank’s contribution was particularly evident in the industries category, with the Bank accounting for more than half of the total number of loans provided to the category by all banks.
Commercial Bank’s Managing Director/ CEO Sanath Manatunge said. The bank’s financial experience built on decades of prudent management, and our adherence to core values and fundamentals definitely add value in catering to these customers.”
He said the Bank objectively assesses the financial requirement of SMEs and seeks lending opportunities in targeted segments such as exports, local manufacture 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.
During the year under review, the special unit assisted many SMEs while providing support services to regenerate their momentum.
SMEs have also faced difficulties in sustaining their operations due to other factors, including the shortage of foreign currency reserves, import restrictions, supply disruptions and resource mobilisation limitations in the reviewed year.
The Bank said it has adopted a systematic approach to help manage various challenges, creating fair opportunities for all customers.
The Bank has made significant contributions to develop the businesses of SMEs by conducting capacity building programs, creating value chains, creating networking opportunities, conducting trade fairs and encouraging SMEs to go digital.
.Commercial Bank recently launched a 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 digitising and networking with other businesses across borders.