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LankaClear records the best ever financial performance in 2016/17
LankaClear (Private) Limited, the operator of Sri Lanka’s National Payment Network LankaPay, held its 15th Annual General Meeting on 28th June 2017 at the Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo.

The company was incorporated in 2002 under the guidance and approval of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka as the National Cheque Clearing House. LankaClear is owned by the Central bank and all the registered Commercial Banks in the country in a Public Private Partnership (PPP). The company operates the national payment network that facilitates all interbank payments on behalf of its member banks and financial institutes, under the brand name of LankaPay. Through this critical backbone network, LankaClear has paved the way for the general public to access financial services even from the rural most location in the country.
LankaClear recorded the best ever financial performance in over 15 years of its existence by achieving the highest ever revenue of Rs.801mn at a healthy YoY growth of 33% and Profit before tax of Rs.322mn indicating a very positive bottom line. This growth was predominantly driven by the new product lines under the Common Card and Payment System (CCAPS) and confirms that the company is on the right track with appropriate strategies that have been executed to perfection during the year paving the way to exceed the anticipated results. The Company also maintained a healthy Return on Asset (RoA) ratio of 16% and Return on Equity (RoE) ratio of 17%, which indicated YoY growth of 33% and 31% respectively. LankaClear closed the year with a strong balance sheet with Net Assets reaching Rs.1.7Bn, which was a 20% growth compared to the previous year. The company also declared the highest ever dividend for the shareholders in 2016/17.
The financial year 2016/17 saw an impressive growth in the adoption of services of LankaClear as well as a greater penetration of electronic payments. The most spectacular growth was achieved in the transaction volumes of the real time payments area (CEFTS) where the company achieved a phenomenal YoY growth of 1553%. The primary driver for this was the fact that LankaClear team was able to attract a larger number of new members to the system during the year. The company also experienced an impressive YoY volume growth of 83.5% to reach a cash withdrawal volume of 26 million in the Common ATM Switch (CAS) where the total monthly cash withdrawal and balance inquiry volumes exceeded 3.5 million transactions towards the latter part of the year.  The transaction volumes of SLIPS reached 27 million at a modest growth of 15%, which was primarily driven by the campaigns carried out among the public sector encouraging them to move towards electronic payments.
Contrary to the popular beliefs that cheque volumes would go down with more and more citizens and businesses adopting electronic payment modes, in reality, the volume of CITS grew YoY by 4.55%. When the reason for this growth was analyzed, it was discovered that a major contributor to this growth was volumes from the North and the East. This is evidently due to the increased financial opportunities being presented in these areas after 30 years of war where a larger segment of the population are now associating with banks where there first payment instrument is a cheque. During the year 2016/17, the total number of ATMs connected to the Common ATM Switch (CAS) grew to over 3950 island wide accounting for 99.5% of the total ATMs in the country.
The year was also further enriched by the launch of JustPay initiative by LankaClear to drive digital payments in the retails segment of the business via CEFTS. This area is currently untapped and most of the transactions happen via cash. With the objective of converting at least 20% of the cash based retail payment transactions into digital mode by the year 2020, the company took the lead role and together with the banks launched this initiative. During the year LankaClear reached another milestone by becoming the first entity in the country to achieve Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) certification, which is the highest level of security compliance in the payments card industry in the world. The company also introduced the online mode for cheque clearing during the year to enhance the efficiency of the existing process and became the first entity in South Asia to do so.
Expressing his views on the company’s performance Mr. Anil Amarasuriya, Chairman LankaClear stated; “I am indeed proud to acknowledge the role played by LankaClear in revolutionizing Sri Lanka’s financial services industry over the past decade through innovative inter-bank solutions. The LankaPay Common ATM switch (CAS), our flagship product, which was launched in 2013 is now well anchored and continues to drive growth in the local financial services sector. Connecting the far regions of the country through a common platform, the LankaPay CAS continues to give millions of Sri Lankans easy access to their funds via an island-wide inter-bank network. However, faced with our greatest competitor, cash, the overarching priority for the year was to trigger a shift towards a cashless society. Hence, we focused our attention on growing on CEFTS (Common Electronic Fund Transfer Switch), rolled out in 2015, to gain considerable traction in the market. Undoubtedly, these offerings have paved the way for a new chapter in Sri Lanka’s financial services sector. I firmly believe that this is just the beginning, and for LankaClear there is much more work to be done, especially if we are to support Sri Lanka’s goal of becoming a financial hub in the South Asian subcontinent.”

Explaining the strategy behind LankaClear’s success General Manager and Chief Executive Officer, Channa de Silva, stated “It is not a new phenomenon to note that change, as we are now experiencing it, is happening at the speed of thought. Globalization and the rapid pace of technological advances are increasingly affecting both private and corporate customers. This ever changing business landscape has triggered the demand for dynamic user interfaces, greater availability, higher security and more importantly services at their fingertips. In other words, need of the hour is the availability of convenient services to save valuable time of demanding individuals. And we have deepened our resolve to become the main facilitators of our county’s economic progress by giving every citizen the opportunity to save that all important factor; TIME. The concept of pull-payments, in addition to the existing credit transfers of CEFTS, was identified as step forward in this direction and the launch of JustPay initiative was in-line with this thought process. We also enhanced our digital infrastructure by implementing new technologies and processes while sharpening existing ones, all in order to bring about faster turnaround times. Again the internal focus was on the value of time, thus, reducing the time to market for our services. With the above strategies in place and greater execution, we were quite successful in achieving our main objective of accelerating the growth trajectory of the company by leveraging on our established position as the “Trusted National Payment Network” in the country.”
Captions-
Mr. Anil Amarasuriya, Chairman – LankaClear Pvt Ltd
Mr. Channa de Silva, GM/CEO – LankaClear Pvt Ltd

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