The volume of online loan applications through Acleda Bank Plc has increased significantly over the past two years, tallying up to about 400,000 since 2020, according to its president and CEO.

In Channy made the remarks during an inspection of offices at the Banan District Branch in Battambang province on the sidelines of Acleda’s 30th Anniversary event, which apparently marks the beginning of the bank’s 30th year, since it “was established in January 1993, as a national NGO for micro and small enterprises’ development and credit”, as described on its webpage.

He noted that the number of in-person loan applications made to the bank have declined, as more clients turn to online channels due to their simplicity, convenience and time-effectiveness.

“This surge in the number of online loan applicants comes as Acleda works to continuously develop digital products and services to serve clients, while keeping up with advances in fintech,” Channy said.

Credit Bureau (Cambodia) Co Ltd (CBC) CEO Oeur Sothearoath said the rapid adoption of digitalisation, mobile banking and fintech has led to the generation of tremendous amounts of data about clients and businesses that can be leveraged to gain a better understanding of smart-business principles.

With so many emerging and dynamic sources, Cambodian businesses are in a better position to benefit from data collection and analytics to identify and pursue value-added opportunities for clients.

“Our credit score is one product that uses data mining techniques and advanced analytics. We constantly focus on upskilling our workforce to ensure they are able to apply the skills in line with rapidly changing market needs.

“We are also open to collaborating with external experts and institutions where such synergy brings ecosystem benefits,” Sothearoth said.

Acleda’s Channy shared that the bank plans to open more branches nationwide this year to meet the demands of a growing roster of clients, although the number of “digital users is up to 94 per cent” whereas the equivalent figure for “agency and counter users is only six per cent”.

Savings at Acleda have surpassed $5.4 billion, 70 per cent of which was contributed by Phnom Penh-based clients, and the loan portfolio stands in excess of $5 billion, 70 per cent of which is held by clients in the provinces, he said.

Acleda senior executive vice-president Mar Amara said the bank processed 85 million electronic payments amounting to $34 billion in 2021, up by 61 per cent in number and 90 per cent in value over the previous year.

Acleda’s electronic payments “accounted for 12.19 per cent of the transaction market and 17.16 per cent of total banking and financial transactions” last year, she said without elaborating.

The National Bank of Cambodia recently reported that banking and financial institutions processed 700 million online transactions last year with a value of nearly $200 billion.