ONE of the major problems facing any business is gaining access to affordable finance. Formed in 1993, ACLEDA Bank specialises in making small and micro-loans. Its average loan is about US$3,000 in Siem Reap Province.
Many of the bank’s 14,668 clients throughout the province are involved in the tourism industry, although the loans have an indirect benefit on the province’s economy as a whole, says Branch Manager Vann Saroeun.
“If more tourists come, the economy improves,” he says.
Vann Saroeun attributes the bank’s high loan repayment rate of 99.4 percent to the due diligence carried out by his staff when initially considering loan applications. “Before we finance a fund, we do a loan assessment and our staff prepare a business plan and discuss it with potential clients,” he says before adding that most clients subsequently increase the size of their loans.
Since mid-2010, loans have increased from $5 million per month to $6.5 million, according to Saroeun, who expects the trend to continue beyond $7 million. The bank also has about 120 new clients each month.
Pachhorvy Kannary, 39, has banked with ACLEDA since 1994. She has borrowed money to extend her Apsara dancing group, Leaproth Apsara, on several occasions. Last year she received a further loan of $35,000 to set up a new business preparing weddings.
“I did not have enough money to buy very expensive clothes and robes for grooms and brides, so I had to go to the bank to borrow some money,” she says.
Business is going well. Kannary receives bookings for about 10 wedding ceremonies each month and her six dancing groups perform at many hotels in Siem Reap.