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Mizuho Bank to open first local branch

Mizuho Bank, one of Japan’s largest financial institutions, will join Cambodia’s crowded banking sector by opening its first branch in the Kingdom next month, a bank executive said yesterday.

The Japanese lender, which established a representative office in the Kingdom in 2013, will be the first Japan-based commercial bank to operate a branch in Cambodia.

Takeshi Fukui, chief representative of Mizuho Bank in Phnom Penh, said after years of operating a representative office to collect information and calculate Cambodia’s investment climate, the bank realised that it was worth setting up full operations as Japanese investment into manufacturing continues to pour in.

“Fully establishing a presence in Cambodia holds a great meaning,” he said. “For us, it now means that Cambodia is the right place to invest and is bankable.”

Fukui said the bank received a licence from the central bank earlier this month and would open its first branch in April to serve corporate clients. He explained that as the number of investors from large Asian economies including China, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam doing business in Cambodia increases, Mizuho Bank would extend credit to those looking to further deepen their presence.

“We dare to take on the risk to provide funds to companies to continue to help them grow further and help the growth of the Cambodian economy,” he said.

Mizuho Bank previously signed agreements with Canadia Bank and Maybank in 2013 to help provide domestic settlement activities for Japanese clients, he added.

While Mizuho Bank is not the first Japanese-owned bank to operate in Cambodia a distinction held by Maruhan Japan Bank, a locally registered subsidiary of Japan’s Maruhan Corporation that merged last year with Sathapana Ltd to become Sathapana Bank it is the first to operate a branch network in Japan.

Chea Serey, director-general of the National Bank of Cambodia, said Mizuho Bank’s presence would help build confidence for both new and existing Japanese investors eyeing the Kingdom’s potential. It would also help ease the flow of business between the two countries.

“Japanese are some of the world’s most cautious investors, so when one of the country’s largest banks decides to come in it shows a huge amount of trust and confidence in Cambodia,” she said. “It proves that Cambodia has a large potential for investment, with a clear rule of law.”

Mizuho Bank is the retail and corporate banking arm of Mizuho Financial Group, one of the world’s largest financial institutions with total assets of over $1.8 trillion. The bank has over 500 branches and offices in Japan and 36 other countries and regions in which it operates.

Hiroshi Suzuki, chief economist of the Business Research Institute for Cambodia (BRIC), said yesterday that due to the bank’s size and worldwide network, its branch opening in Cambodia would help put the Kingdom on the global investment map.

He added that there are many Japanese companies that are scouting overseas investment potential, but that knowledge of Cambodia’s investment climate remained limited.

“Mizuho Bank has branches all over Japan,” he said. “Now, the bank can now provide the most current information about Cambodia to all of their customers.”

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