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$200M credit guarantee scheme launched

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Two young men ride a motorbike trailer loaded with boxes of plastic cups in Boeung Keng Kang II commune in Boeung Keng Kang district last week. Heng Chivoan

$200M credit guarantee scheme launched

The Ministry of Economy and Finance on March 29 launched a $200 million credit guarantee scheme to provide small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) with larger loans and easier application procedures to ensure their businesses remain afloat during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

The Business Recovery Guarantee Scheme (BRGS), under the ministry’s Credit Guarantee Corporation of Cambodia Plc (CGCC), will widen access to formal loans from participating financial institutions (PFI) for working capital, investment and business expansions, the ministry said in a press release.

Applicants must be majority Cambodian-owned to qualify for loans under BRGS, it said, noting that the initiative is consistent with government policy that addresses crisis survival and recovery support for the economy during the pandemic.

CGCC is the Kingdom’s first credit guarantee corporation, established by sub-decree No 140 ANKr BK on September 1 as a state-owned enterprise under the ministry’s technical and financial direction.

The ministry noted that CGCC’s primary mission is to provide credit guarantees to PFIs to support and assist financially-viable businesses that lack collateral to secure loans.

CGCC’s guarantee will act as collateral or security for 70-80 per cent of the loan amount borrowed from PFIs and hence reduce the physical collateral required from borrowers, it said.

Ministry secretary of state and CGCC chairman Ros Seilava said the instrument comes at a timely moment to support businesses that plan to borrow from the PFIs during the pandemic.

“This milestone supports the government’s policy to maintain sustainable and inclusive economic growth and [is] in line with the Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025,” he said, calling for financial institutions to join the roster of PFIs and “ensure good credit governance”.

In Channy, president and group managing directors of ACLEDA Bank Plc, one of the PFIs, lauded the move as a step forward to increasing the supply of loans to the SME sector.

“The credit guarantee is crucial, especially for those customers who have distinguished business plans, but don’t have enough collateral for the full amount of loans that they may need.

“This kind of scheme is long overdue since it will help customers, borrowers and entrepreneurs grow their businesses [by giving them] loan security.”

He explained that customers who wish to apply for loans under the scheme only need to follow the standard procedures at PFIs.

As of March 26, outstanding loan balance had risen six per cent from end-2020 to $4.559 billion and money in savings and deposit accounts had shot up nine per cent to $4.839 billion, he said.

Toch Chaochek, CEO of Cambodia Post Bank Plc, another PFI, said BRGS will prove a lifeline for SMEs with limited productive resources and budgets that had traditionally been unattractive to lenders and financiers.

“It is an admirable step by the government and will afford our SMEs an increased ability to secure larger loans through the scheme despite not having enough collateral, which is their key concern. And this stellar scheme comes bang on time given the current situation,” he said.

The ministry listed the PFIs as ACLEDA Bank, Cambodia Post Bank, Asia Pacific Development Bank, AMK MFI, Canadia Bank, Phillip Bank and Prince Bank, noting that other institutions are in the process of joining.

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