People’s Bank, a pioneer in the Sri Lankan Banking and Financial Services sector, celebrates its 61st anniversary on 01st July.
Instrumental in introducing the concept of banking to the general public in Sri Lanka, People’s Bank has continued with that responsibility further by providing digital banking services even to the most rural areas in the country, thereby enabling the entire nation to enjoy the benefits of cutting edge technology. Furthermore the Bank has played a pivotal role in driving the national socio-economic development since inception, thus earning the reputation as the pride of the nation.
People's Bank was established under Act No. 29 of 1961 with the aim of uplifting the co-operative business and rural banking systems. This Act was submitted to Parliament by then Minister of Trade, Food, Co-operatives and Shipping,T. B. Ilangaratne, under the leadership of then Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Vincent Subasinghe who was a pioneer in providing banking services to the co-operative sector was the first Chairman of People's Bank.
In an era when banking services were limited to English speaking upper echelons of the society, it was the People's Bank that changed that phenomenon by commencing to conduct its operations in Sinhala and Tamil.
Right from the inception, the bank started working towards its mission to serve the masses. Accordingly, People’s Bank has introduced many firsts to the country such as agriculture loans, Pawning, SME loans, Women’s Savings Accounts and Children’s Savings Accounts to name few. Most of these product concepts were so widely embraced by the society that almost all the local commercial banks are now offering them under various brand names.
Currently, People's Bank is one of Sri Lanka’s largest financial institutions, boasting over Rs. 3 trillion in assets. Its network of 743 branches/service centers is the country’s largest. The bank also possesses a network of over 268 Self Banking Units operating 24/7 all 365 days of the year. This enormous network operating with over 8000 staff members, has enabled the people to get their banking done safely, securely and with ease of accessibility.
While the bank initially focused on rural sectors and cooperative movements, since then People’s Bank has evolved to cater to a wide range of customer segments including Retail, High Net Worth, Micro & SME and Corporate.
As a responsible state bank, People's Bank has not only provided financial services to its customers but has also made significant contributions to the socio-economic progress of the country. During the past 61 years the bank has provided financial assistance in the areas of exports, education, health, expressways, roads, tourism and infrastructure. In addition, People's Bank works successfully with over 900 banks worldwide to facilitate import and export trades by issuing Letters of Credit to private and State-owned enterprises. This function is invaluable to sustain normal lives of general public as it enables importation of essential items such as fuel, medicine, food and gas.
Adapting to the modern world, the People’s Bank launched a digital banking project in 2015, to ensure that their customers could transact easily, safely and efficiently. People's Bank was the first bank in the island that took steps to undertake a comprehensive digital transformation project covering major part of its operations. As a result, People's Bank now provides a world class digital banking experience to all its customers.
For example, People’s Bank has enabled customers to open an account paperless in as short a time as 10 minutes and obtain a personal loan within 24 hours. As another key component of the digitalization journey, People's Bank introduced People's Wave mobile banking app for customers to transact any time of the day using their smartphone without having to go to a bank branch and this has become the most downloaded app in Sri Lanka. In addition, a mobile app was specially introduced to institutional customers called People's Wyn. Online banking facilities targeting both retail and corporate customers were introduced in 2018.
Furthermore, People's Bank has introduced the People's Pay mobile app to support and promote digital payments within the nation.
The excellence of People's Bank has consistently earned recognition both locally and internationally. SLIM Nielsen People's Awards, National Business Excellence Awards and LankaPay Technnovation Awards are but some of the local accolades received by the bank. Internationally, People's Bank has been the recipient of awards such as Asian Banker Excellence in Retail Financial Services Award, Asia Money Best Bank Awards, SAFA Awards, The Asian Digital Finance Forum and Awards.
Additionally, The Banker Magazine named People’s Bank as one of the Top 1000 Banks in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. Multiple business magazines such as World Finance, International Business Magazine, Global Business Review Magazine, Global Banking and Financial Review Magazine of UK also have awarded the bank on several occasions.
ICCSL, CIMA, and Daily FT newspaper included People's Bank as one of the 10 best institutions in 2018, 2019,2020 and 2021 consecutively. People's Bank is also the only State bank which was awarded the ISO/IEC 27001- 2013.