It may or may not be surprising to learn that the banks are the unsung heroes at the frontlines of the coronavirus battle. Thilak Piyadigama, the Chief Executive Officer of Sanasa Development Bank PLC (SDB bank) stated that while the health authorities were tackling the health related issues, the banks’ kept the economy going.

“SDB bank has been in the forefront in boosting the local economy amidst challenging times,” he added.

Piyadigama said that the people have to now learn and adapt to the new normal as the coronavirus pandemic will not end any sooner, therefore, the bank has further improved its digital infrastructure to enable the staff to work remotely through the bank’s secure networks and many services offered to the customers’ have been digitalised. He added that SDB bank deployed mobile ATMs as well to the areas that were under lockdown to allow customers who ran short of cash to make withdrawals.

Explaining the opportunities the CEO perceives for the bank, he stated, “I feel that SDB bank is well positioned to do what it was planning in a much more effective manner. I see many opportunities in the Agriculture sector as it will be one of the most prominent sectors in the country, which was even spoken during the Budget. I also see opportunities in SMEs and Micro SMEs.

He stated that SDB bank’s offerings to the Agriculture sector will be in  financing the value chains. “We are currently working with approximately 1,000 farmers on a chilli project. In this, we fund them and monitor the set of guidelines. Also, SDB bank is the one of the leading leasing operators in tractors.

“We will continue to provide loans to farmers and we will be providing harvesters on lease in order to modernise the sector and to create a mode of income for the farmers as they can hire the harvesters. We will up the game for them to create wealth on their own.”

Speaking about the importance of digitalisation in a pandemic period, Piyadigama mentioned that digitalisation isn’t new to the Banking industry, therefore, the banking operations weren’t affected due to the coronavirus. “The banks saw digitalisation five years ago. SDB bank kept improving its digital infrastructure to provide a better service to its customers and it affected positively when the country had to lock down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most importantly, we allowed our customers to use any ATM in the country for cash withdrawals.”

SDB bank is quite active in UPay, Business Internet Banking, Mobile Banking and SMS Banking. Through these services, the customers can spend more time focusing on their core business with time saving and convenient internet banking solutions.

UPay enables customers to make payments, fund transfers, utility bill payments, credit card bill payments etc. and perform transactions with their smart phones at their convenience.