ACLEDA Bank in Cambodia managers from across the country along with the bank’s President and Group Managing Director In Channy have assembled at the President Hotel in Battambang to mark the completion of 30 years and resolved to take the banking system to the next level – digitally.
Addressing a press conference after holding a discussion on ‘Strategic Financial Management in the Digital Era’, Channy exclusively answered questions asked by Khmer Times. “We’re focused on the development of our digital infrastructure and security protection,” Channy said, adding, “The customers place their important assets with us so it’s our duty not to keep these assets just at the same value, but to add to its value, so we offer them a good interest rate with their savings which is a form of protection.”
When asked what the key profit drivers of the bank will be going forward, Channy responded by placing emphasising that a healthy collaboration with the customer is central to the bank’s success.
“I think the key is to listen very well to our customers,” he said. When asked to elaborate on it, Channy said, “Customers are richer in information now because some can use up to five different banks, including international banks. They come and use our services and then they advise us and make suggestions about what we can do better. We listen to them also because this is part of the mission and the vision of the ACLEDA Bank. So we can provide them with the wherewithal to manage their finances efficiently and successfully.”
“Customers place their assets with us, so it’s our duty not to keep these assets just at the same value, but to add to its value”
On the issue of the rising cases of non-performance loans (NPL) — loans that end up not being paid back in full or at all to the banks — Channy again placed his trust in the bank’s ability to understand the customers.
“We work with the customer and we know them very well, and I think that this is key,” he said.
Channy added: “When a customer submits their loan application to us, we don’t just look at what kind of capital security they have. First, we talk to the customer about the cash flow situation of their business, and when we’re happy with it we then look at the loan security such as land or buildings for example.”
“By assessing the cash flow of the customer’s business we can reduce the risk of an NPL, which is why the NPL of the bank was 2% in 2021. We also have our officer in the community know the customer very well.”
Other topics covered at the conference included future management of information technology and digital wireless networks, advice on marketing and sales in the changing environment, human resources, increasing productivity, branch management, and the bank’s strategy to meet its budget.
Earlier, Channy highlighted the challenges of digitalisation in banking between the different demographics. “Look at the size of the deposits. We have $5.4 billion of which around 70 percent are in Phnom Penh and provincial towns,” he said referring to the difference in the use of the bank’s digital services by people in rural areas as opposed to that of those in towns and cities.
“The more they (in rural areas) deposit the more they actively use digital. When we talk about loans it’s reversed, 70 percent are in the areas outside Phnom Penh and provincial towns, in the countryside so both areas use digital but for different purposes,” he said.
It was also thanks to the bank’s ability to expand its services efficiently to all of Cambodia’s provinces and towns that led it to be transformed from the NGO it started as 30 years ago providing microfinancing loans, into it becoming the nation’s largest commercial bank in terms of assets and customers it is today.
It only received a licence from the National Bank of Cambodia to become a full commercial bank in 2003 and remains the only bank listed on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX).
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.