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ANZ Royal set for customers

The ANZ Royal bank will begin opening branches in early August, ahead of the company's

official launch in mid-September.

The bank, a joint venture between Australian banking giant ANZ and locally owned

Royal Group, will open four branches in the capital and one in Siem Reap by January

2006, said Dean Cleland, chief executive officer of ANZ Royal.

The first two branches will open August 4, one near the Independence Monument and

another in the riverside area. The third and fourth branches, one at Olympic Market

and one on Russian Boulevard, are scheduled to open September 5.

ANZ Royal services will include automated teller machines (ATMs), personal and business

accounts, electronic payment systems and foreign exchange.

The new venture is a significant addition to Cambodia's formal banking sector, which

was accessed by less than 120,000 customers in 2003, according to National Bank of

Cambodia (NBC) statistics quoted by ANZ Royal.

The NBC estimated that for every $1 deposited in banks, more than $10 was held informally,

indicating a vast potential market.

The new bank has so far employed about 80 people, but Cleland said that number will

grow as the company's business expands.

"I believe we will see significant take-up rates from all types of people who

have previously considered that banks are only for the rich," Cleland said.

"This in turn will flow on to the economy, with the most likely significant

change being the reduction in the cash economy and the translation of this into the

banking sector," he said.

ANZ currently operates in 12 other Asian countries and holds a 55 percent share of

ANZ Royal. The Royal Group, which owns the remaining 45 percent, is owned by the

family of Kith Meng, who are also involved with Mobitel, the Cambodian Television

Network (CTN) and Camlot lottery.

In Channy, general manager of ACLEDA Bank, welcomed the arrival of the new bank and

said their investment showed confidence in Cambodia's political and economic stability.

"We have another competition partner; it is good for customers," Channy

said.

There are now 15 licensed banks in Cambodia, said Tal Nay Im, director general at

the National Bank of Cambodia.

"The number of customers who deposited their money in the bank increases from

20 to 30 percent per year because those banks [have] built more confidence [among

customers]," Nay Im said.

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