In late 2013, Chief Bank was established as a specialised bank that was entering Cambodia’s competitive banking sector with a workforce of merely 30 and assets of $10 million. Yet, almost a decade later, the bank has grown into a key player in the field, with assets of more than $140 million, while its number of employees has grown to 140.
Speaking to AMAZADIA Education, Dr Soeung Morarith, chief executive officer (CEO) of Chief (Cambodia) Commercial Bank Plc, reveals how the bank has a “special recipes” that have led to its success today – and the prime ingredient he says is its superior products and services.
“Chief Bank utilises a business model that is localised, customised and best suited to the real needs of our clients in Cambodia, especially businesspeople,” he says.
Our current account, Morarith adds, is the most popular product among Chief Bank’s clients who own or manage businesses.
“The current account is a non-interest-bearing account, which means it gives no interest, unlike a savings account or fixed/instalment deposit account,” he explains.
“However, [the current account] is popular among businesspeople, who are involved in large-scale and constant operations with the bank.”
The owners of such accounts, according to Morarith, can enjoy a number of benefits including unlimited amounts of funds in banking operations and the ability to make payment in cheques.
“A current account does not only help them run businesses smoothly but also assists them in getting loans,” he says. “When banks find frequent cash inflow and outflow in their accounts, they are more likely to provide them with loans, especially overdrafts.”
Another service from Chief Bank that assists entrepreneurs in expanding their businesses is a term loan (also known as a fixed loan), that Morarith describes in layman’s terms as “credit with a fixed timing”.
“For a term loan, we provide competitive interest rates from 0.75 percent per month. The term loan could be up to 10 years, plus we are also open to negotiation because it is related to the actual needs of the customers,” explains Morarith.
Morarith says that flexibility is the main force that has driven the popularity of term loans at Chief Bank. For instance, the loan can be provided in both riels and US dollars without a threshold while the bank accepts both Land Management and Administration Projects (LMAP) and soft titles as a collateral.
“The customers are open to making the decision based on their source of income and cash flow,” he says. “We allow for them to delay the date for repayment and pay back only interest or pay back both principal and interest. At Chief Bank, whatever we do, we try to make it easy and convenient for our customers.”
As business operations start depending further and further on digital banking and Cambodia is heading toward a cashless society, Morarith says that a digital banking agenda has always been one of the high priorities for Chief Bank.
Chief Bank’s mobile banking app, for example, allows the customers to access their bank accounts to check their balance, transfer money, buy phone credits, check their credit status and check their bank statements without having to pay any fee.
“While the bank is investing heavily in digital transformation, we are thinking differently: in terms of microfinance products to ensure competitive advantage,” Morarith says.
“Our flagship development is to be our micro-lending app, which will be available by the end of the year.”
Morarith explains that with Chief Bank’s micro-lending app, customers will be able to assess their eligibility for a micro-loan through the digital banking system and be able to apply for one from the bank digitally.
“At Chief Bank, we have been actively working to further refine our existing products and services and rolling out new products and services to satisfy our clients’ growing needs,” he says.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.