Credit Bureau Cambodia (CBC) yesterday released its report for the fourth quarter of 2017, which showed significant growth in applications for credit, particularly in the credit card and mortgage sectors.
The bureau reported a 19 percent increase in applications for credit compared to the third quarter of last year, which surpassed the third quarter growth rate of 10 percent and the second quarter negative growth rate of 15 percent.
Applications for new lines of credit grew fastest in the plateau region, which usually ranks as Cambodia’s poorest region and includes Kratie, Mondulkiri, Ratanakkiri, Stung Treng and Preah Vihear provinces. The growth in that region was primarily driven by mortgage applications, which grew a whopping 271 percent, compared to the 62 percent growth in mortgage applications countrywide.
Growing credit card usage
Growth in the credit card sector was the most robust in the plain region, which includes Phnom Penh and several surrounding provinces. Credit card loans, which still account for less than one percent of total credit issued in the country, grew by 109 percent over last quarter, with most of that growth coming from the capital.
The remaining share of credit in the country is split largely evenly between personal finance loans and mortgages, according to the report.
The nonperforming loan rate (NPL) – the percentage of loans more than 30 days overdue – was 1.5 percent, a drop from the quarter before and slightly lower than the fourth quarter of 2016, despite the total balance of outstanding loans having grown by 44 percent to $4.54 billion in the last year.
According to figures from the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) released last month, the NPL rate specifically for microfinance institutions was higher, hitting 2 percent last year, almost double the rate from the year before but still within the normal range.
The CBC collects loan data from all banks and microfinance institutions registered with the NBC in Cambodia, according to CBC marketing manager Sam Udam.