People’s Bank digitalisation drive strengthens nation’s digital footprint

Friday, 8 September 2017 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Since its inception 56 years ago, People’s Bank has supported customers across the country with practical and convenient financial products and services that meet their unique needs and uplift their lives. The bank has been a long-standing institution that has relentlessly pushed boundaries and driven innovation to evolve services in line with customer expectations. 

In 2015, People’s Bank took a strategic decision to embark on a historic digitalisation drive to become the most digitalised bank in Sri Lanka, in order to continue offering greater competitiveness to customers, while focusing on aspiring entrepreneurs and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The digitalisation process will help the bank keep abreast with the digital transformation taking place in the global financial and banking sector.

Thus, People’s Bank selected the most advanced technology platform to implement the digitalisation process which is easy to upscale anis capable of meeting expansion capacity requirements into the future. This technology is the first-of-its kind to be introduced to the Sri Lankan market and has given the bank an unprecedented advantage in the banking sector. There is no doubt that most products and services are moving towards digital platforms and People’s Bank is clearly leading the way. 

The bank re-launched its corporate logo to reflect its renewed identity as a customer-centric bank that meets people’s aspirations to be in line with global trends, thereby re emphasising the ethos the bank stands for such as convenience, reliability and confidence to improve the quality of their daily lives. 

People’s Bank is working towards being the most successful bank in Sri Lanka through the digitisation of its services. The bank currently serves over 17.9 million customer account relationships, through 737 branches, and is also connected to a network of over 4,000 ATMs which are linked through the Lanka Pay gateway. People’s Bank is in the ideal position to take the convenience of digitalised banking services to all citizens of Sri Lanka. 

Commenting on the digitalisation drive, People’s Bank Chief Executive Officer/General Manager N. Vasantha Kumar stated: “People’s Bank is dedicated to serving the nation by providing a comprehensive range of banking solutions and financial services to citizens from all walks of life, across the entire island. Our commitment to customer convenience has inspired People’s Bank’s digitalisation drive to deliver enhanced services to empower our customers. As the bank with one of the largest customer bases in Sri Lanka’s banking industry, People’s Bank is demonstrating its leadership status by launching digitalisation initiatives in alignment with the latest global consumer and market trends. We believe this process of digitalisation will deliver multiple benefits to the nation.”

Since the launch of the process, the bank has been rolling out digital initiatives. The People’s Bank Voice App, which empowers customers to check their account balance via their mobile phones by a simple voice command, is the first of many apps that the bank is rolling out, thereby extending convenience to its customers to enable a seamless banking experience on their Android and Windows smartphones. 

Another step is green banking with the YES account for youth in the country to embrace green banking. Sustainability remains at the core of the digitalisation drive and the People’s Green Pulse enshrines a comprehensive environment protection policy of the Bank.

People’s Bank Head of IT Sandalal Edirisinghe stated: “Banking on-the-go or mobile banking is one of the key trends worldwide and Sri Lanka too must keep pace. As a bank with the largest customer bases in the nation’s banking industry, our digitalisation efforts can empower a large proportion of the population to become financially aware and empowered by our digital technology backed financial solutions. We are proud to lead the way in the digitalisation of Sri Lanka’s banking sector.” 

The digitalisation process has involved extensive staff training on digital Omni channels and digital marketing. Although digital banking is mainly for the tech-savvy Generation Y and Millennial, the bank is retaining hybrid branches to educate technology-shy customers on how online banking can benefit them. The bank continues to cater to the customer who still loves to visit the branch and have personal contact with the staff whilst tapping into the aspirations of the new generations. 

People’s Bank Deputy General Manager – Digitalisation Ranjith Kodituwakku added: “The digitalisation project that has been initiated by People’s Bank spans a quick and easy digital banking experience to account opening, loan origination, mobile banking and internet banking, thereby transforming entire banking operations: our applications, our customer touch-points, the business process flow, the operational flow, simply the entire process that leads to transforming the bank in to the next level. By becoming the Most Digitalised Bank in Sri Lanka, People’s Bank will have the bandwidth to ensure universal access for all, thereby achieving total financial inclusion. The bank’s ambitious digitalisation drive will empower it to deliver a seamless digital experience to customers and elevate Sri Lanka’s banking and financial services to an international digital platform.”

Taking digital banking to the next level and introducing green banking to youth, People’s Bank has established Self-Banking Centres equipped with the most modern ATM, CDM and Kiosks. The touch-screen CDM/ATM/Kiosks are accessible 24-hours a day, 365-days-a-year, further enhancing convenience for customers and putting them in control of where, when and how they would like to conduct their banking needs. The CDM even enables utility bill payments by cash apart from facilitating cash deposits and balance enquiry. 

The ATM, apart from offering standard features, also offers cardless cash withdrawals and cash advances on credit cards, modified to better suit customer needs. Bill payment is facilitated directly through the account by the CDM and the Kiosk, with real-time update facility for customers as well as non customers. Customers even have the facility of creating daily withdrawal limits upon customer requirements. The Self-Banking units are now established at many locations, with the vision to reach 100 Self-Banking Centres across the country by the end of the year. 

The first phase of People’s Bank’s digitalisation drive culminated recently with the opening of the fully-fledged Digital Centre by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at York Street, Colombo 1. It is the first fully Digitalised Bank Branch offering a unique banking experience, thus creating history in Sri Lanka’s banking industry. 

The bank further launched the most advanced account opening process at this digital branch simultaneously to allow customers to experience how its digitalisation initiatives will streamline and simplify their financial affairs by offering speed and convenience. Initially, customers visiting the Digital Centre will have bank staff on hand to assist them to navigate Digital Banking Products on electronic devices provided by the bank until they feel comfortable to conduct transactions without assistance. The launch of this Digital Centre marks a quantum leap for the bank in its dynamic leadership to become the most digitalised bank by the year 2020, to unlock the benefits of digitalisation for its customers.

Progressing towards the future, People’s Bank plans to take digital banking to the doorstep of rural consumers so that they conduct their transactions on their mobile devices and expects to roll out more fully digitalised branches over the coming months, thus fulfilling its sustainability pledge to reduce its carbon footprint and benefit the environment by promoting paperless banking.

The bank also continues to play an important role in encouraging various industries including agriculture, real estate, commercial development, SMEs and exports, and this in turn has helped support communities across the country. People’s Bank has always been a driver of financial inclusivity and was the first bank in the country to commence bilingual operations in Sinhala, Tamil and English, and thereafter, also introduced Sri Lanka’s first trilingual cheque book and continues to evolve and march forward, guiding the nation.