The ongoing global outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted the world in an unprecedented manner. It has changed the way we work, live and do business, overall. The pandemic has brought about many unforeseen challenges to all businesses from small, mid-sized to large scale enterprises. Having recognised the difficulties faced by businesses across the nation, LOLC Finance PLC enhanced and accelerated its commitment to extend its support to uplift and re-energise such impacted enterprises, in numerous ways. Some of the company’s major initiatives took place in the Southern region, where LOLC Finance is present in 26 locations.
The entrepreneurs of the Southern region are engaged in various industries ranging from leisure, tea, paddy, cinnamon, fruit farming, horticulture, handicrafts, food manufacturing to fisheries. These businesses not only play an important role in developing the Southern region, they also contribute vastly towards the economic growth of the entire nation through wealth creation and advancing the living standards of the people. With the outbreak of COVID-19, many of these businesses that were once thriving lost its grip. As a responsible corporate citizen, LOLC Finance continuously stood closely with these businesses to help them navigate through the difficult period.
Several qualitative as well as quantitative measures were introduced by LOLC Finance, Sri Lanka’s largest Non-Bank Financial Institution (NBFI) to support and uplift many distressed businesses in the Southern region. Several tailored solutions were introduced to the customers, offering unmatched relief and flexibility in repayments. Despite the curfew and lockdowns, the company continued to support the requirements of the customers through its staff working from home. Furthermore, LOLC Finance continued to stay connected with its customers through webinars, post-COVID workshops and offering advice.
In the Southern region, LOLC Finance rescheduled a substantial amount of loans during the COVID and post COVID period, offering relief to a large number of entrepreneurs and individuals. A majority of those loans were of Small & Medium (SME) scale businesses. These loans were mainly rescheduled as a result of significant income and cash flow reduction. In addition, moratoriums were offered to customers in order to overcome financial challenges during the COVID-19 Pandemic. These moratoriums were issued time to time on 6 occasions. Moreover, the iPay Digital Platform of LOLC Finance was expanded aggressively throughout the region since it is a convenient, easy-to-use and well sophisticated digital payment platform.
Despite the lockdowns and curfews, LOLC Finance was able to support its customers with new loan disbursements especially to SME and Micro businesses. MSME and Micro clients with granular credit requirements were fulfilled with tailor-made plastic credit amidst the challenge of prolonged lockdowns.
Meanwhile, LOLC Finance which has the country’s largest Fixed Deposit and Savings Deposit base, amongst the Registered Finance Companies, operated its Fixed Deposit facilities smoothly through the company’s digital platform, iPay.
Furthermore, LOLC Finance stepped out to distribute relief packs for people who were severely impacted by the pandemic. These efforts were carried out by partnering with two of Sri Lanka’s premier media channels – Hiru Sahana Yaatra and Manusath Derana.
Stating about the company’s relief initiative, Nalaka Mohotti, Deputy General Manager of the Southern Region of LOLC Finance, said, “At LOLC Finance, we developed an overall action plan to face this crisis – because we knew that we had to weather this storm together. We made full use of that plan because we knew that we had to support individuals, businesses and communities in the Southern Region to get over this crisis. I must thank the 580 plus staff in all 26 branches in this region for their unstinted support and dedication”.
Conrad Dias, Director/CEO of LOLC Finance PLC said, “I am immensely thankful to the staff of LOLC Finance for the commitment and sacrifices they made during this challenging time. Together, we ensured that not only our business ran smoothly but also that the lives and businesses of our valued customers were given topmost attention and priority. Our staff worked tirelessly to assist our customers who were both impacted and non-impacted to transit to digital banking. We all know that COVID-19 is here to stay and our lives are changed forever, as a result. Therefore, we as a company that works closely with the communities of this country, will continue to stand and work together, come what may”.
LOLC Finance PLC Incorporated on the 13th of December 2001, is rated [SL] A (Stable) by ICRA Lanka Limited and is licensed by the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka under the Finance Business Act No. 42 of 2011. Eligible deposit liabilities are insured with the Sri Lanka Deposit Insurance Scheme implemented by the Monetary Board for compensation up to a maximum of Rs. 1,100,000 per depositor.