Chief Bank CEO Dr Soeung Morarith is ready to prove cynics’ 2021 banking outlook could be wrong, at least where Cambodian banks are concerned.
After weathering two major financial storms – the 1997 Asian and 2007-8 global financial crises – Chief Bank says it is fully prepared to meet the challenges of 2021, a year that could be plagued by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Chief Group has weathered many storms and gone from strength to strength by adhering to its core beliefs of ethical practices and prudent investment.
“And while there are predictions of a partial recovery for the financial sector [in 2021], we remain confident of our continued steady growth in deposit collections, loans and other products and services,” Morarith told The Post.
Chief Bank has seen continued growth since its inception in December 2013 with an initial capital of just $10 million, while total assets reached more than $140 million as of December 16, 2020.
The bank has delivered years of solid performance, maintaining zero non-performing loan rates from when it began operations until the present.
“Overall, our bank’s position remains fundamentally healthy, which underpins our belief that we can endure the crisis caused by Covid-19 and come out the other side stronger, with our financial resilience to external shocks tested as never before.
“We believe that we have shown in recent years and most recently during this crisis that we have all the right ingredients.
“By looking ahead to 2021 with optimism and with our superior organisational realignment, we believe that our sharpened strategy coupled with our client-centric approach to business success will drive the bank’s sustainable growth and competitive advantage,” Morarith said.
Two of the bank’s main segments – micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and consumers – have seen steady growth due to a growing customer base and a daily increase in quality loan port-folios, and deposits as well.
“Loan impairments or restructuring has increased but at a very small scale within the period the pandemic took hold, and we have taken substantial provisions against possible future loan losses resulting from the outbreak.
“Our capital position remains strong and our financial positioning is very liquid resulting from our positive profits, and increases in deposit collections from the public, which clearly reflects the confidence customers have in Chief Bank,” he said.
Chief Bank’s corporate philosophy hinges on “The Chief Way”, which enshrines mutual trust and partnerships with its customers – the key to shared prosperity – and to conduct business sincerely and with the highest professional ethics.
And the private lender continues to take proactive measures to help alleviate borrowers’ financial difficulties.
It has introduced a comprehensive loan support scheme for individuals, corporate clients and businesses, including bullet loan repayments, late fee waivers and loan rollover or extension facilities.
“Our executives are particularly effective in providing new levels of high quality, personalised services – within a very strict credit culture that follows the generally accepted credit model – despite a market competition environment characterised by low interest rates, muted credit growth and tightening margins.
“We can’t reliably predict how long the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic will last, nor quantify the resulting impact on our future financial performance.
“We are monitoring the situation very carefully and are committed to deploying our strong capital base and liquidity to support our clients and the communities we operate in during this exceptionally challenging time,” Morarith said.