Two of Sri Lanka’s banking and telecommunications giants, HNB PLC and SLT-MOBITEL, have announced a landmark partnership to launch “HNB Ithuru Ithuru”, a branch banking service that will enable HNB customers to make deposits into general and minor savings accounts of HNB through certain mCash Agents of SLT-MOBITEL.
Aiming to dramatically expand financial inclusion while promoting the habit of saving across the island, the launch marks HNB’s first entry into the agency banking space.
Worldwide experiences with similar agency banking relationships have proven to have a strong positive impact on the generation of national savings. Working under the close supervision of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the new partnership between HNB and SLT-MOBITEL is expected to create similar positive impacts, especially for Sri Lankans living in more remote and rural areas.
“We are proud to have partnered with SLT-MOBITEL to continue to provide innovative methods of expanding access to financial services for all Sri Lankans. While HNB has invested heavily in expanding its physical and digital presence, the introduction of agency banking through SLT-MOBITEL’s extensive mCash network will enable an exponential increase in our reach. Ultimately, this means better access to essential financial services, especially in remote rural areas, and greater convenience and choice for customers across the island. This is a win-win scenario for all parties and a major milestone for the nation,”
“Similar models have been used in African markets such as Kenya, where approximately $7.27 billion in transactions have been conducted through agent banking, while initiatives have also been launched in Uganda, Tanzania and Malaysia. We are confident that HNB’s launch of agency banking will have a similar transformative effect in terms of removing barriers to financial inclusion, which remains a key imperative for HNB going forward. Dilshan Rodrigo, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of HNB, said.
He went on to explain that HNB’s partnership with SLT-MOBITEL was also part of a wider strategy of the bank which aims to create a new paradigm in banking services in Sri Lanka, by withdrawing the Bank’s products and services from its branches and directly to customers to create meaningful engagement and cultivate lasting relationships.
Chandika Vitarena, CEO of Mobitel, said: “As a national ICT solutions provider, SLT-MOBITEL remains committed to supporting the national vision to bridge the digital divide and mCash, our state-of-the-art mobile money platform. is uniquely positioned to lead the way towards Sri Lanka’s financial inclusion goals. Recognized as the revolutionary concept of mobile money in the country, mCash offers 3600 cutting-edge mobile financial solutions by enabling customers and businesses to carry out seamless, efficient and secure cashless transactions. We are thrilled to partner with Hatton National Bank to become a key enabler to leverage the mobile payments ecosystem and propel a valued and dynamic industry.
In order to make deposits, any general savings account holder or HNB minor can simply engage with any of the selected SLT-Mobitel mCash agents such as Softlogic, Singer, Lanka Bell, as well as all outlets SLT-MOBITEL to make a deposit to their Account.
Customers will need to produce their name, savings account number, along with the amount they wish to deposit, mobile phone number and NIC number to the mCash agent, to proceed with the transaction.
Once the deposit has been made, two automated SMS will be sent separately by HNB and SLT-Mobitel to the customer verifying the deposit. Each customer will be allowed to make a maximum deposit of Rs. 25,000 per day.