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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        7 January 2011

Cambodian banks recover

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Cambodian banks said outstanding loans and deposits grew substantially during 2010 compared with the previous year's figures, boosted by the Kingdom's strengthening economy.

Ian Channy, ACLEDA Bank president and chief executive, estimated the Kingdom's overall banking industry grew about 20 percent last year compared to 2009.

"Last year, we had more commercial enterprises opening, which was a very good sign for our country because [people] can see our economy is growing constantly and especially that our regulations are strong," he said.

ACLEDA Bank saw outstanding loans rise by 36.82 percent to US$744.31 million by the end of 2010 from $544 million.

Deposits reached $911 million from $692 million, an increase of 31.65 percent.

"People are starting to understand and trust our banking industry as it offers convenient and safe services for them," he said.

Canadia Bank saw total assets reach more than US$1 billion - a 30 percent increase on 2009 - according to Dieter Billmeier, the bank's vice president and advisor.

Loan demand similarly increased about 30 percent, based on internal audits, especially in the second half of 2010, Billmeier said via email.

Gross loans rose to a total $520 million by the end of 2010, from $385 million for 2009.

Deposits increased by more than 40 percent from 2009, reaching about $820 million. Billmeier attributed the growth to the developing of local industries such as agriculture, import and export trading, and tourism-related projects.

The property sector, however, especially consumer products like home loans, did not follow the high growth rates of other loan sector applications, he said.

"Since business and economic confidence is returning in Cambodia, I predict growth rates for this sector to be stronger in 2011," he said, adding that the bank's shareholders' equity was set to pass $130 million at the end of December 2011.

Smaller operators also saw improvement. Two large South Korean banks, which opened subsidiaries in Cambodia around mid-2009, also reported increasing business. Kookmin Bank Cambodia, which began operating locally in May 2009, saw outstanding loans sharply increase on a percentage measure, given its low base.

End of year figures showed loans doubled to $16.2 million in 2010, from $8 million, while deposits hit $19.9 million, an $8.5 million increase, according to Jang Ki-sung, chief executive of the Cambodian subsidiary.

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