Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bred bank aiming to break top 10

Bred bank aiming to break top 10

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Guillaume Perdon is the CEO of BRED Bank (Cambodia) Plc. The bank is 100% owned by BRED Banque Populaire (“BRED”), a French regional cooperative bank incorporated under the laws of France. Heng Chivoan

Bred bank aiming to break top 10

BRED Bank Cambodia, a subsidiary of BRED Banque Populaire, expressed satisfaction with its growth in Cambodia since the launch of its headquarter in March last year and recent opening of new branches.

The Post’s Hor Kimsay sat down with its CEO Guillaume Perdon to discuss the bank’s operations and its expansion strategy.

What can you say about your business after more than one year in Cambodia?

The business’s growth after one and a half years is very good for us. I would say maybe a little bit better than what we initially expected. We are very satisfied with our investment in Cambodia.

We started from scratch as we did not buy any bank. Now we have a couple of thousand customers.

Up to now, we have disbursed around $100 million in loans and the same amount in deposits. Within the next four to five years, our goal is to be in the top five to 10 banks in Cambodia.

We just opened two branches in addition to our headquarters – one in Tuol Kork and another in Siem Reap. We plan to extend our networks or branches to about 15 to 20 within two years. So, by the end of the year, we will open some more branches like in Battambang province, Mao Tse Toung [Boulevard, in Phnom Penh].

Next year and the year after, we will keep opening branches in Phnom Penh and [the] provinces. The market is still growing well in Cambodia. We are optimistic about the future development of the bank.

Who are your major customers so far?

We are working with all segments includes retail, SMEs, and larger international corporations. Among the total business loan portfolio, I would say that more than 80 per cent of the loans that we provided [support] local Khmer-owned companies.

For the retail side, I would say that at least 60 per cent is Khmer people – we are not targeting only French companies or French people. We work with everybody.

Should your comment on making good business progress in Cambodia encourage other French companies to explore opportunities in the Kingdom?

The implementation of French Banks in Cambodia will be very attractive for potential French and European potential investors. As you know, we are not just the only French bank but also the only European bank in Cambodia. I think our success will attract more investors from France or Europe.

What are your main challenges in operating a bank in Cambodia?

The main challenge for us, as we start from scratch, is to find people – to train people. There is also competition in the banking sector. On the business side, there are many competitors and it is a major challenge for us.

Do you think the Cambodian central bank regulation requiring lending institutions to have at least 10 per cent of their loans in Khmer riel by the end of next year is a challenge?

It is a bit of a challenge for us. We have started providing loans in Khmer riel. It will be hard to be compliant by the end of this year, but we hope we will fully comply by next year.

I will not disclose the exact number, but I can tell you we will be about halfway by the end of this year, and [by] the end of next year, we should reach 10 per cent which is required by the central bank.

We are focusing on companies and businesses that are selling services and products in Khmer riel.

How about microfinance institutions (MFIs) that might need loans in local currency for their customers?

It is another possibility and a part of the discussions with regulators. The regulators already considered [having banks] make some loans to [MFIs] in Khmer riel so that they can lend money to their final customers in Khmer riel. It is another alternative.

We have observed that many MFIs have sold a majority or entire stakes to banks in Asia. What do you think about this new trend and are you interested in buying any MFI in Cambodia?

The micro-finance business is well developed in Cambodia and attracts foreign investors. I think it is very good for the country.

Some MFIs have been growing very fast and trying to turn to banks. When compared to other countries in the region, the MFI sector in Cambodia would probably be one of the good and strong points for the country. It supports the development of the whole economy, especially micro business in remote areas.

I don’t think it is our strategy to invest in MFIs in Cambodia. Our group is not investing in MFIs in Cambodia or any other country. Our goal is to start from nothing and grow step by step with our own internal growth.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the green light for anyone who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutation or any other variant to convalesce or receive treatment at home or in any other reasonable non-healthcare setting. The new decision supersedes a restriction on home care for

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42