National Development Bank PLC (NDB) is a Licensed Commercial Bank functioning in Sri Lanka, led with a vision to be “The driving force for a financially empowered Sri Lanka”. Established in 1979 as a development financing institution, in its regal journey of 40 years, NDB has been a catalyst in the development of the nation, strengthening and empowering a host of entrepreneurship and corporates who has prospered and flourished with the Bank’s progressive journey.

Keeping abreast with the evolving national landscapes and changing industry climates, NDB converted itself to a Licensed Commercial Bank with the acquisition of the operations of ABN Amro NV Colombo Branch in 2001 and by fully integrating the development banking and commercial banking operations in to one commercial banking entity in 2005. Since this transformation, the Bank has expanded its customer reach, product portfolio and service offerings, augmented by digital solutions, to a wider spectrum of clientele and elevated itself to be one of the most recognized banking institutions in the country.

Not restricting itself to the model of a single bank, NDB today has grown to a fully-fledged financial services conglomerate, the best and the largest of its kind in the country. Coming under its widespread presence in the banking and finance sector are full-service investment banking, wealth management, investment advisory and securities trading, private equity management and property management, provided by the respective subsidiaries at home and across the shores in Bangladesh.

Earnestly embracing the developments in new age technology and also in proving itself as a nimble and agile entity ready to take up new challenges and opportunities, NDB is rapidly evolving into a digitized bank, presenting new dimensions in banking to the Sri Lankan clientele.

The Bank’s presence is marked by a robust network of 112 branches including a “phy-igital branch”, over 50 cash recycle machines, branchless banking – Bank2U served across over 80 localities and other virtual channels. The NDB experience is delivered by an enthusiastic and competent team of over 2,900 staff members spread across the Bank and the Group companies.

NDB’s banking supremacy has been constantly bestowed with multiple local and international recognition, highlights being awarded The Best Bank in Sri Lanka by the Global Finance Magazine of USA as well as the Banker Magazine of the UK in 2018 and the Best Bank in Sri Lanka 2019 by Asia Money Magazine. At 40 years young, driven by the values of integrity, creativity, excellence, sincerity, accountability and dependability NDB continues to thrive on its efforts, creating and delivering value to all its stakeholders, and marking its presence as one of the most respected corporates in the country.

Mr. Dimantha Seneviratne carries to his credit, an illustrious banking career spanning nearly three decades with exposure in a wide range of jurisdictions. He was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of NDB in January 2017 and since has transformed NDB to the agile and rapidly growing entity it is today. In 2018, he was elevated to the position of Group CEO, to provide vital leadership to the NDB Group, Sri Lanka’s largest financial services conglomerate. Prior to his appointment at NDB, he was the CEO of Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC [PABC]. Under Mr Seneviratne’s leadership, PABC – a midsized bank, became a formidable player in the industry, with turnaround performance of doubling of assets and tripling of profitability in a span of 3 years. Mr Seneviratne has also served with the global player HSBC Group for over 17 years, out of which, the last eight years has been in the capacity of the Chief Risk Officer in a number of jurisdictions including Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. With demonstrated ability in achieving transformation results within a short span of time, Mr Seneviratne has earned the reputation as a ‘turn-around CEO’ amongst the circles of corporate leaders in the country. A product of Royal College Colombo and a B.Sc. graduate of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura with specialization in mathematics and statistics, he holds an MBA from the Post Graduate Institute of Management [PIM].

His multi-disciplinary professional qualifications also include Fellowship with the Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka and a Post Graduate Diploma in Computer System Designs from the National Institute of Business Management [NIBM]. He has also received high potential leadership training from the Harvard Business School, Boston USA. Mr Seneviratne is the current Chairman of the Sri Lanka Banks’ Association. He is also a past president of the Association of Professional Bankers of Sri Lanka [APB], prior to which he held various positions in the Executive Council of APB for over a decade including the posts of Secretary-General and Senior Vice President. He is also a Director of Lanka Clear [Pvt] Ltd and Credit Information Bureau of Sri Lanka, positions through which he makes very dynamic contrition towards the financial sector of the country. Mr Seneviratne is the father of a son and a daughter both of whom have graduated and are pursuing higher studies.



I think I am someone who was destined to become a banker. Whilst reading for my bachelor’s degree at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, in the late 80s, which were marked by political insurgencies and as a result of which, universities were often closed down, I busied myself studying IT system development. By the time I graduated in 1990, I had also completed a one-year full-time Diploma with NIBM with top grades. I was fortunate to be offered not just one, but two jobs, one from a leading IT firm in the country, and the other from this new bank which had just come into being, one which was much sought after as a good employer. As such the choice for me was between becoming an IT professional versus a banker.

At the face of a very critical decision to make, guided by my instinct and also those close to me, I opted to join the bank, which was none other than Sampath Bank. I wouldn’t say I always aspired to be a CEO, but I was definitely very passionate about what I did and strived to excel in every role that I took up through the journey. So, I think that decision made long ago, and the efforts put all the way, have stood me in good stead.


My career has had me crisscrossing many countries within the Region, such as Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Thailand, Maldives and even the Middle East. Working in distinct cultures and diverse teams was truly a challenge, and a very positive one. The experience I have gained in each one of these jurisdictions and the exposures gained at the face of these challenges are very valuable learnings even to date. the country in 75 years, inundating nine provinces including the capital Bangkok. Bank operations were compelled to function from the disaster recovery site for over a month and we did this with minimum operational and credit losses. At the same time, I was entrusted with the divestment of the retail business of HSBC Thailand and redeploying over 350 staff members functioning under me and over 500 who were with the retail network within a year, which we did successfully. These two challenges occurring simultaneously were further deepened by the cultural aspects, which were very different from Sri Lanka. But this challenging exposure was truly rewarding, which instilled stronger and lasting leadership attributes in me. Another such challenge was a request I received from the Head of Asia Pacific of HSBC in Risk at the time when I was functioning as the Chief Risk Officer for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, to look after similar operations of Bangladesh in the same capacity for a period of six months, until a potential successor was identified. This was a considerably wide scope of work to be handled by a single person and was a rare instance that all three markets would come under the supervision of one Chief Risk Officer. I took up this challenging scope expansion very enthusiastically and ensured smooth operations across all three markets. Having all this and being engaged in extra activities was also a challenge. I recall, at the time I was the President of the APB, I was posted to Bangladesh when the annual APB convention was just around the corner. With the support from my employer, and also the efforts of the APB executive committee, we were able to host one of the most iconic conventions in the APB history, without any compromises made in my job role with HSBC. Onboarding PABC at troubled times, and turning it around from an entity earning LKR 100 Mn in PAT to one earning LKR 1.2 Bn in PAT and doubling the Balance Sheet within 3 years, orchestrating quality long term capital to be infused in both equity and debt forms to support the growing franchise and developing a For example, during my times with HSBC, I was seconded to Thailand, as the Chief Risk Officer. This was the first instance, and probably the only instance that a Sri Lankan had the opportunity to serve HSBC Thailand in this capacity. During my tenure there, Thailand experienced heavy floods, the worst to hit unique customer-centric brand identity for PABC, all of which were achieved with the efficient deployment of existing resources and staff were also some challenges which I overcame successfully.

And more recently, driving NDB – a much larger player, through a transformational strategy along a digital journey is also a challenge which I much enjoy. Besides those at work, demands arising from personal life, particularly as the family expands have also made career a challenge. This sure is a point which many will resonate with, whether you are a male or a female. But what keeps you going is your own will power and the exceptional support that is rendered by your family, close ones and your employer.


I am thankful to the many opportunities that I have had in various capacities with multiple institutions, which have enabled me to contribute towards the industry beyond my call of duty. During my tenure as a member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Institute of Bankers Sri Lanka [IBSL], we were instrumental in revising the IBSL syllabus to match emerging knowledge needs of the industry, a timely move to make. During my tenure with the APB exceeding 10 years, as an executive council member, the Vice President and ultimately the President, I have been involved in organizing over 10 APB conventions, including the 22nd APB Anniversary Convention whilst I was the President. The convention was on the theme “Gear Up …. Sri Lanka Next Financial Hub”, which saw many local and foreign resource persons making highly insightful presentations and discussions. During the same year, APB along with IBSL, introduced the Continuous Professional Development [CPD] program and awarded points for participation at APB guest lectures with a bid to encourage the IBSL membership to participate in such guest lectures and update their knowledge and awareness. I have also been an active member of various sub-committees formed from time to time by the regulator to deliberate and prescribe action on various significant industry developments such as Basel guidelines, credit card business, risk management, etc.

Furthermore, in my capacity as a Board member in Lanka Clear [Pvt] Limited and the Credit Information Bureau, I am taking an active role in introducing digitized solutions in the payments and settlements sector and promoting the divergence towards a cashless society. I have also been a knowledge contributor in a number of training programs, including those organized by the Centre for Banking Studies of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and to industry publications such as journals and convention volumes of the Association of Professional Bankers. I strongly believe that as a versatile leader who has dynamic exposure, particularly across multiple countries, one carries a responsibility to share such knowledge and experience for the betterment of the industry, elevating industry standards to higher levels which ultimately contributes towards a better society.


I could quote many, and of the few that top the list, one is the commitment and passion that I have towards what I do. I always believe that you are at your best form when you love what you do, may it be your career or anything else. Resilience to challenges with a will power to strive on is also key, and personally for me, the challenges bring out the best in me.

When you are committed and passionate you strive harder, you challenge the status quo for the want of better solutions and inevitably achieve greater results than an average person would do. I also owe my success to continuous learning and development. This is one critical attribute which will decide whether you are a short-lived flash of brilliance or a beacon that will shine through. Knowledge today is a key strength, in whichever the profession or discipline you are in, and one which can get outdated and redundant quite rapidly. As such, it is essential that you keep abreast with new developments through continuous learning and development and add relevant and timely value to the organization and its stakeholders that you serve. Integrity is yet another such attribute.

A devotion to upholding honesty, truthfulness and sincerity while remaining fair and ethical at all times – even in the most challenging situations will take you a long way in both professional and personal life. It will earn you a sense of trust among others as someone who takes responsibility for your actions.

“Ability to drive teams, keep them motivated, inspire them to do their best and develop them is yet another key success factor. You could have the best systems and the most efficient procedures and process in place, but ultimately it is the human capital that will enable the integration of all this and drive results.

“We aspire and strive to take NDB to be within the top three private sector banks in the country within the next five years. Adoption of digital technology to optimum extents and an unwavering dedication to excellence in customer service will be our core focuses in the journey ahead.


Just after onboarding as the CEO of NDB, the Bank entered into one of the most transformational and ambitious strategies in 2017. The ultimate goal of this strategy was to transform NDB to a Domestic –Systemically Important Bank [D-SIB] with an asset base exceeding LKR 500 Bn by the end of 2020. The Bank achieved some of the most exceptional results in 2017 and 2018 under the overall strategy, which surpassed industry and key peer performance. The strategic execution proved highly successful with the Bank set to reach the LKR 500Bn mark in total assets well ahead of the originally intended deadline. NDB also took its digital journey on a new tangent under this new strategy. Today NDB uses digital capabilities not just for enhanced customer experience, but also for efficient back end processes, with the use of a ‘digital workforce’ supported by Robotic Process Automation [RPA] technology. During the past two years, the NDB brand made significant progress in the banking and financial services sector, as the country’s largest financial services conglomerate offering the full gamut of banking and capital market solutions. Drawing strength from this unique proposition, the Bank, in collaboration with its wealth management subsidiary NDB Wealth Management Limited has introduced an innovative product called NDB One Account [using API technology], which is a fusion between a bank current account and a Unit Trust Investment, a proposition which only NDB can offer to its customers given its Group strength. There are many more milestones we have crossed in the retail and SME fronts and in harnessing the best from group synergies.

Such exceptional results were externally endorsed multiple times, the highlights being NDB being recognized as the Best Bank in Sri Lanka by the Global Finance Magazine of USA as well as the Banker Magazine of the UK in 2018, a rare feat for any bank to achieve in a single year. NDB was also the winner in the banking sector at the National Business Excellence Awards 2018 conducted by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka. The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce also recognized NDB at their 2018 Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award with twin awards. More recently, the Asia Money magazine recognized us as the Best Bank in Sri Lanka in 2019, whilst Business Today magazine ranked us 9th within their top 30 best corporates of Sri Lanka an impressive progress made from rank 27 in 2017 and rank 18 in 2018.


Along the implementation of the aforementioned new strategy dubbed as Transformation 2020, in professional consultation with the International Finance Corporation [IFC], many changes were introduced on the business, processes, digital and customer experience frontiers. We established a new business vertical called NDB Business Banking, which was dedicated to serving small and middle market customers. A large number of process improvements were introduced which led to significant efficiency enhancements. Embarking on a new digital banking strategy is another shift seen over the past two years. The Bank has significantly expanded its digital banking solutions and will continue to draw strength from the opportunities offered. The Bank has attained enhanced agility and has become a truly digitized bank both at the customer interaction end and processing end. Instilling a strong customer-centric service culture is another change introduced along the new strategy. We also drove one of the most significant and effective change management programs in line with the strategy, in ensuring that all our staff members are well embedded in this new journey, as each one of them was crucial in the success of the strategy. A new culture identity was also instilled across the Bank, dubbed ONE NDB, which was well embraced by all our staff members and stimulated the strategy execution process with the conscious support of each staff member. Taking a strategized and systematic approach to empowering women, both within the Bank [our employees] and outside the Bank [our customers] is yet another major change that has been introduced over the past two years. As a banking institution, we are taking conscious efforts in gender equality and women empowerment, with a sound understanding of the economic benefits that these aspects offer a country and its citizens.


NDB is one of the most respected and prestigious banking institutions as well as a corporate in Sri Lanka with 40 rich years of development heritage. With this commitment unaltered, we will strive to enhance the value we generate to all our stakeholders. We aspire and strive to take NDB to be

within the top three private sector banks in the country within the next five years. Adoption of digital technology to optimum extents and an unwavering dedication to excellence in customer service will be our core focuses in the journey ahead.


I would quote a firm commitment to service excellence, continuous innovation and the strength of the NDB Team as the three factors that have led to the success of NDB. We are functioning in a highly competitive industry, notable for the homogeneity of products and services we offer and the large number of players offering hem. The key differentiator for NDB in such a backdrop has been the excellence in customer service. Our deep-rooted relationship with customers, the advisory services we provide and the relationships we build in guiding them towards financial prosperity have compelled our customers to repeat banking with us. Team NDB is united under the service credo “We Go Beyond”, which bolsters our commitment to customer service and instils a deeper cultural behaviour in the way of life at NDB. Continuous innovation is yet another factor that has ensured the Bank’s success. Our product portfolio has been re-shaped and revitalized to remain relevant within the ever-changing customer demographics, technological aspects, etc. We have also harnessed strength from NDB’s unique Group strength. Our innovations are aptly combined with the capabilities offered by digitalization and have offered our customers wider and smarter choices in managing their financials in efficient ways.

Last but not least the dedication, passion and competence of Team NDB is directly attributable to the success of NDB, and this reference goes out to our current teams and also all NDBers who have served the Bank in the past. They are the lifeline that makes all our structures, systems and products meaningful and deliver the promise of excellence in customer service.


Supporting SMEs has been a core objective of NDB at its inception as a development financing institution. Though the Bank has evolved over the years to become a fully-fledged commercial bank, our commitment to support this sector, which is regarded as the backbone of an economy, has only intensified. Our expertise in SME financing is augmented by developmental focus and perfected over decades with presence in many industries in the country. In recalibrating our efforts in this aspect, in 2018, we established the NDB Business Banking Unit, which offers customized services to SMEs of different scales, thereby enhancing the precision of solutions and support we extend to them as a bank. Our financial support to the sector is enhanced by nonfinancial technical and advisory support. We are proud to note that some of the leading corporates in the country today were once budding young SMEs being financially nurtured by NDB. We also contribute immensely to the hospitality sector, particularly given its significance in the overall national economic thrust. Businesses engaged in the industry, particularly in key townships of tourist attractions in the country enjoy the services of the Bank via our robust branch network.


NDB is very much in sync with the wave of digital evolution that is experienced by the banking industry. We have embraced the mammoth upside potential this has offered and is systematically deploying digital technology for the prosperity of the Bank as well as its customers. What is noteworthy of NDB’s digital journey is that it is extended not just to customer solutions such as mobile banking and self-banking kiosks, but to internal processes which are typically labour intensive.

With regards to NDB’s digital solutions offered to customers, our digital portfolio is fortified by mobile banking, on-line banking, branchless banking dubbed as “Bank2U”, a strong network of over 50 cash-recycle machines [CRMs], a “phygital” branch and integrated e-statements. The gamut of these solutions has enabled us to achieve 70% of the Bank’s transactions being performed digitally, which I believe is a significant achievement.

“The beauty of our digital solutions is that they serve a greater purpose of financial inclusion. Our offerings, Bank2U and CRMs are instrumental and highly effective in taking banking services to hitherto unbanked segments of the country and integrating them to the formal stream of banking.

Taking the inclination for digital solutions a tangent higher, we adopted the Robotic Process Automation [RPA] solution in a number of our internal processes. This has made us the first bank in the country to deploy a “digital workforce” alongside the team and has led to large cost savings, heightened efficiencies in the processes and re-deployment of staff to more creative tasks.

The adoption of capabilities offered by digitalization is a journey at NDB. We have teams dedicated to continuous experimenting in new solutions available and how best they can be integrated into the overall process for better customer experience and enhanced performance.


Shareholders are our biggest strength and generating consistent and sustained value for them is one of our core objectives. Our exceptional financial performance has enabled us to provide our shareholders with sound dividends over the years. The Bank always strives to maintain a ROE above the industry average to facilitate this even amidst challenging conditions, and in 2018, we booked in one of the highest ROEs in the industry at 17.4%. initiated a Returns on Risk Adjusted Capital [RORAC] based pricing culture with relative risk and all income avenues assessed through an internal ratings-based model. Our increased alignment towards retail and SME sectors will provide a higher return whilst broad basing the risks. We believe that migrating towards an economic profitability model will help identify and transform those clients or products which destroy value to those that create shareholder value.

We are conscious that shareholder funds are a limited resource and getting the highest return on this resource is of paramount importance. Hence, we have in terms of capital gains, we earnestly hope NDB’s share price will soon reflect its true book value, which, due to market conditions is currently trading at much less.


NDB is an equal opportunity employer, and as such gender equality is also a way of life. We have well identified the significance of the contribution made by both males and females in an economy. This is the reason why we obtained the global certification for workplace gender equality titled Economic Dividends for Gender Equality [EDGE]. NDB is the first, and to date, the only Sri Lankan corporate to

have obtained this certification, which reflects our values and augments our commitment for an inclusive work environment.

Stemming from equal opportunity, we see an impressive involvement of females in NDB’s human capital. As per the end 2018 statistics 40% of our senior management and 39% of our overall work force were females. Furthermore, 7 out of 18 in the Leadership Team of the Bank are also females, providing leadership to critical functions of the Bank.

This stance has been externally endorsed as well, for two years in 2019 and 2017, where NDB has been recognized as the Best Private Sector Organization Promoting Women in Workplace by the Top 50 Professional & Career Women Awards organized by Women in Management. What’s remarkable about this intrinsic strength is that NDB has well translated this in to providing exceptional financial support to female customers as well. As a responsible banking institution, we have a dedicated proposition for empowering female customers dubbed as NDB Araliya in our product portfolio. This is a research backed product committed to address some of the chronic difficulties faced by female customers in access to banking facilities and financing. The product caters to three distinct female customer segments, namely, homemakers, salaried employees and entrepreneurs, and comes with nonfinancial advisory services as well. Much work is being done in this front and you will see more on this very soon. As such, NDB can be proud, that it is walking the talk, in its efforts to empower females.


The banking industry is one that faces many challenges continually. Given its close links to the overall economic performance, the industry also experiences height of sound performance as well as troughs of subdued performance. The impact of the unfortunate Easter Sunday attacks earlier this year is a most recent example. In addition, since recently, the industry is bracing itself for some key challenges. One is the escalated need for capital. With the implementation of Basel III guidelines, all banks face an elevated level of minimum regulatory capital and the industry is presently facing the challenge of sourcing quality long term capital in a backdrop where returns are challenged.

Rising non-performing loans and the deteriorating asset quality is yet another challenge that has emerged recently. Banks are investing a lot of effort in managing their portfolio quality, whilst assisting their customers to come out of tricky situations. A healthy banking sector characterized by well serviced loans is an indicator of a sound economy and a stable financial system at the end of the day. Mounting competition in a low growth segment is another major challenge that will continue to impact the industry. This will stem from peer banks, non-banking financial institutions and also fintech companies. Banks will be constantly challenged to customize their services as well as products to achieve edge over such competition and ensure growth in market share, business volumes and profitability. The arbitrage opportunities available in regulations affecting the fintech companies deepen the challenge presented by such companies. On the other hand, this would lead to better services to the customers. In this competitive environment, the service element, agility and nimbleness will be key differentiators and I think NDB is well disposed with these to make head way.

Higher taxes faced by the industry is yet another challenge. The banking industry is one of the most highly taxed industries in Sri Lanka and is under exceeding pressure to secure acceptable levels of returns for shareholders who are also required to infuse additional capital to meet incremental capital requirements arising from the adoption of SLRFS 9: Financial Instruments and new banking regulations.

The above factors coupled with increasing costs of cyber security and regulatory compliance especially surrounding Anti Money Laundering regulations will pose significant challenges to banks. In this environment, size and scale would play a significant role which should lead naturally to voluntary consolidation opportunities. Attraction and retention of suitable and quality talent is also another challenge faced by the industry. Gone are the days where bankers maintain long tenures of service with one employer until retirement. Career aspirations and needs of the current generation have largely transformed and in such a context much effort is required to ensure that we attract, develop and retain the right type of talent which make up skilful and committed bankers.


If I may comment in a general sense, firstly make sure you get your priorities straight in life. Whether you are employed, an entrepreneur or of any other profile, make sure that there is no overindulgence in any one aspect, but well-balanced attention and efforts are invested in well-identified priorities in your life. Those who are uber-successful and happy in life are the ones who have not compromised on any such priorities. Be committed to whatever you are engaged in and get into the heart of matters. Contribute with genuine and the best of your efforts. Also be compassionate and kind towards yourself and others. Uphold integrity as your strongest virtue through all times, and success will be sure yours.