13th March 2011, www.thebottomline.lk
Sri Lanka’s leading commercial bank and first in the island to make headway in technology, Sampath Bank Plc says it is in the process of creating a new mCommerce platform. Sampath Bank Managing Director G L Harris Premaratne stated this in the bank’s 2010 Annual Report released recently.
“We are in the process of identifying and evaluating a robust and secure mCommerce solution with improved user friendliness, the ability to run on virtually any mobile phone, be mobile operator-independent and bank-independent,” he said.
“This solution could lead to capturing the market leadership in the mCommerce space and would enable us to reach the un-banked communities, more effectively,” Premaratne added.
Sampath Bank continued to lead the market in the Internet Payment Gateway (IPG) domain space, entrenching ourselves as the preferred service provider for both the Private and Public Sectors. ‘Lanka Gate’ - the Public Sector e-services hub which selected the Sampath IPG as their payment gateway has become a tremendous success, offering services such as e-revenue licenses, with plans underway to offer many more technology-led public services.
“Trail blazing yet another first in the industry, we have become the first private bank to be mandated to manage public funds, through this IPG. We are in the process of upgrading the IPG application to secure it from internet-based security threats, as well as to integrate mobile Commerce (mCommerce) and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) based services. A comprehensive IVR based solution has already been offered to Sri Lankan Airlines,” he said.
Leveraging on the upward trend in the Stock Market during 2010, Sampathnet has integrated with several leading Stock Brokers in the nation - such as Acuity Stock Brokers, Ceylinco Stock Brokers, Asha Philip Securities and Capital Trust Securities to facilitate real time payment services.
“It is proposed that the new Sampathnet application developed in-house with enhanced features and security levels would be launched in 2011,” he said.
Maximising the extensive market opportunities that currently prevail in the hospitality management industry, the bank is also exploring avenues to offer its IPG with extended features, to the industry, with ‘Roomsnet’, a comprehensive online travel related site connected to the global travel industry, becoming the first customer to avail this service.
“We intend to launch a service in early 2011 that allows money to be remitted to Sri Lanka, via internet banking thus providing a value added service to remittance customers to send money even on designated bank holidays,” Premaratne added.
By opening 40 branches within 12 months, Sampath Bank recorded another first in the country’s banking sector.
“We have set the bank on course to aggressively expand its branch network – with 19 branches set up last year, 40 in 2010 and at least 40 more in 2011, thus recording the highest expansion in the industry in the last two years. Within the year 2011, our branch network will be on par with the largest private sector banks in the nation.”
The bank now has a total network of 171 branches, 76 branches across the Western Province, nine in Uva, 15 in the South, nine in Sabaragamuwa, 14 in the North West, eight in the North Central, 11 in the North, 13 in the East and 16 in the Central Province.
Although with virtually no presence in the North until 2009, but Sampath Bank now commands the largest branch network by a private sector bank in the East at present, and with at least 15 branches in operation in the North by 2011.