National Savings Bank (NSB), Sri Lanka’s premier savings bank was established 39 years ago on 16 March 1972 with the objective of ‘promotion of savings among the people of Sri Lanka, particularly among those with limited means, and the profitable investment of savings so mobilised.’
The founder of the Bank Dr. N M Perera told the Parliament in presenting the draft bill that the proposed bank will inculcate the habit of savings in the minds of the people, especially those in rural areas and thereby draw a portion of the money in their hands which would otherwise be spent on various other activities.
Since then National Savings Bank (NSB) has flourished into Sri Lanka’s premier savings bank instrumental in promoting the habit of savings and thrift in the people and thus paving way for individuals’ as well as the country’s development.
Today, marking the 39th milestone of its journey with the people of the country, NSB stands tall among the banking giants with 16.3 m accounts, Rs. 403 b assets, Rs. 355 b deposits and Rs. 76 b retail lendings.
“Our objective is to mobilise people’s deposits and give back to them in the form of credit so that their money is invested in their own soil,” NSB General Manager and CEO Hennayake Bandara said.
Year 2010, declared as ‘the Year of Change’ by the Bank on account of the recovery of global as well as local economy after financial crisis, new government with strong political stability, development projects embarked by the government, proliferation of startup businesses and more importantly the new leadership of the Bank, was indeed a turnaround year for the Bank.
While the country experienced an accelerated economic growth, the Peace Dividend served as a launching pad for the Bank to deliver remarkable financial performance for the year 2010. The Bank not only expanded its business activities at an accelerated pace during the year but also enhanced its products and services and expanded its network with special focus on rural, unbanked segments.
The Bank opened 29 branches totaling the branch network to 186 in fulfilling its prime objective of financial inclusion. Even under low interest rate regime, the Bank recorded unprecedented growth in its income passing the benchmark of Rs. 50 b.
The Bank also recorded new savings of Rs. 42 b bringing the deposit base to Rs. 355 b. NSB created history by contributing Rs. 2.6 b dividends to the Treasury for the year 2010, which was the highest ever dividends paid by a Bank to the Treasury. The Bank’s total contribution to the Govt. exceeded Rs. 10 b passing yet another benchmark.
The Bank also granted loans to the customers for housing, agriculture and self-employment purposes and in 2010 alone the Bank disbursed housing loans amounting to Rs. 8 b, recording a growth of 120%.
“Our outstanding financial performance for 2010 can be attributed to a number of measures introduced to the Bank during the year such as re-structuring of committees and formulation of charters, prioritisation of risk & compliance, launch of corporate image-building campaign, streamlining of appointment of Branch Managers & implementation of staff transfer policy, enhancement of visual appeal of the outlets, aggressive expansion of network and launch of a joint savings product with Sri Lanka Post,” explained the CEO.
NSB’s 39th anniversary falls in such a favorable backdrop and celebrations seem unavoidable.
The Bank has planned to conduct several events and activities such as conducting religious activities at all branches and Head Office, opening of new branches and refurbishment of existing branches to mark the 39th year of dedicated service to the people of the country.
“Although 39th anniversary is not as significant as for instance, the 40th or 50th anniversaries, it is important to celebrate each and every millstone of our journey with the people of the country, for whose sake National Savings Bank was established and who remain loyal to us to date,” the CEO elaborated.
With ever improving macroeconomic conditions, the Bank is well poised to capitalise on the numerous opportunities presented by the post-war economic growth. The Strategic Business Plan for the next three years (2011-2013) will deliver the expected results through successful implementation of initiatives like penetration into the bottom-of-the-pyramid, channel optimisation, information communication technology, enhanced corporate image and brand equity, branding and marketing communication and diversified product portfolio, not to forget the Bank’s internal vision ‘to be Sri Lanka’s Best Bank by 2012’ in which year the Bank will mark its 40th anniversary.
“The outlook for the Bank remains positive and by positioning NSB to continue to contribute to the economic growth and through our commitment to ethical practices and transparency, we look forward to continued sustainable expansion in the years to come,” concluded the CEO.