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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - MFI lending continues to skyrocket in 2016

A woman conducts business at Prasac Microfinance Institution in Phnom Penh.
A woman conducts business at Prasac Microfinance Institution in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

MFI lending continues to skyrocket in 2016

Cambodia's microfinance sector shows no signs of slowing down as the sector posted a staggering 41 per cent year-on-year increase in the size of its loan portfolio, and a similar increase in deposits, by the end of the first quarter in 2016, figures released yesterday by the Cambodian Microfinance Association (CMA) show.

Total outstanding loans by CMA members – comprising 70 microfinance institutions (MFIs) and NGOs – exceeded $3.1 billion as of March 31, 2016, compared to $2.3 billion a year earlier. Total deposits reached $1.4 billion at the end of the first quarter this year, a 40-per cent increase over the course of a year.

Total loans and deposits grew 8.4 per cent and 11.1 per cent, respectively, since the start of the year.

Former CMA chairman Bun Mony, CEO of the newly-formed Sathapana Bank Plc, said that galloping growth of the Kingdom’s MFIs can be expected to continue through the end of the year.

“While MFIs have around 2 million customers, the sector has reached about 50 per cent of the Kingdom’s households,” he said.

“As MFIs continue to reach more people, we could see another 5 to 10 per cent of households using services.”

He also commented on the increase in average loan size, which grew from $1,000 in the first quarter of 2015, to $1,464 at the end of the first quarter this year.

He said the rising average was an indication that customers were utilising more credit for bigger projects and purchases.

“MFIs have had good experiences with their customers, so we do not see any risk for increasing lending,” he said.

Six new microlenders joined the CMA since the end of the first quarter in 2015, but their market share and impact on the growth figures were minimal. The figures also exclude data from CMA member Acleda Bank, the nation's largest microfinance lender.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly included Acleda Bank among the 70 MFIs and NGOs.
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