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Wednesday February 1st, 2023

PMF Finance: Championing impact financing to empower entrepreneurs

Chandula Abeywickrema Chairman of PMF Finance PLC

People’s Merchant Finance PLC – a leading non-bank financial institution with a heritage of over four decades – recently unveiled its new brand identity, PMF Finance PLC. The rebranding reflects its rapid transformation over the past two years from a loss-making entity to a profitable one and its profound commitment to shift from traditional lending to impact-based financing to promote entrepreneurship.

The company had reported losses for ten straight years before the Sterling Capital acquisition in 2019. With 81% ownership, Japan’s Sterling Capital Investments is steering PMF Finance to become a path-maker for frontier finance under a professional, multidisciplinary Board of Directors led by former banker Chandula Abeywickrema. However, since Sterling Capital’s entry, Abeywickrema’s new-look Board of Directors engineered a spectacular turnaround within a year and followed that up by more than doubling its profits the following year despite the constricting challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis.

“One of the fundamental changes was reframing our purpose as a mid-sized finance company to support communities and the economy to prevail through the unfolding economic crisis by focusing on flaming the entrepreneurial spirit within Sri Lankans,” Abeywickrema said.

PMF Finance aims to serve society by serving more people in more places, particularly entrepreneurs who create, innovate, and add value to lives and the economy. The company has transformed the organization, bringing in professionals to bolster the management team, and changed its approach to lending, departing from traditional money lending to impact financing.

And that, according to Abeywickrema, is the higher purpose of PMF Finance. The company will focus on small and medium enterprises with a strong proclivity for scalability, sustainability and commercial viability. “Our purpose is to make an impact with our lending. We want to be relevant. So that is why we want to make sure that we identify with the aspirations of entrepreneurs because they are the ones who typically engage in a constant and incessant striving to make a difference,” Abeywickrema said.

No other non-bank lending institution focuses on impact financing, and PMF Finance’s impressive growth in the last two years has opened new opportunities for the company and its customers. While the company aims to expand its branch network in the country, its thrust is elsewhere. “Our focus will be on expanding our presence island-wide with digital technology without investing in brick-and-mortar. Once we improve this model, we will explore expansion in other countries where there is a growing need for lending to create transformative opportunities for people and communities,” Abeywickrema avowed