A strong contender in the financial services sector, ‘Fintrex Finance Limited’ has been able to capture a sizeable share of market since its inception in 2007. With a commitment towards promoting economic growth, economic inclusion and development within Sri Lanka, this establishment intends playing a significant role in supporting businesses and communities while providing people with access to financial products and services for a better tomorrow. In the backdrop of the prevailing global pandemic COVID-19, we met with Mr. Sajeewa Sapukotana, the Chief Operating Officer of ‘Fintrex’ to understand the Institution's operations.

Could you provide us with an overview of ‘Fintrex Finance Limited’ and its establishment?

Diversified Sri Lankan blue chip ‘Melstacorp PLC’ divested its 100% stake, in what was originally ‘Melsta Regal Finance Ltd’, to a consortium of reputed investors in April 2018. This institution was subsequently renamed ‘Fintrex Finance Limited’ in September 2018. 'Fintrex Finance Limited' is owned by Bluestone 1 (Pvt) Limited which comprises of  a consortium of world class investors including global insurance giant Fairfax Holdings who holds 70% along with MAS and Hirdaramani Group who together holds 24.14% and Ajit Gunewardena and connected parties who own the balance.  While the investors are represented on the Board of Fintrex by Messrs. Ajit Gunewardene Chairman, Ronnie Peiris, and  Shantanu Nagpal, all household names in corporate Sri Lanka,  Messrs Mahendra Galgamuwa, Shivan Coorey, Keith Bernard and Ms Shivanthi Athukorale, all with high reputation in the Financial Services industry, serve as Independent Directors.

A strong balance sheet acquired from ‘Melsta Regal Finance Limited’ together with the expertise of the Directorate and Corporate Management team comprising individuals who bring many years of business experience and commercial acumen from within the financial services industry has leveraged our position as a significant player in the sector.

What was the primary purpose in establishing ‘Fintrex Finance Limited’?

We wanted to be an establishment that provides its customers with a unique financial proposition together with faster turnaround times. While our key focus is on the SME segment, an often neglected area that needs much attention, we also want to be accessible to anyone who needs a means of financing to grow and develop their business or their personal financial wealth. We aim to deliver all of this with a unique level of service to retain our customers, build loyalty, trust, and long-term relationships. To this end, we have a diverse product portfolio and can customize same to meet our client requirements. The name ‘Fintrex’ derived from financial entrepreneurship and expertise exemplifies these ideals and our purpose for being in business.

Could you comment on the financial strength of your institution?

‘Fintrex’ inherited a strong balance sheet from ‘Melsta Regal Finance Limited’ which has shown growth in the period leading to the present amidst the challenges presented by the Easter Bombings in April 2019 and the prevailing global pandemic. We have also complied with the core capital requirements as per the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and are poised to grow our financial position further.

Could you briefly explain the products offered by ‘Fintrex’?

We provide leasing facilities to support the purchase of registered, unregistered, and brand-new motor vehicles, loans of short- and long-term tenures as well as trade financing product options and ancillary services to support working capital requirements of businesses. We also have personal savings schemes in the form of savings accounts and fixed deposits at attractive rates of interest for minors up to senior citizen categories. The need for convenience and expediency is central to all that we offer and have simplified and automated our processes and channels accordingly to deliver products and services quickly and efficiently in line with these parameters.

Could you tell us about the Company’s reach island wide?

‘Fintrex’ has a presence in many of the key cities within Sri Lanka. We have a branch network of 11 which includes our presence in Colombo 07, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kiribathgoda, Kuliyapitiya, Negombo, Kandy, Matara, Kurunegala, Kegalle and Dambulla. ‘Fintrex’ will expand its coverage for better customer convenience island wide going forward. In an effort to bridge access and reach, ‘Fintrex’ has in place multiple easy payment methods which encompass online payments via any bank including Commercial Bank PLC, HNB PLC and Peoples’ Bank PLC to name a few, and the ‘Dialog EZ Cash’ option which allows one to transfer funds and make payments via their ‘Dialog’, ‘Hutch’ and ‘Etisalat’ mobile phones in the absence of a bank account. In addition, our customers can also make payments at any of the ‘Cargills Food City’ supermarket outlets island wide.

How has ‘Fintrex’ responded to its customers during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic presented a significant challenge to multiple businesses in Sri Lanka. As a financial institution, ‘Fintrex’ stepped forward and provided much needed financial relief to many of its customers in line with the relief measures, policies and guidelines issued by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to support businesses during these trying times. All of our services offered were in compliance with respective regulations, monitored and supervised. An added advantage was that we were able to reach many new customers and help them prioritize their expectations and plans.

What has been the impact of the current pandemic in relation to ‘Fintrex’?

Our view has been holistic. We see the crisis as something that is not only relevant to our institution but as a significant problem afflicting multiple industries and the world at large which in turn has a cyclical effect on every group of stakeholders locally and internationally.  We identified multiple scenarios that arose and quantified its possible effects in the future based on which we formulated a plan to provide maximum relief for the difficulties experienced by our customers. We were also able to identify multiple businesses that were not severely affected by the pandemic but simply needed assistance and support to conduct their operations in the most efficient way possible.  Internally, ‘Fintrex’ undertook measures to ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of its employees by establishing and implementing new regulations to be COVID-prepared and minimize the risk of spread.

What is the future of Fintrex?

We aim to be better every day. This has served to enhance our stability and credibility in the financial services sector making us a strong contender among many other players. ‘Fintrex’ today is an Institution that can make powerful interventions on behalf of the many financial requirements of businesses and individuals. As the Chief Operating Officer of ‘Fintrex’, I would like to say that our journey of growth would not have been possible without the commitment, dedication and shared vision of its employees, Management and Directorate. Our vision for the future is to be among the top five financial institutions in Sri Lanka within the next five years for which we are progressively and readily on our way.