Deshodaya Development Finance to re-launch as Sarvodaya Development Finance

Thursday, 23 July 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Deshodaya Development Finance Company Ltd. (DDFC), a subsidiary of the Sarvodaya Economic Enterprise Development Service (SEEDS) is due to re-launch as Sarvodaya Development Finance Ltd. Approved by the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), the company will continue to focus on micro financing and will function on the principles of the Sarvodaya Movement.

Commenting on the re-launch of the company DDFC Chief Executive Officer Ravindra Ranjith notes, “Sarvodaya is already an established and strong brand name from the grassroots level to the business community. Practicing only the ethical financial principles established by the Founder of the Sarvodaya Movement, DDFC has been able to uplift families and communities, and help eradicate poverty in the country to some extent. With this re-launch we hope to broaden our scope of products and services, thereby being able to extend the services to serve greater target groups like the youth and small entrepreneurs in addition to the micro sector. This will be quite possible with the strength of the brand ‘Sarvodaya’ which has won the confidence of people in this country for many decades.”

The Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya (LJSSS) was started nearly 60 years ago by Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne in the village of Kanatholuwa. Seeing the needs of the villagers there, Dr. Ariyaratne created a movement that would engage the people for the benefit of the people. During its first three decades, the Sarvodaya Movement was able – initially without any assistance, and later within a framework of development cooperation with like-minded organisations – to become one of the largest participatory organisations in this region if not the world.

In order to develop the Economic Development Policy of the movement, Sarvodaya pioneered micro financing in Sri Lanka through SEEDS, the movements financing arm, which was unregulated. However, in 2012 with the intervention of the CBSL, DDFC was set up under the Finance Business Act No.42 of 2011. Following the Central Bank’s Consolidation of Finance Companies Plan, in November 2014, DDFC bought over 75.54% of stake of George Steuart Finance PLC, thereby further strengthening its asset and customer base.

With over 118,000 deposit customers and 52,000 small scale borrowers, DDFC operates 62 units island-wide, 30 branches and 32 customer service centres. The company’s strength over the years has been in the areas of financial inclusion, women’s empowerment, employment generation, and lending for economically viable projects. With 73% of the borrowers being women, SEEDS and DDFC have supported a countless amount of families around the island to uplift their living and economic conditions over the past 25 years.

DDFC Board Chairman Eastman Narangoda also expressing his views on the re-launch said, “In order to ensure the sustainability of the Sarvodaya Movement, a sound financial firm is essential. SEEDS/DDFC has ensured that the Sarvodaya Movement has been able to carry out its mandate while also benefiting the nation. With this re-launch we hope to take that a step further and as a long term strategy to convert Sarvodaya Development Finance Ltd. in to a Development Bank that enriches people’s lives.”

In 2014, DDFC in a private placement allocated 20% of its stake to one of the 20 largest companies in Japan, Gentosha Total Asset Consulting Inc. DDFC is headed by a highly qualified and experienced Board of Directors who will continue to serve in Sarvodaya Development Finance Ltd too. The Chairman of the Board is veteran banker Eastman Narangoda while the Deputy Chairman is Channa De Silva. The board also comprises Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, Dr. Richard Vokes, Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy, Shakila Wijewardena, Shevon Gunaratne, K.L. Gunawardana and Masayoshi Yamashita.