Sohantha Wijesingha, a former student of St. Joseph College is now a reputed banker of over 30 solid years. With ambitions to become a doctor, he ended up in Banking & Finance and has now gained extensive experience working in 4 diverse and prominent banks, both local and foreign. Commencing his journey as a bank teller, he rapidly rose to senior positions and thrived in numerous capacities in the commercial and corporate banking segment. Head of Cash Management, Head of Large Corporates, Head of Financial Institutions, and Head of Multinationals are some of the senior positions he held over the years.
Sohantha is now the Senior Vice President (SVP) and Head of Corporate Banking at DFCC Bank PLC and has been in this role for the last 6 months. “Thirty years is a long time. From a teller to an SVP, it’s quite the journey” says Sohantha. He takes pride in his rewarding journey, amidst the challenges he faced. “New environment, new bank, new culture, new job. It can be challenging, but I find it to be very exciting”. He further adds “The journey is not over; there is still more”.
When inquired on the key factors to being successful, Sohantha’s response was simply “ATTITUDE”. He firmly believes that attitude plays an immense role in differentiating an ordinary individual from that of a person who is successful. He also pointed out that being successful requires one to think distinctly, have a different perspective, and view opportunities from a unique angle. “You can train for skills but, you must hire for attitude” he adds. Sohantha shares that his attitude steered him through life and his career, to where he is now. “It’s easy to see the glass half empty, you must strive to see the glass half full” he laughs. Noticing the rare from the usual is Sohantha’s key to success. He also made a general reference on having an entrepreneurial perspective to grasp opportunities; even in times of turmoil or despair, one must be astute enough to seize opportunities.“Attitude defines you. You must have the right attitude, ” Sohantha adds firmly.
As an individual in a senior position, leadership is considered to be a vital element of the profession. Leaders are commonly expected to be infallible and have answers to all the problems. However, Sohantha’s view on leadership is different to that of the general mindset. He believes that it is essential for leaders to demonstrate both their strengths and weaknesses. “The world has changed. People need to see the human side” comments Sohantha, whilst also adding that a leader should not be reticent to demonstrate their vulnerable side, make mistakes and learn from them and also have a genuine desire to receive feedback. He also adds that being approachable to the rest of the team and having a ‘collaborative style’ when making decisions and executing them are also important.
Another leadership quality Sohantha relies on is to lead by example. Maintaining a consistent work ethic of hard work during the past 30 years is proof of this. He also emphasizes the importance of being driven to achieve targets and overcome challenges within the corporate banking sector. “You can be a hero in 2021, but in January 2022, you start from zero. You constantly need to do something more, so you have to be driven”.
Sohantha also discusses the features of DFCC’s electronic banking platform – iConnect. This is a recent electronic-delivery channel facilitating transactional banking, which usually encompasses payments, liquidity management, and collections. It is a virtual and seamless channel for customers to interact with the bank, accommodating customers’ needs from basic traditional banking to complex banking requirements via a single, reliable and secure electronic platform.
How is iConnect different from other banks one may ask? Primarily, iConnect promotes an entirely virtual platform without physical connectivity. Secondly, unlike many other electronic platforms, iConnect focuses on the entire customer value chain; the customer, the customer’s suppliers, the customer’s distributors, and the customer’s customers. The iConnect customer can connect all the constituents electronically to deliver payments, financing, collection, and reconciliation solutions and ultimately deliver an end-to-end solution quite comprehensively. This holistic approach adds substantial value to iConnect customers. Furthermore, iConnect facilitates collection solutions for companies with a large base of customers. Companies with multiple sources of receipts and who collect payments frequently can now easily reconcile their payments via iConnect. It has the ability to scale up to cater to large volumes thus making this solution on iConnect a very powerful one Catering to customers of diverse levels, from micro-small and medium enterprises to large corporates and multinationals, iConnect qualifies as today’s complete, reliable and trustworthy go-to banking solution.
Ending Sohantha’s statement, he shares his inspirational quote in life; be positive! “Even my blood group is B+” he puns. In a nutshell, Sohantha’s motto in life is to “Be positive, stay positive, and also spread positivity” which is a great attribute to his unfinished journey and in uplifting iConnect even further.