Asean-focused CIMB Bank is offering special “preferred customer” status for depositors of $50,000 or more, according to Head of Strategy and Finance Heng Vuthy.
As a preferred member, Heng Vuthy said, the customer will get exclusive services and benefits locally and regionally such as a dedicated Relationship Manager, free access to airport lounges in ASEAN, pre-arrival account opening in ASEAN countries, special discounts at high end hotels, shops and restaurants in ASEAN, access and same recognition at all CIMB Preferred Centres in ASEAN, and more.
“Our preferred centre serves our preferred clients differently from the normal client and you also have a relationship manager; you’re served first and you have privileged rates and other benefits.”
Heng Vuthy says the idea is to target the affluent people in the marketplace.
“We would like high profile people like the CEOs of the companies and so on. Expats are also our target here, who travel in the region and we are also looking for Cambodians of a high profile, who may be sending their child to study in Singapore or Australia. We also have an office in Australia.”
A local Cambodian, who has been given big responsibility in the Malaysia-headquartered CIMB Bank, he was born in Phnom Penh in 1981 and has worked for a number of qualifications including a master’s degree in finance, previously worked at ACLEDA Bank for eight years before joining CIMB in August 2010.
“One of our key differentiators for CIMB is our multi local business model. Our regional model enables us to fully leverage the reach and scale of our Southeast Asian platform while preserving aspects which identify us to the local population,” Heng Vuthy said.
“If you look at the banking landscape of Cambodia, a lot of banks will have a lot of ATMs. For us we also try to see something we can bring to Cambodia for regional leverage of ASEAN. One of the keys is a wealth management product,” he said.
CIMB has linked ATMs in five countries as a regional network so far in Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
“Next will be Philippines and Vietnam and then ultimately all 10 ASEAN countries,” Heng Vuthy said. “With this regional ATM link, CIMB customers can access to more than 5,000 ATMs across the five countries free of charge and they can get the local currency as they withdraw the money. The conversion rate will be better than at the counter.”
Other differentiators for CIMB are that they were the first bank to launch a dual currency investment (DCI) services and a service whereby customers deposit in US dollars and they have a passbook that records the amount they have according to the price of gold.
CIMB also offers foreign currency accounts in Australian dollars, Euros, Japanese Yen, New Zealand dollars, British pounds, Singapore dollars, Thai Baht and Cambodian Riel.
“For DCI the customer can choose whether they want good conversion rate or high interest rate for this pair of currency. With this product we need at least $25,000 to start with. That’s why we target a more affluent client,” he said.
CIMB has 1,100 branches in 17 countries including China, the UK, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Korea, Brunei and Bahrain. Here in Cambodia, CIMB has 11 branches, with seven in Phnom Penh and branches in Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Battambang and Kampong Cham.
There are also 11 offsite electronic banking centres – consisting of ATM, Cash Deposit Machine, and Cheque Deposit Machine, 10 in Phnom Penh and one in Siem Reap.
As for expansion plans, CIMB in Cambodia has already created 11 branches since 2010 and has a strategy of growing those offices first before adding additional branches, but they will add some electronic banking centres.
CIMB also offers tier rate savings accounts, mortgage financing, interest-paying current accounts, business loans, and overdraft and trade finance facilities.
“In the near term we are looking to capitalise on this and building our customer base and growing them. For the near term we are looking at especially focusing on SMEs, the mass affluent market and the growing of the mass-affluent-to-be. And in the long term, we are looking at deploying investment banking.”
Heng Vuthy says CIMB has “investment banking blood” owing to the bank’s background, something to watch for in the future.
“The CIMB group acquired a lot of commercial banks in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia and quite a number of commercial banks.”
CIMB Bank PLC has 170 employees, grown from 30 when Heng Vuthy joined in 2010.
“We focus on the sales organisation, training and sharing sessions.”
The CIMB view for the Cambodian economy is very upbeat, he said.
“There is still a lot of op to grow in Cambodia. As reported from World Bank, only less than 10 per cent of the population has a bank account. Cambodia is a very young population, mostly under 30 years old and we can see a mass affluent growth in the market.”
For the banking industry, Heng Vuthy thinks the National Bank of Cambodia’s annual report tells the story.
“For last five years in the NBC annual report the growth rate has always been 30 per cent and above. You can see also with the ATMs and cash deposits, the population is not shy to accept these new technologies.”
CIMB’s Heng Vuthy answers questions about products, currencies and interest rates
How many branches does CIMB have total?
CIMB Group has more than 1100 branches across 17 countries (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, China & Hong Kong, Vietnam, US, UK, Brunei, Bahrain, Myanmar, Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Taiwan, Korea)
How many branches in Cambodia?
There are 11 branches in Cambodia; 7 in Phnom Penh and 4 more in Siem Reap (Tourism Area) city, Sihanouk Ville city (International Port), Battambang city (Rice Mill Area), and Kampong Cham city (Rubber Plantation Area) and 11 offsite self-service terminal and continue growing.
When did CIMB first open in Cambodia?
CIMB Bank PLC commenced operation in Cambodia in November 19, 2010 with the opening of a first branch of commercial banking in the heart of Phnom Penh city.
What currency accounts can people have at CIMB?
USD, EUR, JPY, AUD, NZD, SGD, GBP, THB, and of course KHR.
How do you differentiate CIMB in the marketplace from other banks?
One of our key differentiators is our multi-local business model – which we have successfully implemented across our ASEAN franchise and which we do the same in Cambodia. Our regional model enables us to fully leverage the reach and scale of our Southeast Asian platform while preserving aspects which identify us to the local population, allowing us to understand and cater for their specific needs. For example, we strongly believe in the empowerment of local leadership and the development of products and services which are familiar to local cultures and practices. In doing so, we hope that the population will treat us not as a foreign bank, but as a local bank with regional resources.
In term of products; on top of our basic deposits, loans, and trade facilities we are continuing introduce wealth management/investment products for our growing affluence customers. Eg DCI (first bank) and GDA.
In term of services; in 2012, we invested in our core-banking system for trade finance module; which has the ability to enhance our customer service capacity, thus improving value for customers.
We launched our preferred banking and regional ATM service, which is another regional benefit for our existing and potential customers, enabling them to enjoy our CIMB Group’s ASEAN network and regional ATM network of more than 4,800 ATMs across the region with no service fee charged.
Recently early 2013, CIMB Bank PLC became the first bank certified by ISO 9001:2008 for its customer services. The evaluation process on our customer service process including account management, counter operation, business continuity plan other processes have been conducted by Guardian Independent Certification (GIC), a United Kingdom Certification Body. This is to ensure that we have a proper as well as consistence procedure in place for our customer services and business continuity plan across our 11 retail branch networks.
What are your expansion plans for Cambodia?
Our commitment to and investment here as reflected by our rapid deployment of branches speaks for our confidence in the growth prospects in Cambodia. We rolled out 11 branches in our first two years of operation complemented by a network of offsite self-service terminals and continue growing.
With our infrastructure, human capabilities and branch network in place, complemented by the full range of products and services [from tiered rate savings, mortgages, Preferred Banking, interest paying current account and business loans and overdrafts to trade finance], we are now in a position to grow our customer base as well as better understand their banking needs.
What kind of loans do you provide? Property? Automobile? Business?
- Business term loan to finance business capital investment (CAPEX) as we as OPEX.
- Personal term loan to finance personal needs including automobile and so on.
- Housing loan to finance residential property (which offering with more flexibility for our client in term of security, repayment etc).
- Overdraft for our customers’ working capital financing, and
- Trade finance facility to facilitate across border trading activity.
What kind of customer is your target customer?
For the near term, we will focus on building up our commercial banking franchise focusing on SME and mass affluent and mass affluent ‘to be’ individuals. In the longer term as the Cambodian economy developed, we will explore other financial services e.g. investment banking, etc in line with and as part of CIMB’s universal banking platform.
Do you have any new products and services you would like to talk about?
DCI product – to facilitate our customer who need foreign currency in the future to save with us and as of yesterday USD-JPY DCI we pay 26 per cent pa.
FCFD – is another alternative saving/investment for customers who holding or using currencies other than USD; we pay AUD 5.5 per cent pa.
Trade Finance – We have deployed TF module in our core-banking system to smoothen our customer service.
Flexible Housing Loan: three options for customers to maximize their needs with a high margin of financing, fast approval process, lower costs and they will be able to get a bigger house with gradual incremental repayments.
What’s your opinion on the Cambodian economy? Does the future look good? Why?
We are positive on Cambodia in view that it is relatively under-banked as per a recent World Bank report which states that only 4 per cent of the population has a bank account, has a very young population averaging less than 30 years old and most importantly, a rapidly developing economy facilitated by open and progressive government policies.
Growing acceptance of banking services and products as reflected by the rapid growth in deposits and loans averaging over 30 per cent annually over the last 5 years in the banking industry; in addition, Cambodian consumers are not shy to adopt new products and services as reflected by amongst others the rapid expansion and adoption of self-service terminals. This is further facilitated by a very progressive and supportive National Bank of Cambodia.