Placed among the country’s largest conglomerates and business stewards, Citizen’s Development Business Finance proudly donned the crown of being among the Top Ten Corporate Citizens of Sri Lanka for 2015, in addition to being adjudged Best Corporate Citizen 2015 in the Less than Rs 15 Bn Category. For a company that is just twenty years old, this is indeed an impressive feat, given that the best corporate citizenship title is accorded to those entities conforming to stringent parameters and standards as enumerated by an erudite panel of judges. Organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the awards are in its 12th year with the panel of judges chaired this year, by renowned statistician and former Assistant Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Dr Anila Dias Bandaranaike.
Proudly holding aloft the awards, Mahesh Nanayakkara, CEO/ Managing Director considers both awards as evidence of the unwavering foundations of economic and social inclusivity that CDB has constructed its business model upon. “We have always been stakeholder oriented with every decision we make, every product we innovate and every service we impart. These must benefit our stakeholders. Our fundamentals are constructed on the strong tenets of financial empowerment and social inclusivity, which resonate right throughout our entire business, ensuring that from the top down, from our Chairman to every member of our team, they all well validate what we say and do. This is about corporate stewardship and with these awards, CDB has proven undoubtedly that, we say what we do and do what we say.”
These accolades are doubly special for CDB given that it celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and has over these two decades, overcome some very challenging circumstances to emerge as a stronger and more vibrant business entity. The most valuable dynamic in the CDB business formula is the fact that it has gained an unwavering reputation as a respected custodian of public funds in the NBFI sector, tasked with being responsible for deposits made by the people. “For us these awards only serve to push us further, encouraging us to constantly be stakeholder vigilant, impacting them positively. Given the varied nature of our clientele, we have infused the concept of ‘Urban Funding and Rural Lending’ into our business model which well compliments the sustainable practices we are emphatic about. Our leadership in the financial services sector has enabled us to position ourselves as a ‘Net Lender to the Rural Economy’ with a strong focus on the base of the pyramid markets.” CDB practices a balanced business model within a framework of financial stability, social empowerment and environmental consciousness.
“The demographics we work with our wide and varied,” explains Nanayakkara. “But those demographics are firmly embedded in our sustainability agenda. Just recently, we were certified a Carbon Conscious Business Entity based on a carbon footprint business assessment conducted by the Sri Lanka Carbon Fund. The green initiatives we have embarked on including increasing awareness and forest cover through ‘CDB Mihikathata Adaren’, pioneering Sri Lanka’s first Green Asset Backed Securitization and recycling have all added weight to our eco-accountability and thereby, our corporate stewardship.”
While each of CDB’s products are designed to present economic empowerment to the targeted stakeholders, CDB’s product portfolio has always been constructed on a responsible and ethical platform. Similarly, social initiatives include the ‘CDB Sisudiri Scholarships’ which enable high achieving young children and youth to continue their education, training and learning initiatives for youth and graduates via soft skill and professional programmes, making IT an imperative among disadvantaged schools across the island with the construction of fully fledged IT laboratories via ‘CDB Pariganaka Piyasa’, infusing women’s empowerment through ‘CDB Diriliya’ and employee volunteerism through ‘CDB Hithawathkam’.
As Nanayakkara points out, “Being accorded the Best Corporate Citizen and being among the Top Ten in Sri Lanka is truly a proud moment for us because it reiterates the emphasis we have always had on constructing and nurturing a sustainable organization. We have retained the mindset that we are custodians of public funds which elicits a strong ethos of compliance, governance, transparency, accountability and ethics. This blueprint on which we base our business upon has also gained recognition through the numerous awards we have been conferred with both locally and internationally.”
Nanayakkara strongly believes that the strong disciplined culture permeating through CDB has built that financial stability and strength, which each year CDB has showcased through its record financial performance. “We now intend using these two awards as icons to help us move ahead. We will continue to strengthen our EPS formula built on our humanized framework of Emotions, Passion and Spirit, reiterating our focus as being an entirely people driven organization.”