One of the largest commercial banks in Thailand, Bangkok Bank (BBL), officially reopened its Cambodia branch yesterday after a 15-year absence, becoming Thailand’s 4th bank in the Kingdom and the 36th commercial bank in Cambodia’s crowded banking sector.
In late 1998, BBL downsized its operations, leaving the country entirely in 2000 following the National Bank of Cambodia’s increase of reserve requirements from $2.5 million to $12.5 million.
Executive chairman of BBL, Kosit Panpiemras, chalked up the bank’s reopening to the incoming Asean Economic Community at the end of the year.
“We are excited about the Cambodia branch and we believe the time is right, with many opportunities for businesses and investment ahead of the implementation of the AEC at the end of this year,” he said.
“While it will contribute to the local economy, the Cambodia branch will also be a significant part of our network of 30 international branches in 40 economies,” he added.
“That includes nine out of 10 ASEAN members, so [BBL] can better serve our customers, make valuable connections across the region and attract the right kinds of investment.”
NBC Governor Chea Chanto said that BBL’s reopening showed the firm was more confident in Cambodia’s developing banking sector.
“The reopening of Bangkok Bank in Cambodia will help to attract more and more investors from Thailand to invest in Cambodia,” he said.
“The presence of foreign banks from ASEAN countries, especially Bangkok Bank, shows that Cambodia has integrated itself gradually to ASEAN’s banking integration.”
Bangkok Bank received its operation licence on November 12, 2014.
According to Chanto, as of May this year, there are four Thai banks in Cambodia: one subsidiary, one representative office, and two branches, including Bangkok Bank.