Microfinance institutions have played their roles in the reduction of poverty and in improving the living standards of the Khmer people, which is an important role in the economic development,” said Okhna Dr Bun Mony, CEO of microfinance institution Sathapana Limited.
The success of microfinance in the Kingdom is measured by their reachable distribution of small and medium loans to people in urban and remote rural areas. “Cambodia’s success in this sector is recognised not only in the ASEAN region but also in the world,” said Mony. “This industry in Cambodia expands the scope of providing capital to all the remote areas.”
Mony said that he is proud of his institution as well as all micro-financial institutions in the country. He estimated that 8.75 per cent of Cambodia’s annual GDP is derived from investments related to microfinance.
Together, over 30 Cambodian microfinance institutions make up a total investment of $1.6 billion, according to Mony.
Microfinance was created to serve the financial needs of the general population, he said, through small loans at an affordable cost. Sathapana Limited specialises in bringing people financial services who might not be able to access them regularly.
“We want to provide services close to people in rural areas, which helps provide accessibility to financing services,” Mony said. “The special feature of microfinance is that we serve the people. We do not wait for people to visit us in offices like banks,” said Mony, whose staff visit their customers for lending and savings. “So people do not lose time or spend money to come to us.”
Sathapana Limited has 126 branch offices throughout all 25 provinces, with a total staff of more than 2,500 people. It has even opened offices in more remote provinces such as Koh Kong, Preah Vihear, Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri.
Sathapana Limited also provides $229 million in loans to 86,000 customers. The bank has $129 million on deposit from 69,000 customers.
Mony explained that, in terms of the value of microfinance, based on the perspective and evaluation of international investors in microfinance sector in Cambodia and in the international market, “they review important factors such as the value of financial services, the institutional management and the size of money”.
Sathapana Limited is considered a leader in Cambodia in terms of service quality and leadership. But when ranked by investment size, Sathapana comes in third after Amret and Prasac.
Sathapana Limited has come a long way over the past decade, when it was much smaller and ranked 10th. Originally known as Sathapana MFI, the company became Sathapana Limited in 2008. It has continued to develop after Maruhan Japan Bank invested in the company in 2012. In August 2013, the German Investment and Development Corporation, a subsidiary of German bank KfW, provided $15 million in loans to Sathapana Limited to increase its business potential.
More than a decade ago, Sathapana was very small and ranked tenth. Now it has $230 million in capital.