HATTHA Kaksekar Limited (HKL) became the second microfinance institution in a day and the fourth in total to be granted a deposit-taking licence by the central bank on February 5, said the lender’s general manager.
Hout Ieng Tong said Thursday that HKL had put the new service into operations Monday, allowing the firm to source loan capital from depositors rather than relying solely on international lenders.
AMK received a licence the same day.
“We have spent about $500,000 to prepare our facilities, staff, hardware and software for this service since we applied in December,” he said.
“So we can start immediately at all our branches in Phnom Penh and the other 12 provinces.”
More rural deposits
He said he expected the service to encourage more people in the provinces to save money with microfinance institutions (MFIs) where it is more secure, and that depositors could gain through competitive interest rates.
HKL sets interest rates of 8 percent and 9 percent for one-year deposit in US dollars and riels respectively.
“The interest rate is higher than offered at commercial banks, but … cheaper than we can borrow from foreign investors – [abroad] the minimum is 9 percent per year on dollars,” said Hout Ieng Tong.
Outstanding loans at HKL rose 6.7 percent last year compared to 2008. Profits fell 29.4 percent to $1.2 million over the same period as non-performing loans climbed 3 percent.