When the Public Bank Group started Cambodian Public Bank’s (Campu Bank) operations in 1992, it adopted the retail banking model and focuses on supporting small and medium enterprise (SME) growth and this helped the bank become a major banking player in the Kingdom.
Today, Campu Bank’s “My Neighbour, My Customer” campaign is further strengthening its position in the banking sector by building a stronger connection with the local micro businesses and SME community.
In an exclusive interview with The Post, executive director and regional head of Indo-China operations Datuk Phan Ying Tong said that SMEs are the backbone of a country’s economy.
“When Public Bank first entered Cambodia, we modelled our operations after what we did back in Malaysia. Being a retail bank, we were not keen on [participating in] big projects but we focussed on SMEs, retail sector and consumer banking.”
He stated that mega projects do not happen on a frequent basis and looking at Public Bank’s track record in Malaysia and Cambodia, it has proven that Campu Bank’s model is sustainable and profitable.
Campu Bank has also been putting in a lot of effort in promoting financial inclusion in Cambodia. The bank’s “My Neighbour, My Customer” is educating local communities which include petty traders as well as micro and small enterprises on the available banking facilities they can use.
“We share with them how the facilities can help them in business expansion or go into a new business. Many of them are not aware how can they qualify for a bank loan.”
He explained that the “My Neighbour, My Customer” campaign is carried out on a branch-to-branch basis, which started off with each branch targeting the surrounding neighbourhood.
Campu Bank’s community-based “My Neighbour, My Customer” approach echoes the “Prosper thy Neighbour” slogan which is an initiative introduced by Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s in the 1980s during his first round of premiership.
The initiative encouraged developing countries to help another developing country get out of the poverty cycle.
Laying out a succession plan
Other than its external initiative of helping SMEs in Cambodia grow and prosper, Campu Bank has a long-term succession plan for Cambodians to take over leadership of banking operations.
“We have invested a lot into training for suitable candidates and succeeded in our first step [of the succession plan], where all our branch managers in Cambodia are locals. However, succession planning in our headquarters is a bigger challenge because some departments require personnel with specials skills which are scarce in the country at the moment.
“It is an ongoing effort, and we encourage and sponsor senior staff to enrol in courses with the Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers in Kuala Lumpur to get recognised as a professional banker. Later on, they can also obtain the chartered banker accreditation, which is recognised in the United Kingdom,” said Phan.
He said the sponsorship for employees’ banking education is a collaboration with Bank Negara Malaysia carried out by Public Bank in Malaysia and the opportunity was extended to employees in Cambodia.