Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Campu Bank Country Head reflects on occasion of 20th Anniversary

Campu Bank Country Head reflects on occasion of 20th Anniversary

Campu Bank Country Head reflects on occasion of 20th Anniversary

Phan Ying Tong, country head of Campu Bank in his office. Photograph: supplied

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Campu Bank in Cambodia, the public are invited to visit any of the bank’s 23 branches today and enjoy a free tea party and refreshments.

“Every Campu Bank branch will have a tea party”, said Campu Bank’s Country Head Phan Ying Tong.

“We will have a tea reception at all branches today and we will play a video clip about Cambodian Public Bank in appreciation of the support our customers have shown us. All are welcome to come to all our branches.”

Campu Bank, the Cambodian subsidiary of Malaysia’s Public Bank, won an ‘STP’ award from Deutsche Bank, New York, one of the top five providers of US dollar clearing in the United States acknowledging the efficiency of ‘straight through-processing’ and high volume of transactions at a very high percentage without mistakes.

“We are the first bank in Cambodia to be awarded with this Excellency Award,” Phan said. “The benchmark is 97 per cent, and we exceeded 97 per cent in accuracy when sending out payment instructions. Ours is almost 99 per cent, transactions that take place without any errors or reference back. This is the latest award Campu Bank won. Notably, Campu Bank was awarded the Bank of the Year in Cambodia by the Banker, London for five consecutive years from 2001 to 2005, and again in 2008 and 2009.”

Phan said he’s proud of the culture of efficiency in terms of customer service and corporate governance in Campu Bank.

“We have experienced people and a very efficient work process whereby remittance applications are processed and transmitted automatically by our branches to our telecommunications centre in Campu Bank head office for immediate transmission to our foreign agents on the same day, which means automated integration. The branches key in the data straight to our head office, authorize, and payment instructions go out. This is very efficient, fast and there are very few mistakes,” Phan said.

“We have a centralised telecommunication centre, staffed with experienced people in charge of all these transactions and our customers’ money is secure and fast in terms of money being transferred. The winning of the award is a testimony of the success of our system and program, and of course the people we choose.”

Phan, who first arrived as Country Head for Campu Bank in 2002, has served two terms as Chairman of the Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC) in 2010 and 2011, and is well-known in the Cambodian banking community.

Phan is proud that many Cambodians have been able to develop their lives more fully as employees of Campu Bank. “We provide a career, not just a job,” Phan said. “The bank pays you in two forms, salary and experience. Nobody can take your experience away from you. In addition, Campu Bank rewards staff with overseas holidays for eg to Hong Kong, Seoul, Bangkok, China and Singapore. In 2009, a total of 338 staff of all levels were granted fully paid holidays to Beijing and this year, to Shanghai.”

Phan said hard working young people are the key to Cambodia’s future.

“The young population in Cambodia is very good for a developing economy. They are very hard working and willing to learn. Many of our young employees take up evening classes after the bank closes. In time to come, young Cambodians can completely overtake many other neighbouring countries if they continue with this willingness to learn culture.”

One of the reasons Campu Bank has shown a profit every single year of its existence in Cambodia besides internal factors is the high GDP growth, Phan said.

“If you look at Cambodia’s economy, it has experienced very high GDP growth over last 10 to 12 years and if you compare that with 20 years ago, 10 years ago and now, you can see a lot of difference. I am proud of being somebody from Malaysia who is able to be part of the development process in Cambodia. I feel proud of Cambodia and proud of Campu Bank because we are part of the growing process. We grow together with the government and the people. Public Bank is the people’s bank.”

When he first got here in 2002, ten years after the bank started operations, economic activities were much fewer than they are now.“Not so many foreign investors are interested to come to Cambodia at that time.”

“Campu Bank is very much a mirror of Public Bank in Malaysia, which was started in 1965 and has an unbroken 46 years profit record. The Public Bank tradition is very prudent and conservative, yet willing to take calculated risks. Our founder and chairman, Tan Sri Teh is well known in Malaysia to have very good foresight in terms of doing business.”

Phan has been working for Public Bank since 1981.

“As long as you perform, our Chairman gives you opportunities. Tan Sri Teh often said that ‘when the bank prospers, we prosper’. Thanks to the benevolent gesture of Tan Sri Teh, the number of staff who received more than five months performance bonus in 2011 is six times more than in 2010. He will reward, once you perform. Most of us stay with him for long time.”

Public Bank Group has branches in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China and Sri Lanka.

Public Bank is not only the third largest bank in Malaysia in terms of asset size, but the largest non government-linked company in terms of market capitalisation on the Malaysian Stock Exchange.

Phan said, “In 2007, Tan Sri Teh was conferred the Recognition Award 2007 by the National Bank of Cambodia in appreciation of his excellent achievements and significant contribution to the banking industry in Cambodia. Tan Sri Teh continues to be honoured with awards of excellence for his sterling leadership and extraordinary achievements as well as enormous contributions to the Public Bank Group and to the banking industry in Malaysia and the region.”

“It is important to appreciate his contribution for taking a brave and bold step to invest in Cambodia after the civil war. The existence of Campu Bank today is a testimony of his good foresight in expanding the Group’s business regionally”

Phan said the level of investor confidence in Cambodia has improved since the implementation of a World Bank-sponsored programme for the generation of land titles, a process which legally clarifies and reaffirms ownership of land.

“The conditions are definitely better since they did the re-titling programme. This is an essential component in the protection of property rights.”

Phan said he’s seen much effort by both the Government and development partners over the years that had resulted in the re-issuing of land title deeds and an increase in the confidence of banks like Campu Bank to lend against property.

Phan gives credit to the National Bank of Cambodia for instituting and implementing effective policies, guidelines and measures to ensure a sound and stable financial system in Cambodia today. Under the sound leadership of His Excellency Chea Chanto, the Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, the banking sector is deemed to be one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy.

“Probably 90 per cent of the properties in Phnom Penh have already been retitled by now,” he said.

Phan said he would like to see more support and closer working relationship with other institutions eg the judiciary for further development in the banking sector. Campu Bank moved into its new headquarter building on September 18, 2009. Campu Bank has two subsidiary companies, Campu Securities, which is principally involved in securities underwriting, dealing and brokerage whilst Campu Lonpac Insurance provides general insurance services. Phan says he’s happy about the opening of the Cambodia Stock Exchange (CSX) in Cambodia and said it gives additional option for people to raise capital.

Phan gives the credit to Public Bank’s founder and chairman, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow for having the vision to see that back in 1992.

“In Cambodia, you need a lot of alternatives for businessmen to raise capital. The stock exchange is one of the most available ways to do it. If you try to get offshore funding, there are too many conditions to comply with to satisfy the lenders. But Cambodia can create such an environment for businessmen and make financing more accessible and improve transparency, and government can collect more taxes. These are some of the benefits of going for IPO,” he said.

Phan says he wants to see more companies list on the CSX. “The stock exchange needs more stocks to be listed. The government already has a few companies lined up, and some underwriting firms have submitted applications for consideration by SECC, so I’m sure there will be announcements for new IPOs.”

“To the investors looking for long term returns rather than short term speculation, the CSX is the right place.”

Phan is proud of Campu Bank’s unbroken track record of profits every year even during the global financial crisis. “We were here 20 years ago when our Chairman made an investment decision,” Phan said. “Now, 20 years later we have our own corporate headquarter building, subsidiary companies and branches all over Cambodia. This is a testimony to foreign investment. We will go forward steadily to continue to expand, be the government’s development partner, and contribute positively towards the country’s economic growth and to reach out to more people,” Phan said.

Phan on behalf of the Chairman, Board of Directors, management and staff of Campu Bank would like to express their deepest appreciation to the Governor and the officials of the National Bank of Cambodia and other regulatory bodies for their ongoing advice and guidance without which the Bank would not be able to make a prominent presence in Cambodia today.