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Tuesday, 18 December 2012






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HNB rewards Year five scholarship students for the first time

HNB Singithi Lama Scholarship winners

Hatton National Bank, for the first time, rewarded children who excelled at the Year Five Scholarship examination, conducted by the Department of Examinations, with scholarships at a special felicitation ceremony held at HNB Towers in Colombo recently. Significantly, the three students obtaining the highest marks in the island are Singithi Lama Account holders.

Students totalling 65 who sat for and were ranked within the top 10 in their respective districts at the scholarship exams are also Singithi Lama Account holders, a spokesperson for the bank said.

Ranked first in the island was Kisara Sandaluka Koditthuwaku and R. M. A. Upeksha Maduwanthi, while W. M. S. A. Bandara Wickramasinghe obtained the second highest marks.

The top achievers received a cash prize of Rs. 300,000 each and the second best achiever received a cash prize of Rs. 100,000. In addition, 62 winners who ranked highest in their respective districts were awarded Rs. 20,000 each.

As part of rewarding children and encouraging youth to ‘Keep Learning and Keep Saving’, HNB’s Singithi Lama Account is designed specifically for children ranging from newborn infants to 12 years.

Among the many features and benefits of this unique account are a range of gifts based on maintained account balance, loans for purchase of computers, scholarships up to a value of Rs. 7 million and an opportunity to enter the Pathum Vimana Draw. In addition, children enjoy an added One per cent interest above the general savings rate.

Under the umbrella of the scholarship scheme, HNB also conducted a special educational programme designed specifically for students who sat for the Year Five Scholarship Examination titled “Singithi Lama Pahe Denuma Weduma”, and was broadcast over radio on Lakhada and on TV via ITN.

At the forefront of promoting programmes in the sphere of education, HNB continues to champion a number of initiatives designed to boost skills and further educational pursuits among children across the island through its homegrown Nana Pubuduwa initiative.

Since 2005 the bank’s many CSR initiatives include establishing libraries in schools, particularly those in disadvantaged, rural areas, which now number 199, promoting IT-based learning environments through provision of computers to selected schools and renovation of existing infrastructure as well as donation of books, furniture and equipment.

Argentina slaps $6 mn fine on HSBC subsidiary

Argentina slapped a 30 million peso ($6 million) fine on a local subsidiary of global banking giant HSBC for failing to report suspicious transactions, authorities here said Sunday.

Justice officials said that the fine had been levied against HSBC Bank Argentina SA for failing to disclose a three million dollar transaction by a bread bakers’ association, in what regulatory officials said was a clear-cut case of money laundering.

Officials said the sum should have raised red flags at HSBC, given the group’s relatively modest “profile.” “The amount of transactions investigated was a 5800 percent higher than the amount of total income declared by the association for the years 2005 to 2006,” the agency.

Just last week, officials in the United State found that HSBC’s parent flouted US sanctions on Iran and other countries and laundered Mexican drug money to build its business, and hit it with a massive $1.92 billion in fines.

US authorities said the British bank’s internal controls were “knowingly and willfully” lax, and that it have enabled forbidden financial transactions with Iran, Libya, Sudan, Cuba and Myanmar from the 1990s through 2006.

The company’s Mexico branch also freely allowed hundreds of millions of dollars to be laundered through HSBC by drug groups, the US Justice Department said.


Europe bank accord lauded but long road ahead

Europe’s new bank supervision system, agreed after marathon talks, was welcomed as a key step towards preventing any repeat of the crisis which nearly brought down the euro but some reservations remain.

The Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), set up under the European Central Bank, will have direct oversight initially over some 200 of the eurozone’s biggest and most important banks.

At the same time, it will have ultimate authority over all the single currency area’s 6,000 banks but most will remain the wards of their national regulators, with the SSM stepping in only if the problems look really serious.

“This is a historic decision,” said Guido Ravoet, the head of the European Banking Federation.

The SSM is the first part of a planned ‘Banking Union’ which in due course will have the power to wind up failed banks and provide deposit guarantees across the eurozone.

The aim is to prevent any repeat of 2008-09 when the banks, condemned for reckless risk-taking which led to mountains of bad debt, queued up for state aid to save them -- as in Britain, Ireland, Spain, to name just a few.

With literally hundreds of billions involved, some countries soon found their own finances in tatters, with Ireland forced to call in the EU and International Monetary Fund and Spain getting help earlier this year.

“The crisis came from the banks and the mechanisms have now been put in place to ensure that things will not be like before,” said French President Francois Hollande.

“It is the first step -- but there are three,” said Georges Pauget, former head of French bank Credit Agricole.

For Pauget, the SSM will not be able to exert its full influence until there is a winding up facility for failed banks and the eurozone deposit guarantee system to protect bank customers.

“If you do not have the bank resolution system, if the process (in case of bank failure) is not known and clear, you risk having a supervisor short” of the powers required, he said.

Nicolas Veron, economist with the Bruegel Institute in Brussels, said he had some reservations about the exact relationship between the ECB and the national regulators.

“There are some banks which will have two sets of supervisors and which will be able to play one off against the other,” Veron said.


Left Side- Chairman of Sampath IT, Lakshman Hettiaratchi exchanging the agreement with John Caliguri, Chairman of Paycorp Holdingsand Business Payment Services.


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