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Microfinance giant’s CEO sees a bright future after team-up with Japanese bank

Dr Bun Mony, CEO of Sathapana Microfinance Institution
Dr Bun Mony, CEO of Sathapana Microfinance Institution. Moeun Nhean

Microfinance giant’s CEO sees a bright future after team-up with Japanese bank

Sathapana Microfinance Institution is one of the leading financial institutions in Cambodia, with 126 offices across every province and 2,500 employees. Meun Nhean, special reports editor for the Post, sits down with Sathapan CEO Bun Mony to discuss where the company’s been and where it will go in the future.

First of all, I would like you to tell us briefly the background of Sathapana Microfinance Institution and its business relationship with Maruhan Japan Bank Sathapana Microfinance Institution is one of the leading institutions in Cambodia, providing financial services to regular people with the intention to improve our customers’ standard of living and contribute to the Kingdom’s economy.

In 2012, Maruhan Japan Bank purchased more than 95 per cent of SMI’s shares. This allowed our company to significantly expand its business. Since 2012, Sathapana has provided $229 million in loans to 86,000 customers nationwide and has accepted deposits totalling $129 million from 69,000 customers

Why did Sathapana choose Maruhan Japan Bank as its partner?
Our companies have a similar perspective and purpose: helping to reduce poverty in Cambodia. Maruhan Corporation, based in Tokyo, is the parent company of Maruhan Japan Bank, headquartered in Phnom Penh.

Map shows the grow of Sathapana Limited.
Map shows the grow of Sathapana Limited.

Maruhan scouted out Sathapana and was interested in the role our company plays in helping grow the Cambodian economy and in the success we had achieved. Finally, in late 2012, Maruhan Japan Bank decided to purchase our shares. From Sathapana’s perspective, we knew very well of Maruhan Japan Bank’s reputation, so we eagerly agreed to accept their cooperation.

How has Maruhan helped Sathapana achieve its business goals?
For the most part, Maruhan’s role has been to provide the capital needed to expand our services. In 2012, we had outstanding loans of $121 million, with total assets valued at $150 million and deposits of only $66 million.

Maruhan Japan Bank is not involved in our day-to-day operations, because of the trust it has in our business model and goals. But every quarter, we have a meeting of the governing board, on which many from the Japanese bank serve. They hear the follow up to all our operations and we discuss how best to the implement our business ideas.

Since the buy-out, how much as Sathapan grown?
Our partnership is now more than a year and a half old, and in that time, Sathapana has grown remarkably. We now have outstanding loans valued at $229 million, an increase of 89 per cent; total assets of $279 million, an 86 per cent increase; and deposits of $129 million, a jump of 93 per cent.

Maruhan Japan Bank is putting an extensive trust in developing microfinance through Sathapana, and provides financial support such as direct capital, secondary capital and simple loans, which make our institution able to perform its role in providing financial services for Cambodian people better than before and allows us to better compete successfully in Cambodia.

How will this business relationship proceed in the future?
With strong support from the Marohan Corporation and Maruhan Japan Bank in Cambodia, all the officials and employees of Sathapana Limited have committed to expanding its service, to be larger and broader. We are particularly interested in helping entrepreneurs and hope to increase loans in that area. Now, Sathapan is the third-largest microfinance institution in Cambodia. So if you need capital for your business, please come to Sathapana, and meanwhile, if you have more money than needed, please deposit it at Sathapana. We will do everything we can to help you have a better life.

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