Financing small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will top Canadia Bank Plc’s agenda this year as the sector forms a strong backbone of the Cambodian economy.
In an interview with The Post, Canadia Bank CEO Raymond Sia said that in the past two years the SME and consumer banking segments have witnessed double-digit growth.
Based on this, the bank decided to raise its lending to the SME sector with the launch of the $150 million SME Financing Package in 2018.
“Due to strong market response, we up-sized this package a number of times over the past two years, and it is now at $400 million. We allocated $20 million of this package in July last year specifically to support women business owners and launched our SME Smart Lady Financing Package.
“In emerging growth markets in the world, especially in Asean, SMEs play a very important role in the growth of the country, and in Cambodia 95 per cent of the businesses are small and medium businesses that are growing on a daily basis, and most of the time their requirement is capital financing.
“We continue to innovate and improve on our product and financing offerings, and we will be launching our revised SME Financing Package and SME Smart Lady Financing Package in the coming weeks,” Sia said.
The bank, which started its business in gold trading and lending to local merchants in 1991, now boasts more than 60 branches and 145 ATMs nationwide, making it a top-tier commercial bank in the Kingdom’s competitive financial sector.
It has created a strong brand name and was recognised by The Asian Banker as Cambodia’s strongest bank by balance sheet last year, while in the same year it also won the International Finance Magazine’s Best Domestic Bank and Best SME Bank awards.
“The bank had an encouraging financial performance last year. To put this in a wider context, the bank achieved its best financial performance in 2018, and we are cautiously optimistic that the audited results for 2019 will be better than the year before.
“For 2020, we are also cautiously optimistic of satisfactory financial results.
“There are some headwinds that the industry and country faces, such as the effects from a potential economic slowdown from the US-China trade war, the partial withdrawal of the EU’s EBA [Everything But Arms] and the health crisis with the Coronavirus.
“We are, however, confident that the industry and country will be able to weather these headwinds as a result of the proactive and pro-business measures implemented by the government,” Sia said.
The bank has lined up a slew of initiatives for this year to weather competition in the domestic market, in which around 40 commercial banks are currently operating.
“We are excited for 2020. Canadia Bank will continue to invest in our people and in improving the customer experience by using technology.
“The bank is taking on a number of initiatives to digitise our processes, from implementing a loan-originating system to automating our credit processing and HR [human resources] systems to improve efficiency in managing our human capital,” Sia said.
The bank for the first time organised a Year 2020 Strategic Workshop, which was held on Koh Pich on March 1, with nearly 2,000 staff participating.