With a rich heritage spanning 68 years, and a strong commitment to customer-centric solutions, DFCC Bank is at the forefront of providing tailored support to address the special needs of the corporate sector and support Sri Lanka’s economic recovery. In an exclusive interview, Sohantha Wijesingha – Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Banking at DFCC Bank PLC, explained further:
What does Sri Lanka’s corporate sector need right now, and how is DFCC Bank helping?
The crises of 2022 and ongoing macroeconomic conditions present significant challenges, such as reduced demand, supply chain disruptions, import restrictions, inflation, and subdued sentiment. Amidst this landscape, DFCC Bank is helping customers overcome these challenges.
We extend concessions and moratoria to corporate clients beyond central-bank mandates, alongside tailored solutions and debt restructuring based on present and future cashflows. This grants companies space to refine strategies. Working capital support, notably for exporters, addresses shifting trading terms amid deteriorating international credit ratings.
Unprecedented interest- and exchange-rate fluctuations pose significant challenges too, though recent easing has offered some respite. Still, we offer fixed interest rates for corporate short-term obligations, and flexible hedging products to mitigate exchange rate risks for up to 12 months, supporting price stability.
What role could DFCC Bank play in Sri Lanka’s economic recovery?
Our proactive focus lies in bolstering export trade, which strengthens Sri Lanka’s fiscal position. However, notably, even amidst the initial severe foreign exchange liquidity crunch this year, we fulfilled obligations for importer clients as well, facilitating essential imports and other external transactions.
It is important to note that, even amidst the severe foreign exchange liquidity crunch faced at the beginning of the year, we have been able to meet all obligations on behalf of our importer clients. DFCC Bank’s steadfast commitment spans its inception, catering to diverse corporate clients – micro, small, medium enterprises (MSMEs), middle market, and large corporations. Our 68-year legacy underscores our pivotal role in supporting numerous corporates, providing long-term funding spanning vanilla CAPEX to equity financing.
Despite prevailing economic challenges leading to operational cutbacks, the onset of monetary easing marks a positive turning point. Anticipating a business resurgence, we are ready to back enterprises of all sizes with top-tier lending, and a range of financial products and services, catalysing economic recovery.
How is DFCC Bank supporting sustainable economic growth?
In 2022, we secured a USD 150Mln (approx. LKR 45Bln) concessional funding line from DFC USA, expressly dedicated to SMEs, middle market enterprises, women entrepreneurs, and sustainable development. This entailed term funding and working capital support for extended contracts, up to 7 years, at favourable fixed rates amidst tight conditions. Disbursement is still ongoing and will conclude by year’s end.
Our new “Green Deposits” also empower customers to earmark deposits exclusively for sustainable project and business financing. Corporate clients with robust sustainability goals can thus access credit aligned with development objectives.
Obtaining Green Climate Fund (GCF) accreditation also propels us as Sri Lanka’s first bank to achieve this distinction. This milestone solidifies our commitment and capacity to provide concessional funding for green and sustainable ventures.
What is the significance of DFCC’s recent victories at the Euromoney Awards?
Amidst fierce competition, domestically and globally, DFCC Bank was recognized for “iConnect”, our renowned top-tier electronic cash management solution and banking platform. Uniquely, this award hinges on a popular vote by customers. Thus, our genuine popularity has won us the titles of Best in Service (2020), Market Leader (2021), and Market Leader and Best in Service (2022), outperforming both domestic and foreign peers.
DFCC iConnect comprehensively covers payments, liquidity, and collections, tailored to individual client needs. Seamlessly delivered with industry-leading security features, integration into customers’ ERP systems via host-to-host connectivity, iConnect meets all corporate cash management needs, while also facilitating end-to-end supply chain financing, incorporating Distributor Financing and Supplier Financing.
Through a major update in Q4 2023, iConnect will enjoy even more added features, bolstering functionality, and optimizing user experiences. This evolution caters to modern corporations navigating an increasingly digital landscape.
Photo – Sohantha Wijesingha, – Senior Vice President-Head of Corporate Banking at DFCC Bank PLC