Q: What is the role of brands in Sri Lanka’s economic recovery?
A: We’re at a critical juncture as a country where today, we have the option of reinventing ourselves. I believe that in an economic recovery, major brands have a crucial role to play in helping shape the country’s future prospects.

While building the NDB brand through national events such as sponsoring cricket tournaments and sports events, we identified a vacuum in the participation of women in economic activity.

To support this, we collaborated using the NDB brand along with a prominent local news channel to create Vanithabhimana, which celebrates and empowers women entrepreneurs.

We also identified the need to promote innovators, first time exporters and exports in general to help the country recover from the effects of the pandemic. Here too, we used the power of our brand to bring together the relevant ecosystem players to provide value added services to exporters and innovators under the ‘Jayagamu Sri Lanka’ banner.

This is a glimpse of what brands can do to help the nation’s economic recovery.

Q: What is your assessment of the impact of the pandemic on branding?
A: Despite the disruption that the pandemic caused in the country, it gave brands an opportunity to expend their best efforts.

From the retail sector – which had to transform itself to meet the needs of the public – to the financial sector – which had to step out of its comfort zone to deliver services to not only clients but others in this time of need – these efforts were reflective of the value of brands.

The key was the idea of stepping out of one’s comfort zone and transforming to adapt to the ‘new normal.’ The more agile a brand is and with the right values, it would have gained more during the pandemic than others.

Q: Do you consider your brand to be social and environmental conscious?
A: NDB was one of the first to step out with banking services such as mobile ATMs and mobile branches combined with other value added services at a time when people needed money but couldn’t leave their premises.

We coordinated this effort with other industry players to ensure the initiative’s effectiveness and reduce its environmental footprint.

NDB was a major player when it came out with a holistic solution to cater to the immediate needs of the country following the first lockdown with the Jayagamu Sri Lanka proposition and also being the fourth largest distributor of Saubagya loans to pandemic affected businesses at concessionary rates.

Along with our CSR programme in reforestation and environment protection, these programmes are reflective of our aim to create sustainable and empowered environments that will continue to thrive over time.

Q: Can you describe how you build brand loyalty through experiences?
A: Client centricity is important to us; it is a central pillar in how we are transforming and adopting our technological investments. In future, client experiences, conveniences and proactive solutions will drive who will get that business.

Being one of the youngest commercial banks in Sri Lanka, we have one of the largest high net worth individual (HNWI) and personal loan portfolios.

This is primarily due to the standard of service we adhere to and challenge ourselves to better. Today, we are working to create seamless services across not only our branch network but also group companies.

This superlative client experience across any of our client touch points will create brand loyalty.

Q: How would you describe the brand’s socioeconomic impact on the nation?
A: Over the years, NDB has directly and indirectly contributed to Sri Lanka’s socioeconomic progress, through its lending decisions, facilitation of transactions and capital market solutions.

Last year alone, our role as a financial intermediary was critical in ensuring continued support to businesses and individuals who grappled with the economic toll of the pandemic, and contributed to the broader economy’s revival.

Q: How does NDB view the importance of reputation and integrity?
A: Being a bank, integrity is not an option for us. We value it above all else; we demand it from our staff; and it’s built into our processes. Without integrity, a bank will certainly not be able to deliver sustainable growth the way we have. A high level of integrity is the cornerstone of reputation.

NDB takes the utmost care to ensure its reputation is not impaired. We have put in place robust governance processes to ensure that any threats are assessed and investigated independently, and dealt with under due process.

website: www.ndbbank.com

Dimantha Seneviratne

Group Chief Executive Officer