The Hatton National Bank PLC has announced the launch of a Rs. 5 billion relief fund in a humanitarian mission to revive the grassroot economy in Sri Lanka post COVID-19.
Accordingly, the fund is set to provide working capital support to the bank's substantial portfolio of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).
The HNB will be leveraging the fund to provide financial assistance to the SMEs by complementing the CBSL-backing Saubhagya COVID-19 Refinance Scheme, reports said.
According to Mr. Jonathan Alles, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of HNB, the bank is fully committed to partner with all stakeholders in this endeavour amidst the post COVID-19 recovery as their target would be containing the damage inflicted on the country's economy from nearly three months of relative stagnation.
Applicants who are unable to secure state funded loans at 4% p.a. will be granted the opportunity to secure a working capital loan through the fund at a concessionary interest rate of 8% p.a., for a maximum period of 24 months.
Withstanding the above, HNB will be adopting its internal resources in a move to aid the government's efforts to recover the crashed down SMEs amidst the public health crisis.
“Given our pioneering role and vast client network in the SME space, HNB is ideally positioned to assist this vital sector – which collectively accounts for nearly half of all employment in Sri Lanka. Many of these businesses are facing extremely constrained cash flows, but with the right support, they still have the potential to recover and eventually thrive," Deputy General Manager of Retail and SME Banking Sanjay Wijemanne said.
“As a bank we understand that these are difficult times," he went on. "And so we are doing everything we can to be flexible with repayments and assist customers in any way we can to get through this uncertain and volatile period."
"We remain confident that the launch of this fund - which operates independently from the Saubagya COVID loan scheme - will help catalyse an organic grassroots revitalisation of the Sri Lankan economy in the months to come.”