Inaugural Office Bearers of TFAB
Trade Finance is one of the most important functions of commercial banks as they depend on this area of business to generate a substantial amount of their profits. Although the credit risk in trade finance is considered relatively low the operational risks are very high. The banks therefore deploy highly skilled staff to handle this area of their business. The staff members must be highly trained skilled staff who are very knowledgeable and possess the required skills which have to be updated regularly in order to be abreast of the developments in this dynamic area to be level with those in even the large international banks across the globe in order to deal with them effectively.
However, most banks in Sri Lanka did not have a coordinated approach in training their staff in this area. Therefore there was a need to have a mechanism to bridge this gap. Some senior bankers handling trade finance business thought it fit to form a body which could fulfill this need and thus, the Trade Finance Association of Bankers was formed.
The inauguration of the Association was held at the Hotel Taprobane (presently the Grand Oriental Hotel in Colombo Fort on 11 November 1997 with the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Mr. A.S. Jayawardena as the Chief Guest and the Resident Representative of the International Monetary Fund as the Guest of Honour who also delivered the keynote.
The following founder members were unanimously elected to the first Council of the Trade Finance Association of Bankers (TFAB).
|President :||Mr. A. Kathiravelupillai|
|Vice President :||Mr. Ernest Gunasekera|
|Secretary General :||Mr. Michael Peiris|
|Assistant Secretary :||Mr. Ananda Liyanage|
|Treasurer :||Mr. Jegan Durairathnam|
|Assistant Treasurer :||Mrs. Damayanthi Tillekeratne|
|Council Members :||Mr. Ravi Molligoda
Mr. Parama Dharmawardene
Mr. Lakshman Edward
Mr. J.L.S. Liyanage
Mr. Kumar Wickramarachchi
Mrs. Preethi Jayawardena
Mr. A.H. Bakshy
Mr. Ravi Perera was elected the Honorary Auditor and Mr. Srilal Waidyatilleke was appointed the Editor of the association’s newsletter.
The membership of the Association was open to bankers who are serving or who have served in handling trade finance business who subscribe to the objects of the Association. The following were the principal objectives of the Association.
- To facilitate the exchange of views among members and other individuals and / or organizations on matters related to trade finance
- To promote consistency in trade finance practices among bankers
- To engage in educational activities for members and other practitioners of trade finance by holding lectures, seminars, workshops and other activities
- To assist members to further their learning and knowledge on matters relating to trade finance
- To publish a periodic journal / newsletter containing material relating to trade finance and other connected areas.
- To coordinate with any regulatory authority or other organizations on matters related to trade finance
- To promote goodwill, understanding and fellowship among bankers engaged in trade finance.
This year the Trade Finance Association of Bankers completes 20 years of dedicated and invaluable service to the international trade finance industr0y. It can be justifiably proud of its achievements during this period having performed a number of activities for the furtherance of its laid down objectives.
A Trade Seminar is conducted annually by TFAB catering to the bankers, importers, exporters, lawyers and businessmen in order to update their knowledge and skills to be abreast of the current global practices. The TFAB also conducts a series of Evening Lecture / Discussion programs by inviting eminent speakers to discuss topical subjects. Another important role that TFAB plays is having discussions with the various regularity authorities with a view to seeking clarifications on the various operating instructions issued from time to time as well as to iron out the practical issues that banks face in handling the international trade operations. TFAB also issue a Newsletter periodically to update the knowledge of the members with the latest developments. The other main event in the TFAB calendar is the Quiz and Social. The Quiz is designed to sharpen the skills and enhance the knowledge of the participants while the Social is aimed at fulfilling the objective of promoting goodwill, understanding and fellowship among bankers engaged in trade finance. Trade Cricket Sixes is also held annually with the objective of building comradeship among the members and providing networking opportunities.
We are delighted to mention that two of our members are the Chief Executives of two leading commercial banks in Sri Lanka today. It is envisaged that the TFAB will continue to play its pivotal role of developing people by enhancing the knowledge and sharpening the skills of trade practitioners involved in imports and exports business. We acknowledge with thanks the contribution made by the commercial banks which have been very supportive of the activities carried out by TFAB over the past twenty years and we look forward to their continued support and generosity in the future as well.
Inaugural Office Bearers of TFAB
Mr. A. Kathiravelupillai
Mr. Ernest Gunasekera
Mr. Michael Peiris
Mr. Ananda Liyanage
Mr. Jegan Durairathnam
Mrs. Damayanthi Tillekeratne
Mr. J. S. L.Liyanage
1997/1998 & 1999/2000
1999/2000 & 2000/2001
2001/2002 & 2002/2003
2003/2004 & 2004/2005
2005/2006 & 2006/2007
Mr. Nilam U.Jumat
2014/2015 & 2015/2016
2019/2020 & 2020/2021
2021/2022 & 2022/2023
Message From President
In celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Trade Finance Association of Bankers, on the 3rd of December 2022, it gives me great pleasure and the privilege to issue this message as the President of the Trade Finance Association of Bankers. We are delighted to have the blessings of Dr. P. Nandalal Weerasinghe, the Governor Central Bank of Sri Lanka, who will be the Chief Guest at this event.
Banks and other financial institutions help companies engage in world trade, mitigating risks so that goods and services can flow across the globe smoothly and securely. Trade finance is especially crucial for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which may lack the resources to import or export valuable goods. With the pandemic and the economic crisis looming locally and abroad, Trade Finance has been under great scrutiny from the public and private sectors. Policymakers have become increasingly aware that trade finance is the key driver of economic growth. The rising cost of providing trade finance for banks can have a negative effect on facilitating international trade.
With the pandemic taking its toll recently, International Trade took a new turn as the banks were compelled to adapt to the new normal. Banks swiftly responded to re-think their strategy and revamped their systems to move towards a paperless work environment, which led to a work-from-home culture.
The political upheaval, scarcity of materials, international conflict, domestic civil unrest, rising energy prices, and the free flow of foreign exchange are some recent challenges Sri Lanka faces. This has resulted in the curtailment of international trade. Based on this context, the Association decided on the theme ‘Navigating International Trade through Economic Turbulence’.
As international trade is the backbone of the country’s economy, Sri Lanka has focused on growing its Exports to facilitate the free flow of trade and to build its foreign currency reserves. Banks view this business segment as the primary contributor to their overall performance. Further, with the threat of FinTech providing the banking industry services, it has been of paramount importance that the staff deployed in these areas are updated on the industry developments.
The Trade Finance Association of Bankers, in its 25-year journey, has played a vital role in upscaling the knowledge of Trade practitioners by conducting seminars, lectures, and discussions on a wide range of topics regularly to be abreast of the development in this dynamic area. The yeoman work that this association has done gives me the confidence that the legacy of the Trade Finance Association of Bankers will continue for many years to come.
I wish the Trade Finance Association of Bankers great success on this 25th Anniversary.