Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - SME Bank loans top $410M, help over 3K businesses

SME Bank loans top $410M, help over 3K businesses

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The state-owned Small and Medium Enterprise Bank of Cambodia Plc (SME Bank). Heng Chivoan

SME Bank loans top $410M, help over 3K businesses

The state-owned Small and Medium Enterprise Bank of Cambodia Plc (SME Bank) has disbursed some $418 million in loans to at least 3,185 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) since its foundation, as of October 31, to keep them from going under during the height of the Covid-19 crisis, and subsequently to help them reopen and expand post-pandemic, according to its CEO.

The bank was established in February 2020, and lends directly and through co-financing schemes with 33 participating financial institutions (PFI) at present.

SME Bank CEO Lim Aun told The Post on November 21 that, as of October 31, only 22 of the PFIs have disbursed loans to customers under the state-owned enterprise’s co-financing schemes, contributing $187 million, or nearly 45 per cent of the total credit provided.

“Lending to SMEs is very important, as a lifeline for them to start up again post-Covid-19. Many businesses shuttered, and [we] offer them a chance to maintain and strengthen their operations.

“This is a government financial-support initiative for SMEs,” he said, noting that the manufacturing and processing sectors accounted for a considerable share of the businesses aided by SME Bank.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng ascribed SME Bank’s apparent success to direct visits to businesses looking for a loan.

“The bank has been an important boon for business activity among SMEs through its credit provision,” he told The Post on November 21.

“Nonetheless, I believe that this amount may still be a bit on the light side, bearing in mind that SMEs require lots of money, especially those in the agricultural sector, they need the resources to procure produce such as paddy rice for stock, or for processing.

“With greater access to capital for SMEs, such as through low-interest loans, things would be better,” Heng added.

Speaking to The Post on November 21, Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath commented that SME Bank is actively supporting the revitalisation and sustainability of the small businesses that weathered the Covid storm.

Aside from delivering much-needed capital for SMEs to “grow even better”, the bank “also provides business-specific techniques, analyses and in-depth studies”, he said.

SME Bank’s Aun reported that a total of $33.7 million in loans have been disbursed to 251 tourism-related enterprises under the $150 million Tourism Recovery Co-Financing Scheme (TRCS), in the July-October period.

Using previous SME Bank figures for reference, this means that October accounted for 25 per cent of the five-month total, and that 62 new enterprises received loans that month.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,