The stability of Cambodia’s economic growth and its development over the past two decades has made the Kingdom an attractive market for foreign investors looking to tap into the next emerging market. That is where BRED Bank steps into provide financing solutions that are aiming to scale up growth.
As part of the second largest financial institution in France, BRED Bank Cambodia launched services in March of this year and has been supporting businesses and individuals ever since. As the only European bank in the Kingdom, it has access to $3.4 billion in capital at its homeland.
After almost a year in Cambodia, the bank’s analysts have been able to hone in on the specific demands of the local financial market. Before BRED Bank launched, it already had a footprint in the Kingdom, with a 12.25 percent stake in Acleda Bank, the Kingdom’s largest financial institution in term of assets, through its subsidiary COFIBRED.
“BRED Bank came to the Kingdom to complement and fill in all the gaps for Cambodians to access full banking services,” said Min Sopha, head of the bank’s commercial banking department.
“That means that BRED Bank still has room to expand services in the country because both local and international banks are still not fully meeting the needs of the Cambodian people,” Sopha added.
BRED Bank, which is headquartered along Norodom Boulevard in Phnom Penh, launched with millions in capital already secured for just its first phase of operations. While there is a high demand for banking services, BRED prides itself on being one of the most customer friendly institutions in the market by being open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.
“We aim to provide products and services that meet the demands of individuals, households, SMEs and large corporations,” Sopha said. “Our products and servicingcover a full-range options; such as VISA cards, internet banking, car loans, home loans, home appliance loans and educational loans for families that are enrolling their children into private institutions.”
“On the business/corporate side, we have full capability to deliver from basis vanilla products to SME, trade and payment, foreign exchange, or a more complex transaction such as syndication,” he added.
While BRED Bank has been a pioneer in filling the financing gaps within developing markets, it also prides itself with the trust it has earned from its large network of wealthy corporate clients that are spread across the globe.
“Not only have we have received support from local businesses, but also from foreigners, especially Europeans that are living and doing business in Cambodia,” Sopha said.“They are fully confident in our services because we are a well known institution.”
When a large company or corporate client approaches the bank, it has both local and International dedicated relationship managers waiting to provide consulting services to help facilitate their need.
According to Sopha, BRED will be a bank for everyone from individuals to SMEs, local corporations, international corporations. Banking, he added, is about the “inclusion” of all kinds of customers and their future.
“We don’t say – customer is too small to be in bank,” he told the Post. “We are also focused on the core sectors of the Cambodian economy, and providing financial services can help drive national economic growth,” he said.
With a staff of professional and experienced employees, Sopha said that the local team is well equipped throughout all levels of management to make sure that clients are confident in their banking decisions.
According to him, BRED Bank plans to expand quickly throughout the country with a network of branches, ATM and POS machines.
BRED will start to open branch offices starting next year and plans to expand from one to five offices in the next coming years. “We aim to have 15 to 20 branches in 3-5 years. The expectation is to have 5 by 2018 and gradually increase year-on-year.”
Besides, having offices across Europe and Asean, BRED Bank also has an established a footprint in Laos and a representative office in Myanmar. The bank is also spread across numerous countries in Africa and the Pacific region.
More about BRED Bank:
Bred Bank was established in March 2017. It is one of the newest International Banks operating its business in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The Post Special Report spoke to Bred Bank Manager to discuss the challenges/visions for the first year in Cambodia’s banking market and its plans for the future.
Please tell us briefly about BRED Bank, and your branch in Cambodia? What’s the aim of establishing this bank here? Who are the partners or share holders?
We have our head office in Paris, we are 100 percent owned by BRED group.
BRED Banque Populaire, part of the BPCE Group, is a cooperative bank with 150,000 members and $3.4 billion in equity capital. BRED currently owns a 12.25 percent stake in Acleda Bank, the Kingdom’s largest financial institution in term of assets, through its subsidiary COFIBRED.
Our objective is to close the gap and offer Cambodian people a trustful interlocutor with whom to talk freely about their projects and ambitions.
Could you please, highlight some of the bank’s achievements in the 10 months of your operation? What are the most successful products that Bred Bank has been offering its clients?
We are moving closer to year-end, the financial report and details should be released to public shortly after year/end. Our loan budget was $50m by December 2017. We are on track to out-deliver the plan.
Result is the ultimate story to tell, but I would be more focus on key important aspects as there are lots of work by our people within BRED Cambodia and stakeholders – in particular to support customer.
Branch & Channel – we have just one head office branch today, however, our aim to ensure that the outreach is there to the community. We plan for 15-20 branches in 5 years, which also include some key provinces. By 2018, we would see 5 branches.
Customer Positioning – We will be a bank for everyone from individual, SME, Local Corporate, International Corporate & Multinational Corporate. For us, banking is about “inclusion” of all customers & their future. We don’t say – customer is too small to be in bank. For this reason, we have our dedicated Relationship Manager (Local & International) to ensure that they understand customers need and offer service/products that suits their need.
Product Delivery – we are now proudly say that we have full products options to support all ranges of customers – Visa Card, Internet Banking, Home Loan, Investment loan, Fixed assets Financing, Trade Working Capital, Foreign Exchange, or more complex transaction such as syndication.