Amret Microfinance Institution Plc last Friday launched the innovative “Kmeng Chhlat Account” as part of its campaign to encourage parents to start saving early for their children’s future higher education needs. Amret chief commercial officer Alan Wee explains to The Post the reasons behind the launch of this savings product and how it will assist parents in setting up a financial safety net.
Can you tell us about the ‘Kmeng Chhlat Account’?
A university education can be very expensive. Depending on the institution and course, financing a four-year degree university education – even excluding accommodation, food and living expenses – can be a burden for most families. Amret has developed the Kmeng Chhlat Account to address this.
This specially designed product is a joint parent-child savings account aimed at inculcating good saving habits in parents for the benefit of their children. We hope this savings plan will help parents finance their children’s higher education when they are ready to take this step.
We also hope children will be inspired to earn a university degree as the first step towards a successful professional career. Everything is possible if you plan ahead and work hard towards achieving your goals, and Kmeng Chhlat embodies this spirit perfectly.
What does ‘Kmeng Chhlat’ mean and what is the significance?
Kmeng chhlat literally means “smart kid” in Khmer. The name was chosen to inspire and motivate children and parents alike. The name also reflects our aim of encouraging children to study hard and achieve good marks at the Grade 12 high school national examinations.
Amret is offering up to $1,000 for students who achieve A or B grades. Parents will also receive free life insurance coverage during the course of the savings period. This product will indeed be of great value to our clients.
What motivated Amret to develop this product?
The key motivation behind this product is to help children meet their parents’ expectations and for their children to fulfil their dreams.
Based on our experience, because the majority of rural people are not in the habit of saving, they do not have the funds necessary for their children’s higher education needs.
There are many examples of families having had to sell a cow a year just to pay their annual university fees. Most have also never thought about life insurance to protect against eventualities that could affect their children’s education fund.
Insurance penetration is low in Cambodia and almost all people in rural areas are yet to take out life insurance, so the idea of providing free life insurance coverage with the Kmeng Chhlat Account will go a long way to help fill this gap among our clients.
Amret was motivated to create a product able to fulfil all these needs and also to embed good savings habits across the Kingdom.
What does Amret hope to achieve with Kmeng Chhlat ?
Amret hopes to inculcate a strong discipline of saving among Cambodian communities, as well as promote the importance of a university education.
This is also in line with the government’s objectives of building a skilled and knowledgeable work force to benefit the nation in the long term.
Can you explain how it works and how you plan to promote it?
Our customers can start saving with as little as 1,500 riel per day or $11 a month depending on the age of the child.
By opening a Kmeng Chhlat Account, a parent will enjoy free life insurance coverage of up to $4,000 during the course of the account. And it also comes with an education excellence cash bonus of up to $1,000 for children who graduate with distinction with an A or B in their Grade 12 examinations.
Account holders will also enjoy competitive interest rates from their savings plan. We have been airing two adverts since last Tuesday, while a launch video will have been showing on most digital channels and social media platforms since last Friday.
We intend to conduct roadshows and micro marketing events across the country to promote the Kmeng Chhlat Account.
This product is available at all 158 Amret branches across the kingdom. I would encourage those who are interested to visit their nearest Amret branch for further details.
Amret MFI is one of the leading financial institutions in Cambodia.
A full subsidiary of the Advans Group, its reputable international shareholders include the FMO Entrepreneurial Development Bank, La Fayette Participations and the International Financial Corporation, which is a member of the World Bank.
As well as catering to the Kingdom’s micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), Amret also offers a wide range of financial products and services to Cambodia’s unbanked and underbanked population.
Amret provides both lending and deposit products to more than 500,000 clients ranging from low-income farmers to MSMEs.
With 158 branches nationwide, it employs more than 4,500 staff. Amret has assets of more than $1 billion and deposits exceeding $500 million.