The General Manager of Hwang DBS Commercial Bank, Han Peng Kwang, says the Malaysian-based bank’s rapid growth since 2009 has made him optimistic about the economy in Cambodia.
“We are bullish about this country in terms of growth in the economy,” Han said.
“That’s why the chairman set up this bank four years ago and that’s why we are in the process of expanding our branches. We want to capture more of the market share and assist more people to improve their businesses and livelihood. ,” Han said in an interview last week.
HwangDBS first opened in Cambodia in July 2009 and now has four branches and 80 employees.
Han intends to grow HwangDBS into a mid-sized commercial bank, on a gradual, step-by-step basis in the medium term.
“Our main target is small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), but specifically focused on medium sized customers such as retailers, wholesalers, businesses in the construction sector, service sector, manufacturing sector, hotels and other industries. As long as they are bankable we will support them.”
Han says HwangDBS offers business loans, retail loans, individual loans, and retail mortgage or housing loans.
“We are giving housing loans for all types of landed properties, apartments and condominiums. However, the properties to be purchased must have a ‘Hard Title’ issued by the Land Management Office, not by chief of the Sangkat or commune,” he said.
The loans and accounts are in US dollars “because at this time the country is still very dollarized”, Han said. “We are catering to all types of business but not certain discouraged businesses like karaoke and casino.”
HwangDBS Commercial Bank Plc is a 100 per cent foreign owned bank established by financially sound and leading integrated financial specialist group, Hwang-DBS (Malaysia) Berhad. One of the major shareholders of Hwang-DBS (Malaysia) Berhad is DBS Singapore. DBS is the largest bank in Southeast Asia by assets and the bank’s strong capital position, as well as “AA-” and “AA1” credit ratings that are among the highest in the Asia-Pacific region, earned it Global Finance’s “Safest Bank in Asia” accolade for five consecutive years, from 2009 to 2013.
For business strategy, Hwang DBS gives loans to all kinds of local businesses such as retailers and wholesalers of consumer goods, electronics equipment, machines, spare parts and other medium sized business such as car washes, garages, hotels and restaurants, contractors, manufacturers and businesses linked to the agriculture sector.
The Bank provides our depositors with ATM cards for their convenience. We have plans to introduce internet banking and phone banking in the future, Han says.
The bank has an ATM expansion plan, with five now in place.
“We are also in the process of putting in more ATMs in Phnom Penh City to provide more convenience to our customers,” he said. “We also want to open more branches going forward, venturing out into the larger provinces including Battambang, Siem Reap and Kampong Cham.”
Han said the bank also plans to launch a trade service product to complement their existing services.
“We currently have Term Loan, overdraft and housing loans, and we want to expand that to provide more services to our customers.”
Han hails from Malaysia, from the state of Perak located just below Penang.
Formerly with a commercial bank for over 14 years before he joined HwangDBS, Han first came to Cambodia in 2005 and has seen the landscape change considerably since then.
“Now there are so many high-rise buildings throughout the city and the country has received lots of foreign investment particularly from Korea and China,” he said.
As for operations, Han said HwangDBS has a team of marketing officers who go out and introduce the bank in the neighbourhoods.
“Our branch managers also go out and introduce our bank to all the people in the street. Moreover, satisfied customers will also start recommending their friends and relatives to bank with us. ”
HwangDBS intends to recruit as many Cambodians as possible to fill up the positions in the Bank.
“Maybe one day, one of them will be able to take over my position as well,” Han said.