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After poll, deposits at microfinance institutions down

Saving deposits at microfinance institutions (MFIs) this month decreased slightly from the average monthly amount because of a rise in withdrawals, industry officials said.

Bun Mony, president of the Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA), and the general manager at MFI Sathapana Limited, said many people have come to take out funds during the first two weeks of the month, and he speculates that the withdrawals could be tied to unease over the post-election deadlock and fears of instability.

“Loan disbursement is growing as usual, but we do not have a growing number in saving deposits,” Mony said on Tuesday. “Customer confidence is just getting better, and the deposits should be back to normal next month.”

Four of the biggest microfinance institutions licensed to take deposits said this week that saving deposits fell this month compared to the monthly average.

Sim Senacheert, chief executive officer of PRASAC microfinance, Cambodia’s leading MFI in both savings and loans, said PRASAC holds, on average, $7 million in saving deposits, and that number should drop to less than $5 million in August.

“Earlier, we have an average monthly growth rate at nearly 20 per cent, but the growth rate in the first two weeks this month is much lower,” Senacheert said.

Deposit and loan disbursement data from the CMA, which is updated quarterly, revealed that total saving deposits made at MFIs reached $378 million by the end of June this year, up from some $224 million at the end of December.

Chea Phalarin, the chief executive officer of Amret Microfinance, said he has only seen a slight decrease in total deposits for the month so far.

“Some people might worry on the political situation after the election, and that is why they take out money,” Phalarin said.

“But, our performance in general is stable and nothing to be seriously worried about.”

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