One of the rapidly growing banks in Sri Lanka today, Nations Trust Bank (NTB) recorded significant growth in the first quarter of 2011 with a post tax profit growth of 76% over the same period in 2010. Having posted Rs. 376 million as Profit after Tax and Rs. 684 million as Profit before Tax, the bank is now looking forward for further growth over the remainder of the year.
Chief Executive Officer of NTB Saliya Rajakaruna told the Daily FT that the bank was geared to ride the wave of growth along with the anticipated economic escalation in the country. “The first quarter performance of the bank has been noteworthy. With 76% growth in Profit after Tax and 29% growth in Profit before Tax, we are confident that performance will get much better as the year rolls by,” Rajakaruna said.
He acknowledged that the profit increase is attributed not only to taxation, but also to the performance of the bank’s core business – deposit taking and loan activity. He said that the loan volumes had grown from Rs. 37.3 billion in March 2010 to Rs. 46.8billion in March 2011, an increase of some 25% during the period.
Rajakaruna listed a number of other factors that have also helped the bank increase its profit and performance: “We have re-priced deposits in a timely manner, while the mix of deposits moved to low cost funds. Our expense management has been good, with the bank keeping to the set budget.”
Capital market activity such as IPOs, trade-related business and the income generated by the credit card business has also played its part to improve the bank’s performance. New business volume increase, provisions for bad loans getting better as well as the pay off of the investment put forward for branding also paid off well and its results are shown in a healthy balance sheet.
NTB, which opened its 42nd branch in Kalmunai earlier this week, saw much enthusiasm and interest from the people in the area. Going by that and economic activity within the country, Rajakaruna stated that a clear impression was emerging that the economy was certainly growing. “What is good is that the growth is not limited to Colombo. There is inclusive growth and filtering-down of activity. This is ideal for a developing economy,” he said.
Flying high on success, NTB has plans to open another eight to 10 branches this year and possibly a similar number in 2012. “Our branch expansion is a well-thought-out expansion process. We investigate extensively before opening up shop and as our branches are different to the usual run-of-the-mill offices, with value additions such as space and light, we are very careful when choosing locations.”
NTB, Rajakaruna admits, has all the products every other bank offers. What is different is that the bank offers much more than simply products, he said, adding that it offers service aimed at differentiating and enhancing the banking experience of the customers.
With the likes of 365 day banking, 24 hour contact centres, mini branches and banking in all three languages, NTB offers innovative and value-added solutions to its customers. To do so, it places well-trained employees in front of customers to deliver the solutions.
More products and services for the customers are in the pipeline, Rajakaruna revealed, citing new housing loan schemes and products to suit the ageing profile of the community as examples. Incremental business in the north and east is also on the cards.