HNB achieved another critical milestone in its transformation journey after securing its ranking in the UKbased- The Banker Magazine’s Top 1,000 World Banks for the fifth year in a row. “Over the past year, global and local economic networks have been challenged with unprecedented intensity. In an environment of crisis and constrained economic activity, the impetus for strategic responses that support customers while leveraging technology to deliver banking products and services in new, innovative, and – above all – efficient – ways has grown even greater. We are proud to state that HNB demonstrated leadership in each area while being resilient under extremely challenging conditions. This sustainable performance, financial strength, and stability helped us earn our place among the Top 1,000 world banks for the fifth consecutive year. This achievement stands as further validation of our team’s unwavering commitment to excellence,” Jonathan Alles, Managing Director/ CEO, HNB, said. Notwithstanding the challenging macro conditions, the bank continued to progress on its ambitious transformation journey. HNB’s pivot to digitally- enabled products and services continued to gather momentum, as the bank provided customers with convenient, comprehensive, and secure options to transact remotely. HNB experienced unprecedented growth, especially in the digital payment sector, as Sri Lankans switched to digital banking channels. Notably, during the past year, the bank also supported the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) to promote the ‘Rata Purama LANKA QR’ campaign across various locations to raise awareness and encourage the public towards cashless payments. Having already linked LANKA QR to its digital payment app HNB SOLO, the bank was among other financial institutions and telecommunication partners in joining efforts to make cashless QRcode- based payments the standard for mobile phones and digital payments countrywide, in moving towards a cashless and digitally-savvy Sri Lanka. Being a true partner in progress, HNB adopted a proactive approach in providing essential support to its network of retail, corporate and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) clients negatively impacted by the COVID pandemic through moratoriums and working capital finance. Moreover, to finance a grassroots revival of the Sri Lankan economy, the bank launched a COVID relief fund to provide working capital loans at a concessionary interest rate directly to the bank’s substantial portfolio of SME customers. The bank also provided grants to 200 microentrepreneurs to revive their businesses.