As a pioneer in inward remittance handling catering to the needs of Sri Lankans working overseas, Hatton National Bank (HNB) has established remittance relationships covering the entire Gulf region, Europe, Australia, the Far East and USA.
With a heritage of 120 plus years and backed by a solid 241 customer centre network, HNB, as a key player in the inward remittance sphere, offers Sri Lankans employed overseas the opportunity of remitting their money through safe, reliable and cost effective channels.
"Apart from remittance partnerships with reputed banks around the globe, HNB is also the clearing providers for Customers of Barclay’s Bank in the United Kingdom for their rupee payments in Sri Lanka", said Reshanka H. Abayasekara, AGM – Correspondent Banking & International Operations, HNB.
In addition, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia one of Australia’s leading providers of financial services has also appointed HNB as their clearing provider for Australian dollar payments and rupee payments, he said. "This is an exclusive privilege as all payments in the designated currency in Sri Lanka have to go through HNB".
He said that HNB is also the Super Agent in Sri Lanka to receive payments through MoneyGram for worldwide destinations. Only a Super Agent has the legal authority to appoint Sub Agents to transact remittance business.
"With the convenience of our remitting customers in mind, we have launched HNB CashXpress — our own system for easy, safe, fast and cost effective delivery of remittances to family members and friends in Sri Lanka. This mechanism is used by our remittance partners in the Gulf, Australia, UK and Europe", Mr. Abayasekara explained.
HNB also has overseas presence in two Remittance Houses in UAE and Oman. Managed by HNB staff, they cater to not only to Sri Lanka, but also to South Asia and South East Asia. In UAE, the Remittance House managed by HNB is called Delma Exchange, which has five remittance centres in Abhu Dhabi, Hamdan Street, Musaffah, Al Quoz and Karama while Majan Exchange LLC, in Oman has remittance centres in Ruwi and Ghala.
This is another unique initiative taken by HNB to support Sri Lankan nationals employed overseas, especially in the Middle East, the AGM emphasized. "We have our own staff performing duties as marketing representatives in Kuwait, Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Italy".
He said that 65 HNB customer centre’s open on Saturdays/ Sundays as well for the convenience of beneficiaries to collect their remittances.
In another salutary achievement, HNB recently introduced ‘Adhishtana’, a first-of-its-kind savings account especially designed for Sri Lankan migrant workers in the Middle East. A unique feature of this novel product is that it is a new savings account option with access to financing and insurance.
With a surge in remittances from migrant workers envisaged in the coming years, ‘Adhishtana’ will benefit both the receivers and senders of remittances to Sri Lanka, Mr. Abayasekara noted.
Senders or receivers of remittances from any Middle East country can open an ‘Adhishtana’ account, with an initial minimum deposit of Rs. 1,000 in comparison to normal savings, thus encouraging more savings among the segment. Keeping in line with the aspirations of a majority who seek foreign employment to fulfill the dream of a home of their own, the ‘Adhishtana’ account paves the way for special housing loans from Rs. 50,000/- to Rs. 1,000,000/- and loans ranging from Rs. 25,000/- to Rs.1,000,000/- to start small business enterprises together with business guidance and advise provided by the bank, said Kalum Wijesooriya, Chief Manager, Remittances, HNB.
He said that all ‘Adhishtana’ account holders will be offered a life insurance cover of Rs 100,000/- where the bank will bear 50% of the insurance premium. In addition, all "Adhishtana"accounts with a balance of Rs.10,000/-or above will be eligible for "HNB Pathum Vimana"-Sri Lanka’s biggest prize draw.
On outward remittances, the AGM said that parents who encourage their children to be professionals can remit funds overseas through HNB to pay membership and examination fees or to purchase text books. If their children are studying abroad, they can also pay semester fees, living expenses or purchase course materials through this channel.
In case of professionals, they can depend on HNB outward remittances to pay their overseas subscriptions/membership fees, subscribe to periodicals/magazines or pay for correspondent courses.
HNB also offers pilgrims to Mecca a convenient, safe and cost effective way to carry Saudi Riyals for expenses in connection with the pilgrimage for UMRAH or HAJJ.
Businessmen travelling overseas can obtain AMEX Travelers Cheques which are convenient, safe and in many major currencies. They can also opt for currency notes subject to foreign exchange control limitations.