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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sacombank launches with eye on VN trade

Sacombank launches with eye on VN trade

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At opening of first Cambodia branch, CEO says institution won’t compete for market share in saturated banking sector

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NGUON Sovan

Sacombank Chairman Dang Van Thanh (second from left) leads a press conference Tuesday at the Vietnamese bank’s first Cambodian branch on Norodom Boulevard, Phnom Penh.

VIETNAMESE commercial bank Sacombank officially opened its first branch in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, bringing the total number of commercial banks in Cambodia to 27.

Bank officials say the Cambodian operation will not compete with local banks, but will assist cross-border transactions between Cambodia and Vietnam.

"Sacombank is not here to compete, to clash, to fight for market share - we are here to bring Cambodia to the world because we have branches in foreign countries and [are]connected with many banks in the world," John Vong, deputy CEO of Sacombank, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

"We are here to improve cross-border business, especially between Cambodia and Vietnam."

Sacombank Chairman Dang Van Thanh said that the bank is aiming to provide loans to Vietnamese enterprises investing and operating in Cambodia, overseas Vietnamese and Cambodian customers, especially those running small and medium-sized enterprises.

"Vietnam is one of the largest investors in Cambodia," he said. "Moreover, Cambodia is the sixth-largest trade partner of Vietnam in ASEAN.

"Last year's trade volume between the two countries amounted to US$1.7 billion and is forecast to grow 40 percent year-on-year."

Dang Van Thanh said he met with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday, who confirmed that a Cambodian stock market will be set up in 2010.

We have enough expertise to join the upcoming Cambodian stock market.

"We have a securities company [and] listing company... so we have enough expertise to join the upcoming Cambodian stock market," said Dang Van Thanh.

Chea Chanto, governor of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), said at Tuesday's launch that "the investment of Sacombank in the Cambodian market is an expression of confidence by Vietnamese investors in Cambodia's banking sector".    

The Ho Chi Minh City-based Sacombank (Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank), Vietnam's sixth-largest lender by assets, is 30 percent owned by International Finance Corp, Dragon Capital and ANZ Bank combined - the ceiling for foreign ownership of listed banks in Vietnam.

Founded in 1991, the bank now has charter capital of $287 million and equity capital of $396 million, in addition to a branch in Laos and a representative office in China, according to a bank press release Tuesday.

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