Three finance industry associations have jointly developed a new code of conduct aimed at ensuring transparency, building trust and strengthening customer protection in the Kingdom’s banking and finance sector.

The latest version of the Banking and Financial Institutions’ Code of Conduct was formally signed and implemented on March 4 by the Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC), the Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA) and the Cambodian Association of Finance and Technology (CAFT).

Formulated as a response to both the Financial Sector Development Strategy 2016-2025 and the National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2019-2025, the code seeks to enhance customer rights and protection, increase transparency in the banking and financial sector, spur sustainable and inclusive economic growth and prevent predatory lending to protect vulnerable customers, according to ABC president In Channy.

Channy said that the new code will assist the government’s financial branches – particularly the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) – in their goal to achieve stable, efficient and inclusive market diversification and meet the needs of domestic financial service providers.

He anticipated that the code would support the sustainability of Cambodia’s economic growth, increase people’s incomes and reduce poverty.

The code reflects the Kingdom’s financial industry ambition “to be strong, inclusive, focused on the needs of consumers and confidence, and to set the ethical standards within the profession”, he said.

Channy added that the newly launched code of conduct will be implemented through self-regulation by member institutions. They will have time throughout the year to revise their internal codes or make additional suggestions regarding compliance with the code.

The inaugural Banking and Financial Institutions’ Code of Conduct was established in February 2015 by 15 banks operating in Cambodia in an effort to strengthen customer and environmental sustainability safeguards within the Kingdom’s banking system, according to CMA chairman Sok Voeun.

Five years later, ABC’s Financial Inclusion Committee set out to establish a new version, in collaboration with the CMA, which was approved by ABC’s board in July last year, he said.

Voeun hailed the development of the new code of conduct as having been done in “a strategic manner and with forethought”, noting that it was in line with the National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2019-2025.

NBC director-general for Banking Supervision Rath Sovannarak expressed confidence that the code will be adopted as common policy by banking and financial institutions throughout Cambodia.

It would increase transparency in the provision of services and customer protection, he said, “which will build good relationships and create fair and honest competition that makes the banking and financial system grow inclusively”.