The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) has encouraged banks and money-deposit taking institution (MDIs) to continue disbursing loans and possibly suspend interest for businesses impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak, especially in the tourism industry.
The NBC’s call was made during a meeting with representatives from banking and micro-finance institutions (MFIs) on Wednesday to discuss and explore potential protection mechanisms in light of the global spread of Covid-19.
Director-general of banking supervision Rath Sovannorak issued three measures amid the outbreak of Covid-19 to ensure business operations can continue in affected sectors.
“First, all financial institutions must continue to proactively disburse loans to some prioritised sectors to ensure the sustainability of business operations.
“Second, to be flexible in monitoring the possibility of easing and suspending the principle and interest, especially for hotel and guesthouse owners and other tourism-related businesses.
“Third, continue monitoring and taking some risk prevention measures on staff and customers to ensure the sustainability of the operations in the industry considering the spread of Covid-19.”
President and group managing director of Acleda Bank In Channy confirmed that he was in the meeting with the NBC on Wednesday, noting that it encouraged and advised banks to continue providing loans.
“As for Acleda Bank, we continue to provide financial services based on the business of customers as well as their needs.
“You may know that the average loan size of Acleda Bank is equivalent to $9,000. We have given out over 403,000 loans, of which over 76 per cent are for small businesses,” he said.
Channy said the banks have policies, procedures and guidelines in place in case of natural disasters or virus scares.
“So far, we haven’t seen any serious impact. The focus of banks is different from one to another since we have different segmentation to focus on.
“Some focus on corporate banking and others on retail. Acleda Bank has small- and medium-sized enterprises [SME] as its focus. So we have different challenges and actions to take,” he said.
Say Sony, the senior vice-president of Prasac, told The Post that it is well prepared for any risks that occur due to the virus outbreak.
“Prasac will keep lending to clients who have repayment capacity as normal. However, we will also keep monitoring our performance closely to make sure that our non-performing loan ratio remains manageable.
“As of now, we don’t see any sign of a slowdown, but we can see more demand for credit from our clients, particularly from the SME sector.
“To respond to this, we are considering the government initiative to support SMEs by lending to them with special conditions,” he said.