DEPOSITS in Cambodia’s microfinance institutions surged almost 150 percent during the first six months of this year, compared to the same period of last year, in a trend that MFI officials said was likely to continue.
Although the significant growth was measured against a low base, by June this year total MFI deposits hit 71 billion riels (US$16.7 million).
Deposit numbers were taken from the four companies that hold deposit-taking licences, according to statistics released by the National Bank of
Deposit-taking MFIs were introduced early last year when the NBC issued permits to Sathapana and Amret.
Hattha Kaksekar Ltd and AMK received licences in February 2010.
Chea Phalarin, president of the Cambodian Microfinance Association and Amret’s general manager, said yesterday that deposits in MFIs were on the rise as customers were drawn by higher interest rates than those offered by commercial banks.
Amret’s deposit base had increased to $7.5 million by the end of the June, up from only $1 million a year earlier, he said.
“We offered interest rates higher than the commercial banks,” of 8.5 percent per year for US dollar-denominated deposits and 10 percent per year for riel-denominated deposits, he said.
Bun Mony, Sathapana chairman, said yesterday that deposits with Sathapana had hit $8 million by the end of June, up from $2.2 million a year before.
“There’s been a huge rise in deposits in the last twelve months thanks to our offer of competitive interest rates and our customers’ trust in us,” he said.
“I believe the trust will continue to increase, so we will continue to attract more deposits throughout the year.”
The NBC figures also showed total outstanding loans among the 22 MFIs increased to 1,357 billion riel ($320 million) for the first half of the year.
That represented a 25 percent increase on last year’s corresponding period.
Total borrowers increased 9 percent to 895,404 people, and the number of depositors at the Kingdom’s MFIs increased 15 percent to 186,082.