BRED Bank Bringing European Standards To Cambodia

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A view of a branch of BRED Bank on the corner of Avenue de l’Opéra and Rue de la Paix in central Paris. BRED Bank is the latest foreign bank to provide commercial banking services throughout the country.

France’s BRED Bank, one of the largest lenders in Europe, officially opened its first branch in Cambodia yesterday with $30 million in investment capital, aiming to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and boost imports and exports.

BRED Bank CEO Olivier Klein said the bank will focus on providing financing and support to SMEs seeking to trade internationally.

“Almost by chance seven years ago we opened a bank in Laos and we grew there. At the same time we invested in ACLEDA [Bank]. As it is, we happen to know the Cambodian market,” he said.

“We think the Cambodian market is interesting and very competitive although there are a lot of banks. But there are no French or European banks.”

Klein said the bank’s high standard of operations would interest both SMES and larger corporations.

“We have clients in the region and they asked us to also be in Cambodia as they needed their banks also in Cambodia,” he said.

“Because of the growth of the country and dynamics of ASEAN and as we have some experience in Cambodia we could do something interesting for the country, people and of course for us, too.”

Perdon Guillaume, CEO of BRED Bank (Cambodia) Plc., said the amount of investment capital in Cambodia was $30 million.

“There is a new regulation issued by the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) since March 2016 and we will comply with this new regulation which means a new minimum capital of $75 million before the end of March 2018,” he said.

Guillaume added that the bank had a different approach and could work around common customer complaints such as the requirements of large collaterals or loan requests taking too long to process. “It doesn’t mean we never take collateral,” he said.

“It means that before thinking about collateral we try to understand their activity and visit them and try to consider their strategy, experience and management to give us a full picture of their company.”

NBC governor Chea Chanto said the presence of BRED Bank significantly reflected the increased confidence of foreign investors from Europe in the development of banking operations in the context of peace, political stability and macroeconomic stability.

“I strongly believe that BRED Bank (Cambodia) Plc. will contribute to the development of Cambodia’s banking sector, promote financial inclusion, and enhance domestic investments, particularly those of SMEs,” he said.

This article was originally published on the Khmer Times.