PB reports highest ever balance sheet growth in 2020 while extending unparallel support to boost economic revival

People’s Bank today announced the results for its year ended December 31, 2020 reporting consolidated net loan growth of LKR 315.7 billion; representing a 21.6% growth year on year and accounting for close to one third of overall net sector credit extended during the period. Close to two third of credit was to the State and State Owned Enterprises. It’s consolidated assets reached LKR 2,400.6 billion up 17.1% from LKR 2,049.8 billion at end 2019 whilst its total deposits grew 21.8% to reach LKR 1,935.2 billion from LKR 1,588.9 billion at end 2019 - all of which Institutional all times highs. Of deposit growth, 53.8% stemmed from Current and Savings Accounts - ultimately showcasing the Institutional brand strength and depositor confidence.

From a COVID-19 moratorium perspective, the Group extended relief to 460,000 retail customers - the largest for any financial services provider - and over 21,000 businesses. Beneficiaries of such business relief included, amongst other, close 10,500 three-wheel owners and 7,500 passenger transport service providers in addition to other small businesses. In addition, the Group introduced multiple loan schemes at highly concessionary rates of interest. It extended over LKR 27.0 billion to revive Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, including LKR 13.7 billion in Saubghaya loans, and over LKR 10.0 billion to the agriculture sector. Over LKR 780.0 million in credit facilities were extended to also support university students, teachers, actors, musicians and other professionals including to promote women entrepreneurship; much of which during the latter half of 2020. In its effort to uplift the housing and construction sector, the Bank also extended over 9,000 home loan facilities amounting to over LKR 105.0 billion much of again during the last few months of 2020. All these however saw consolidated net interest income drop by 5.3% to LKR 74.4 billion - also reflecting consolidated moratorium interest concession of over LKR 5.0 billion.

Reflecting fee waivers, concessions and the drop in trade finance activities consolidated net fee income amounted to LKR 7.3 billion - a 10.2% reduction from LKR 8.2 billion in 2019. Consolidated operating income reached LKR 90.8 billion - a 5.8% dip relative to LKR 96.5 billion in 2019. Consolidated impairment charges rose by 50.4% to LKR 17.6 billion with the Group’s stage 3 loans representing 9.5% of its total loans at end 2020. Excluding State Owned Enterprises, its gross non performing loans were 6.2% of total loans at end 2020

Total consolidated operating expenses amounted to LKR 43.9 billion - a LKR 3.7 billion or 7.7% reduction compared with LKR 47.6 billion in 2019. This reflected group wide reduction in non discretionary spending. Total consolidated taxes and dividends to the Government during the year amounted to LKR 16.8 billion (2019: LKR 25.1 billion).

Consolidated post tax profit amounting to LKR 16.1 billion - down 0.5% from 2019. On a Bank standalone basis, it was LKR 14.2 billion up 9.7% compared with LKR 12.9 billion in 2019

The Bank’s Consolidated Tier I and Total Capital Adequacy was 10.7% and 15.6%, respectively at end 2020 (end 2019: 11.6% and 14.9%). On a Bank standalone basis, it was, respectively - 9.5% and 15.5% (2019: 10.7% and 14.7%)

Commenting on the results, the Chairman of People’s Bank - Mr. Sujeewa Rajapakse stated that: “In a year of extraordinary challenge in an unseen like before operating environment, People’s Bank has not only pushed the boundaries of performance and delivery but also supported the Government in its endeavors to preserve and protect the economy from further consequence and to help in its revival. Unlike in a typical year, our success in 2020 is not measured by a typical top line or bottom line but by our national value added and customer centricity which was at the heart of every decision making process. An ability to go above and beyond a time of need is what ultimately defines this institution and the individuals who run it. The above all said, our job is far from over. With the economy showing early signs of rejuvenation, and not complacent with any of our previous successes, we remain conscious of the challenges that still lie ahead but look forward to the future with a great degree of hope and optimism.

He continued: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I take this opportunity to extend our sincere appreciation to His Excellency the President and the Honorable Prime Minister for their leadership and guidance, and to the Secretary to the President, the Secretary to Treasury and the Governor of Central Bank and their teams for their valued counsel at all times. Lastly, the Chief Executive Officer/ General Manager for his exemplary leadership and employees at all levels for their admirable commitment without whom this would not be possible”

The Chief Executive Officer/ General Manager of People’s Bank - Mr. Ranjith Kodituwakku stated that: “2020 was an out of the ordinary year on many fronts. Operationally it was the year which put digital and technological capabilities of all institutions alike, and their contingency plans, to the ultimate litmus test. It was also the year which held customer centricity to account. Our delivery on these many fronts remains best described in our ability to keep over 70% of branches open during even the peak of the lock down, an ability to be the first to facilitate credit relief to customers no sooner made known by the regulator and an ability to mobilize deposits and disburse loans in a time and manner previously undone. In addition, the depth and breadth of People’s Bank’s operating and support service platforms considered, an ability to ensure over 99.0% uptime is maintained consistently without exception across all its platforms an ability to process over LKR 1.0 trillion in transaction volumes including through digital speaks for the Bank’s abilities and capabilities both human and technological

He continued: “In addition, several measures were taken to ensure safety and stability of the institution such as reducing capital expenditures and focusing lending to more priority/ essential service sectors. Forming an integral part of such efforts, the Bank also raised LKR 20.0 billion in Basel III, Tier 2 Debentures - which is the single largest issuance the country has seen by any Financial Institution to date. I thank the Chairman and the Board of Directors for their leadership from the very front and my entire team for their tiring efforts and unwavering commitment. We look forward to the future with optimism" People’s Bank is the country’s Premiere Licensed Commercial Bank with Sri Lanka’s largest banking foot print comprised of 741 branches and service centers island wide. With a history spanning 60 years, the Bank benefits from a staff strength of close to 8,000 serving more than 14.0 million customers and close to 19.0 million account relationships - which is by far the largest for any Financial Services provider in country. Established under the People’s Bank Act No. 29 of 1961, the Bank carries a National Long-Term Rating of “AA-(lka/ Stable)”; by Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd.

With a view to bring the benefits of digitalization to the entire nation, People’s Bank embarked on a digital transformation journey back in 2015 by taking a pioneering role in digitization and customer engagement. Since then a host of diversified digital banking solutions have been launched that deliver enhanced convenience, speed and efficiency, and convenience to customers at every point in their interactions with the bank. People’s Bank is the first and only Bank in Sri Lanka to be accredited with the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification; the highest international accreditation for information protection, and security.

People’s Bank prides itself in being at the forefront of facilitating digital-financial services penetration into the rural hinterlands of the country and has recorded unmatched levels of success in supporting the nation’s evolution into a digital society.