Outstanding loans and deposits made at Cambodian banks grew by 32 per cent and 28 per cent respectively at the end of March this year from a year earlier, according to data from the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC).
The data from the NBC that the Post obtained yesterday revealed that outstanding loans provided by all Cambodian banks reached about $6.14 billion at the end of March this year, and deposits made at all commercial banks reached about $6.39 billion.
Speaking to the Post yesterday, Nguon Sokha, director general of the NBC, said the banking sector is the oil to support the economic growth, so the current growth rates on loan disbursement is a reflection of the growth of Cambodia’s economy.
“There is still a large demand for financing to boost investment activities in Cambodia,” she said. “As our country still maintains a GDP growth rate at seven to eight per cent annually, loan disbursements and deposit amounts are still growing as we see at this time.”
While all sectors are important to increase financing in the banking industry, Sokha said loans for agricultural activities contributed much to the growth, which is up about 40 per cent from the year
Major financial institutions currently show more trust in providing loans to the agricultural sector, thanks to Cambodian government policies to boost the agricultural sector.
Acleda Bank, Cambodia’s largest domestically owned bank, has been increasing its percentage share of its loan portfolio into agriculture from 15 per cent two years ago to 19 per cent at the end of March.
While the bank’s total loan portfolio reached about $1.35 billion at the end of March this year, In Channy, the bank’s president and chief executive, said $254 million was given to agricultural loans, which represents about 19 per cent of total lending.
“It [agricultural loans] is growing quite well,” said In Channy. “We are more confident to provide loans in the agricultural sector because the government policy has encouraged us to do so.”
He added that another $16 million went to rice millers, but are considered separate from agricultural loans at Acleda.
Acleda is not alone, but the increase of loans to the agricultural sector has also happened with ANZ Royal bank, a major commercial bank in the Kingdom.
Grant Knuckey, chief executive officer of ANZ Royal, said he has seen consistent growth in loans to the agricultural sector, particularly in the past 12 months, with a growth rate of around 35 per cent.
“Agriculture is a very promising sector for banking from a growth perspective, but issues hampering the provision of increased finance also need to be acknowledged,” he said, “These include poor financial information and inadequate documentation.”