New data released by Cambodia’s independent credit reporting agency for the third quarter show an overall increase in loan applications after a large contraction during the previous quarter, signalling what analysts described as renewed seasonal lending by financial institutions.
The Credit Bureau Cambodia (CBC) said in its quarterly publication released yesterday that overall credit applications – which include personal finance, credit cards and mortgages – increased overall by 24 percent, compared to the previous quarter. The growth was primarily carried by an increase of mortgage applications, which grew by 75 percent, followed by credit card applications at 33 percent, and personal finance at 22 percent.
Oeur Sothearoath, head of business development at the CBC, said that the seasonal growth and contractions in lending was largely a cyclical phenomenon. “If we observe yearly trends, it is quite common to have increasing phases in the first and third quarter, and decreasing phases in the second and fourth quarter,” he said.
“One of the reasons could be the number of holidays in the second and last quarters that tend to slow down the whole economy.”He noted that while the second-quarter report showed a 25 percent overall decline in loan applications, “from a global perspective, credit in Cambodia is still growing”.
The report added that the number of credit accounts grew by nearly 5.5 percent in the third quarter, almost twice as fast as during the previous quarter, resulting in an outstanding balance of $3.06 billion.
Meanwhile, the non-performing loan (NPL) rate showed a barely measurable uptick, from 1.46 percent last quarter to 1.48 percent. “For the moment, what we can say is that Cambodia’s NPL level remains low and manageable,” Sothearoath said.
“In comparison to other developing countries, where the NPL rates are more around two or 3 percent, there is nothing alarming for the moment.”
CBC’s data, which is collected from lending institutions registered with the central bank, aim to monitor closely the evolution of credit in the Kingdom.